Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Four Lifes Of The Geek

A few days ago someone asked on Slashdot this very question: "Where to Go After a Lifetime in IT?".

If you filter the trolls out, you will find that the asker was left with these two categories of replies:
  • Do not change anything and keep cashing until you can enjoy your upcoming retirement,
  • Do not be afraid of a drastic change: not doing it will turn into a millstone of regrets.
All this is common wisdom. What can the life of exceptional people tell us about this? Consider the life of Thomas Kailath, recent recipient of the prestigious IEEE Medal of Honor. During his career, he was never scared of exploring new fields: indeed, he done it four times, which sounds like a good way of using a standard human working lifespan.

What could be the conditions for having four professional lives? If you look at the watermark underneath Professor Kailath's professional path, you will discover that:
  • Passion and curiosity must be the main drivers,
  • Excellence and rigor must be constantly sought,
  • Courage and optimism should be nurtured.
Is this reserved to IEEE's cream of the cream? I happens more and more. Look around you: people are daring to experiment their next life. But, of course, nothing come close to our feline companions and their nine lives.