To: Professors; Re: Your Advisees. So many PhD advisors are so bad at academic and career advising, that there’s now a cash market for consultants who will do their job for them. Paid by graduate students of course.
I’ve been encouraged to apply for this job at UCAR in the research applications group. It would involve managing real-time meteorological data for the FAA. Ingest. Re-organize. Excrete. Databases and GIS. Systems integration. Source control. I’m probably qualified for it. It would probably pay well. It would be a ten minute bike ride from downtown, with good healthcare and retirement benefits. Except. But. However.
While we were both in Colorado last winter, Michelle and I talked a lot about the emotional and physical logistics of moving back there permanently. Our two body problem. Location, career or love, (like sleep, good grades or a social life): pick two. We tried to write an outline of all the decision points we might face. A decision tree. It became a mess. Then we started writing it as a Python program, with
michelle objects, and method calls like
zane.findjob(loc="boulder"). But it’s not really that kind of problem. It’s not deterministic. This is decision making under uncertainty. Strategic and emotional, not entirely susceptible to reason. It really stopped being an academic problem when I got the interview with NREL, and it seemed to go well. Even if I don’t get the job (they still haven’t said one way or the other, as of mid February August), it was certainly a useful exercise in the sense that It made us think and feel through the realities of what doing something like that would mean.
Career Goals. Why work at NREL?
Why do you want to work at NREL? Why do you want to work in Commercial Buildings in particular? How does this job fit into your longer term career goals? Please take a look at this website for more information about the work done here at NREL in the commercial buildings area.
I believe that in the coming decades providing the plentiful energy which is currently synonymous with a high standard of living is likely to be a serious problem for humanity, and more generally for the terrestrial biosphere. Today our energy is derived overwhelmingly from fossil fuels which are polluting, finite, unevenly distributed, and whose combustion is substantially altering the composition and optical properties of the Earth’s atmosphere. Any one of those characteristics would be enough to cause grave concern. Together they make significant change in our global energy systems imperative. I want to be a part of that change.