Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I have never been one to revel too long in any of the "conventional" milestones in my professional life. Truth be told, I have mostly eschewed any and all celebrations associated with awards or promotions of any sort. It is not that I do not appreciate the recognition and the accompanying pay-scale increases, it has more to do with where my eyes are focused and what I consider the more relevant measures of success or progress.

On any given day at work, I have a long list of specific tasks that require my attention. Whether this is meeting with graduate students or my technicians, working on project management, preparing talks for conferences, putting out whatever "fires" come up, or just getting my "regular" work done. The thought of putting my work off for a bit of faux celebration just holds no appeal to me. What I mean by this notion of "faux celebration" is that the pomp and ceremony is most often held in the company of administrative and management types who I don't know. If there is to be a celebration, it seems pretty meaningless if it is with a group of strangers. Further, as I operate and do what I do based on my own drive and priorities, stopping for a ceremony would just distract my mind from my work and cause delays in completing what I have set out to do.

My attitude is connected to the fact that my work is not something that I do solely to earn a paycheck. It is part of who I am and what defines me. It gives me purpose and engages my mind. What excites me is completing construction of a major new piece of equipment that I have shepherded through from its inception, seeing one of my graduate students complete their thesis work, or publishing a paper on a research project that has taken several years to bring to fruition. It's not that I don't recognize milestones along my professional journey, it's just that my eyes are always on the work that I am doing today and what I would like to complete tomorrow.