Wednesday, 30 October 2013

An Honour and a Privilege

I am a person of enthusiasms.  It's a good thing and a bad thing.

A good thing is that I can move fast with something I care deeply about.  Such as Depressed Academics.

A bad thing is that I don't always sustain the energy to keep going - even at a slower pace - over a long period.

So my posting rate to Depressed Academics has been slow recently, while over at my regular blog I've been posting a lot about sexism and general inclusiveness in tech and CS because I think it's so important. Of course some of those posts could easily belong here, like this one, where I talk about one of the unhappiest times of my life when I MUST have been depressed in a clinical sense, but just felt like I was miserable.  It literally never occurred to me to visit a doctor.  (Please don't make this mistake: if life is awful for you, even if there is a good reason, please look for medical help.)

Here's a random story. I once applied for a job at a place that will remain nameless (I'm lying, it was HP Labs, Bristol). I didn't get it and one reason was because they hired a psychologist to do evaluations of applicants and he said that I was a "butterfly", i.e. got enthusiastic for one thing, then moved on to another, and another.  As I just said, he was right in one sense. But it made me extremely miserable to have been analysed by a psychologist whose professional interest was in stopping me getting a job I wanted, rather than helping me, and who had labelled me in what I felt was an unfair way.  It was one of those times I thought what I should have said when it was too late.  I really wish I'd said this: "Yeah, you're right, obviously as a student who is just about to finish a high quality Maths degree at Cambridge University, obviously I can't stick to anything really really difficult over a period of years."  

That story didn't mean anything.  I just remembered it, and I wanted to tell you.

So I've been feeling a bit guilty about D.A. recently.  But not very, because a butterfly can still do good things even if I don't post here regularly.

But it's nice to be inspired to come here and post again for a change.

And there's a good reason.  Not because I'm miserable but because I am honoured and privileged.

I am NOT going to go into details. But somebody praised me for starting this blog and told me things they never would have done as a relatively remote acquaintance. To be trusted like that is an honour and a privilege.

Whoever you are, and you know who you are, thank you.

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