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Author Topic: When You See Younger, More Successful Profs...  (Read 68338 times)
southerntransplant
A man on a porcupine fence and a
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No recess.


« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2009, 8:37:14 AM »

I'm in your present boat, OP, but took a different path (long career at research lab). If I go by the normal tenure clock, I will be (hmm...carry the 1...wait....divide by pi) 49 if/when the promotion comes through. (I could have come in as an associate without tenure, but am quite glad I did not). There are a couple of full professors younger than me. However, no one's treated me any different because of this - my younger colleagues interact pretty well with me, and we work on a lot of projects together. 

I understand your thinking that perhaps being older might slow the thought processes a bit more. Perhaps. But this to me seems more like perception. I see this in myself as well - "Wow, everyone's working on such cool stuff and here I am with yesterday's science" or whatever. But, in my case, I've worked on a lot of different stuff, and have a good track record with this, so it gives me a lot more flexibility and opportunities than if I had been plowing the same row for 15 years.

Yes, everyone's got a different story, but I just have to play out mine.
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prytania3
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2009, 10:15:21 AM »

Wasn't there a similar thread to this just recently? The "Big, fat loser" thread?

My feelings remain the same. I'm not jealous, envious, or covetous of other academics. I wouldn't mind being in my 30s again, so I could start a career out of the field, and I'm very envious of options and energy traders, but other academics? No, I'm counting the days until retirement, and that would be 633 days.
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untenured
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2009, 10:27:13 AM »

Also think of how fortunate you are that you changed careers.  There are no doubt many people who never pursue the academic career of their dreams.  Compared to them, you are lucky.

Untenured
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larryc
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2009, 11:29:21 AM »

This is a contest?! Why the hell didn't anyone tell me this was a contest? I thought it was just, you know, life and I have been trying to get the maximum happiness out of what opportunities have come my way. But if I had known it was a contest...
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vardahilwen
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2009, 11:31:34 AM »

This is a contest?! Why the hell didn't anyone tell me this was a contest? I thought it was just, you know, life and I have been trying to get the maximum happiness out of what opportunities have come my way. But if I had known it was a contest...

Life is a zero-sum game, Larry, didn't you know that?  If you get a cookie, it means I *didn't* get a cookie.  We can't both have a cookie :P
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larryc
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2009, 1:42:14 PM »

My new motto: If you want a cookie, bake a cookie.
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msparticularity
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Assistant Professor cum bricoleur


« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2009, 2:15:14 PM »

My new motto: If you want a cookie, bake a cookie.

Oh, good--what kind are you making?

You know, I do have moments when I think about this stuff. After all, I'm just now going into my second TT year, and I'm also turning 50 in a few weeks. My faculty mentor, who is considerably younger than I, just made full. If I am tremendously, fabulously Red Hot Stuff, I might make full before I'm eligible to collect Social Security. But I, too, had a couple of prior--and very successful--careers, so I also think I have certain advantages over all the "kiddies." Seriously, I'm much calmer and happier than many of them. I don't have to obsess over whether I'm short-changing my child when I spend time on research; she's 21 and off at her senior year in college. I think I take a lot of stuff less personally, because I didn't have any expectation that a university would be filled with interesting and highly functional people--I mean, they're interesting all right, but the function/dysfunction continuum looks a lot like anywhere else. 

I also wonder, is this a bigger deal for men than for women--the competitive element? MrP suffers from this stuff far more than I do, and so does my brother, which is why I ask. Social competition is a far more powerful force for male adolescents than for female, and that continues into early manhood: is this more of the same?
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barred_owl
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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2009, 3:02:34 PM »

I also wonder, is this a bigger deal for men than for women--the competitive element? MrP suffers from this stuff far more than I do, and so does my brother, which is why I ask. Social competition is a far more powerful force for male adolescents than for female, and that continues into early manhood: is this more of the same?

I'm not sure that I can answer that question in any general terms, but what strikes me about the original post is that it leads off the second thread posted in a rather short period of time in which klausk expresses dismay or depressed feelings about his circumstances.  There are earlier threads (back to 2007), too, in which klausk states he is depressed about academic life.

So, I don't mean to be indelicate or prying, but I must ask:  klausk, are these feelings common or chronic?  Are you happy with your situation and just musing on the ideas you've written about, or are you truly unhappy?  With reference to this thread's topic, specifically, I hope you've found that you're in at least good company--there are plenty of forumites whose careers are "non-traditional," but, as you can see, are coping with their situations quite well.  If nothing else, maturity is on your side, and as long as you keep moving forward with your research and teaching, the age part of the equation should become immaterial.
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...I can't help rooting for the underdog underbird.
colette_capricious
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2009, 3:21:10 PM »

The President of the United States is 51.  I am starting grad school at 43. I give into into the thinking that I'm over-the-hill to start every now and then. And I don't even have a fabulous *first* career to bask in.

But then I figure what the hell. I'll just have to live a long, long time and stay healthy and hope the kids are financially successful so they can take care of me.
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qrypt
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I just LOVE that VOICE. It's so NICE


« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2009, 3:31:50 PM »

Or the motto could be: if you want a cookie, wait until someone else bakes it and then snatch it while they're sleeping. 
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locutus
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« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2009, 3:59:03 PM »

Social comparison is counterproductive.  We all got here by different roads.

Very true. I knew a few wunderkinds who got TT jobs at very early ages. I just say no to comparing myself to them, it's a no-win situation. My own success/happiness is not tied to me beating them in any sort of competition.

I'm sure by the time I turn 30 I'll have my own cookie. :P 
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secretweapon
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« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2009, 4:19:10 PM »

This new TT hire just finished a post doc with the same lab, and seemed to have had a great experience. She is the nicest person and I think she will do very well here, but still...it is not just that she is young, but that she seems to have missed some of the horrible, soul-searching experiences I have had that have had so far in my career...

But how do you know this?  Why the assumption that she hasn't?
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If you want a cookie, bake a cookie.
macaroon
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« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2009, 4:57:38 PM »

I am dealing with this right now. I had an absolutely horrible post-doc experience 10 years ago when our newest Tenure Track hire was a Freshman in college (yes, I did the math). This new TT hire just finished a post doc with the same lab, and seemed to have had a great experience. She is the nicest person and I think she will do very well here, but still...it is not just that she is young, but that she seems to have missed some of the horrible, soul-searching experiences I have had that have had so far in my career...I do think the senior professors in the labs like the young, sweet, loyal ones, and because of my age and a few other things, I just never met those qualifications...

Okay, how on earth do you know that she hasn't had horrible soul-searching experiences?  You don't know her life. 
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2009, 5:21:01 PM »

I am dealing with this right now. I had an absolutely horrible post-doc experience 10 years ago when our newest Tenure Track hire was a Freshman in college (yes, I did the math). This new TT hire just finished a post doc with the same lab, and seemed to have had a great experience. She is the nicest person and I think she will do very well here, but still...it is not just that she is young, but that she seems to have missed some of the horrible, soul-searching experiences I have had that have had so far in my career...I do think the senior professors in the labs like the young, sweet, loyal ones, and because of my age and a few other things, I just never met those qualifications...

Okay, how on earth do you know that she hasn't had horrible soul-searching experiences?  You don't know her life. 

You know, and a lot of people had the pleasure of not having bipolar disorder, so what? I do.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's age and job.

It's a commandment.

Follow it.
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I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
colette_capricious
Something is seriously agley if I'm a
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« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2009, 5:54:35 PM »

Can I covet their cookie? Can I covet it extra much if it's a oatmeal scotchie?
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