I hate the switch between daylight savings time and standard time. I like the fact that there is now daylight in the evening. The shift in sleep schedule is just making me VERY grumpy.
In other news... I've been thinking a bit lately about a friend, M., and the choices we both made at similar points in our lives. M. is a 22 year old hacker who works as an IT professional for a nearby Internet Service Provider. He's been working in the field more or less since high school, and is making good money without even the benefit of a four year college degree.
I envy M. in some ways. He's 22 years old, plays guitar, owns a motorcycle, and is buying all the cool toys that men in their early 20's like to buy. Naturally, the combination of the guitar, the motorcycle, and the good paycheck immediately make him attractive to a certain cross section of women in his age group as well. I won't say that M. has made some of the smartest choices, either in life or with respect to how he deals with people (he is just finding his way as an adult, after all), but, his situation pokes at an old sore spot for me: why the hell did I spend all those extra years in school when I could have been out making money?
Well, I found out part of the answer this week. It seems that M.'s company, an ISP startup that's been in business for a few years, is being acquired and absorbed by Company C., one of the larger players in the field. Being talented without credentials (like degrees) is fine when you are working for a startup because everyone knows you're competent by dealing with you. HR departments naturally look more at what's on paper than at you, however. So, M. is being offered a fairly small retention bonus for staying through the acquisition by Company C. I think this fact, along with an education allowance in the benefits package of Company C., is making him consider the idea that he needs a college degree.
M.'s consideration of this prospect reminds me why I stayed in school. M. has three choices: get a degree from a tech correspondence degree mill like DeVry, go to local school part time and work full time for at least 6 years, or, go back to school full time for 3-4 years. None of these choices seem horribly attractive to M. The benefit of a correspondence degree is probably going to be limited when compared to that of another school. Going full time to a local school is hard; I've seen people do it, and they don't like giving up benefits and a good paycheck in favor of becoming a student again. Going part time just makes your life very busy for a LONG time.
M.'s plight reminds me that sometimes you can make a certain choice in your life at a certain time that is very hard to go back and make again later. My 20's was the right time to put up with all everything I had to do in order to get my Ph.D. I don't think I could go back and do the same thing now that I've been working for a few years. I know that I sometimes feel like I'm just starting out in my mid-30's when I should have been doing it ten years earlier. Those years were not wasted, however, because it was far easier to stay in school then than now.
on 2004-04-07 at 10:14 a.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond