To whom it may concern:

I resigned from my full time job and effectively retired from my career.

The reasons, which could probably fill a book, have been adequately summarized by checking a few boxes in the exit-survey, where it will probably be aggregated and averaged statistically with other questionnaires to form some internal management metric.

Suffice to say, I am personally driven towards making some kind of positive impact on the world (=what I leave – what I take > 0) and after weighing my opportunities, and with mixed feelings of regret and excitement, I think this can be best done outside the career that I chose 14 years ago.

When I was a physics student about a decade ago, people would always ask me, what I could do with my degree after I got it. What does someone that has studied physics do? I never really knew how to answer that other than the naive “physics”. Today I know better or more.

My favorite quotation regarding education is, and I paraphrase Einstein, who said that education is what remains after one has forgotten everything one learned in school. In that sense, I think my education was well worth it. My thinking, which long time readers are familiar with, has to a large extent been influenced by my dealings with modeling complex dynamical systems (only a few physicists do this, so it is probably fair to say that that part of my education started in grad school. Undergraduate physics basically teach you that “you can’t deal with nature with rhetoric”.).

I hope to bring this educational part of my experience onto my new career, where I will be a non-profit manager in the environmental sector. As an aside, according to surveys natural scientists supposedly get a lot of respect/credibility, but I have noticed more “uh and ah” and “that’s really interesting” in connection with my new job and less “I always hated that in high-school” compared to my old job 😛 . So what am I going to work with now? To put it equally eloquently: “sustainability”. Maybe in a decade or so I will be able to give a better summary 🙂

Obviously one aspect is a severe decrease in income. What in “this economy”? Sure, why not, although I’d readily admit that if I was mortgaged and bonded by various liabilities, I would probably have sucked it up in my old career — like some I know — and desperately clung to my old job rather than take a chance like this.

For the blog this means that I will have more time to write (I think I can now legally blog in between working), but it also means that I will likely have less mental energy to do so. We’ll see. Thanks for hanging in there.

Originally posted 2009-03-16 16:28:16.