07 April 2010

spring branch decision tree blog

The water moves into the roots of the tree up to the trunk of the tree out to the branches of the tree through the leaves of the tree. One of my internet pals asks me about the layoff and am I moving to Rochester as I had once planned? Short answer: maybe, not soon.

The long answer is too long to post here. I will try and hit the highlights. Since I have known about this for months, I had plenty of time to do as much soul searching and planning as I wanted to. It turns out I wanted to do quite a bit. I used two texts: What Color is your Parachute? and Sam Keen's Your Mythic Journey. The parachute book is obvious and it is the gold standard of career consulting handbooks for good reason. A large portion of the book is a self-examination of strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes so you can make this important decision from an informed point of view. Bolles names this the flower exercise. I did not do Bolles' flower exercise. As a substitute for this I did the similar and more comprehensive writing exercise that is the bulk of Keen's book.

I have a four main branch, (5, 3, 4, 1) small branch decision tree after all that, and one of the small branches is U. Rochester and moving and I may do that. A priori I would say the chances of that are around one in thirteen. The four main branches in the tree are:

I. get another seismic job
II. go back to school
III. start my own business
IV. chuck it all

(i.e. it looks like this but details omitted because absolutely nobody is going to want to see all the self absorbed narcissistic minutia:
I. A.B.C.D.E.
II. A.B.C.

Each branch has its pluses, minuses. The biggest plus for getting another seismic job is that the opportunity cost for not doing so appears very large. That is more of a double negative than a positive so obviously it is not the greatest idea. I may do it anyway, but first I am going to explore the rest of the tree deliberate.

What I am most drawn to is starting my own business. This has the advantages of liberty and control freaky freak on. Supposedly I have some issues with authority. No doubt there is some deep seated Freudian origin for this which might fascinate some, but it does not fascinate me. I consider it a possible environmental boundary condition. And if I work for myself it does not even exist. At least my childhood was not as miserable as Michel Foucault's apparently was:

"Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it arrives at universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces warfare; humanity installs each of its violences in a system of rules and thus proceeds from domination to domination."

-- Nietzsche, Genealogy, and History

The business I am working to create involves an unsolved physics problem. My first task is to refresh and reload my physics expertise with an intense course; first Feynman, next Landau and Lifshitz. If my business plan turns out to not fly, this effort is fully worthwhile for all eight of the minor branches in major branches I and II and mostly worthwhile for the other three minor branches in major branch III. In New Orleans they call this lagniappe and at West Point this is known as covering your flank.

The appeal of Rochester used to be stronger. The University of Rochester, due to Max Eastman's endowment and Emil Wolf's genius, is the center of the optical physics universe. When I was studying optics at the University of New Orleans, I might have been the only person in the program who could get an American military secrets security clearance, and my goal was the Navy laser lab at China Lake. This was before the war on terror and the rude reawakening that I still do not have the stomach to work on weapon systems. I love optical physics. Waging war on Arabs and Persians makes me want to puke.

When I visited Rochester in the spring of 2007 both the professors I spoke to said that there was a fellow at Rice University I need to meet. I can do all the optical physics that I want and stay in Texas. I may go to Rochester eventually. A sound strategic plan includes exclusions. For example I no longer plan on winning a grand slam tennis tournament or shagging a Hollywood movie star. Those items are now excluded from the decision tree. Rochester remains included for now and at least a little further.

No comments:


Please see paragraphs 8.4, 8.5 in the Google Terms of Service document!

About Craig

My photo
Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.