Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm Learnding

Here in DC it feels like spring is coming, a season for change. And if you recall your Romance poets, growth, passion, and the like. It seems like many of my friends and family are acting accordingly. Ryan is talking about taking education classes, looking into teaching. Kirk has submitted his letters to leave active duty and become an FBI field agent. I just found out Sara is applying for a doctoral program in Nashville. Jane is setting up a study group for the professional engineering exam.

I am thinking of following suit - if smart people are all doing it, it must be the smart thing to do, right? I've already applied to take the PE exam, and plan on getting Jane to teach me everything at the aforementioned study group. I should start asking questions at work about getting tuition assistance for enrolling in the ocean engineering master's program from VTech. I regret not starting that sooner; if I had just dove in when I first started working, I could have my master's by now. Learn from my example, O People of the Internet! Don't put off until tomorrow, seize the day, children are our future, etc. etc.

I've also started some literature review and outlining for a paper. If I could get it published, that would mean a resume bullet and the publication bonus at work. Though the more I work on it, the more I wonder if I have enough to warrant a paper. The deeper in I go, the shallower it seems. Without going into the technicalities, it is an interesting topic to me, I'm not aware of any papers on it to date, but any real research would require a massive effort - lots of research, modeling, and simulation. What I have in mind is more of presenting a methodology that could be used for analysis in my field. I guess I'm wondering if my idea is self-evident and obvious to others. I think I may have to get some other smart people to talk to me about it.

I may be a little more enthusiastic about writing than usual, since we have just wrapped up a big effort to write a deliverable for a client. It ended up at almost 500 pages. We all put a lot of effort into it, and I think everyone ended up working a healthy chunk of overtime. Times like that are the ones I find the most professionally satisfying. Humility aside, writing and editing engineering text is something I've always thought I was good at. I wouldn't want to do it all the time - I like being an engineer first and an editor far less - but it is satisfying when I get to do it.

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