I resigned from my job half a year ago. If you remember I was planning to rebuild my career in academia and to find myself along the way.
The problem with re-entering academia is that to find a job starting September 2008, I would have had to apply in December 2007. I really didn’t want to apply before finding my new direction in mathematics and publishing some papers to rebuild my name. So I decided to apply for academic jobs in December 2008, while using the intervening year for research and to try to publish.
The problem with delaying the start of my new academic job until September 2009, is that I didn’t save enough money to cover such a long period of time. Even though I cut down my expenses significantly, I still need some additional income in the meantime. However, temporary jobs consume the time I need for research in order to go back to academia. To resolve this Catch-22 situation, I decided to choose jobs of only two kinds: first, either they pay a lot, so for a limited time of work I can buy a lot of extra time for my research; or second, they’re aligned with my goals. I wasn’t yet looking very hard for work, but nonetheless several jobs came my way.
One of the jobs I accepted was a temporary job as a math competition coach at Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) Charter School. This gave me a chance to check once again how I feel about teaching. I love entertaining people with mathematics. I showed magic tricks to my students, played games with them and so on. I enjoyed myself; my students liked me. But I do not know enough tricks or games to teach 24 hours a week as a regular school teacher. I decided that I really do not want to be a school math teacher. But I love being a coach, because it takes less time and I get the best kids.
I also worked on the Organizing Committee for the Women and Mathematics Program in Princeton in May 2008. The irony is that I lived in Princeton for seven years and ignored this program for most of them. Initially I was prejudiced against such a program. I felt that I should go to lectures only for their mathematical value. The gender of the lecturer doesn’t matter.
I think I was missing the whole point of the program. I should write about this program more.
The surprising result of the last half year is that I am having a blast blogging. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to find a job in mathematical journalism, if such a profession exists.Share: