Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In which I acquiesce to the siren song of capitalism

OK, I suppose some disclosure is in order. I recently accepted the offer of a software development position at Google.

Provided I defend as planned this summer (hardly a foregone conclusion, but my advisor seems to believe in me), this fall I'll be ending my career in academia and moving to the Bay Area.

At this point it is worth noting that if I were smarter, more talented, more focused, or simply hungrier, I would probably have done as most other recent Ph.D.'s from my research group have done, and obtained an academic job, or at least joined a research lab. I'm reminded of the time I chewed out Jonah Goldberg for implying that liberals become academics because they can't get jobs in the private sector. In computer science, the opposite's closer to the truth. (Well, I did have one academic job offer, but for various reasons I turned it down. I also turned down a few interviews, mostly because I'd concluded that I wouldn't accept those positions even if they were offered.)

Not that I'm complaining. There are worse things in life than getting a job offer that 99% of the people in my profession would kill to have.

Finally, you may wonder how this affects my blogging. Well, in my previous post, I took a position that tilts against one of Google's most prominent current lobbying efforts. That doesn't really settle the issue, of course --- especially since the mechanics of options dictate that I want GOOG to drop as much as possible before I start work, and rise to stratospheric heights only thereafter --- but anyway I hope that my opinions will remain independent of my paycheck, even after I shuffle off this academic coil.

I won't take it personally, however, if you consider me a wholly owned subsidiary of my putative future employer.


  1. Thanks, I definitely appreciate the thought, but don't congratulate me till I actually defend. (Fingers crossed.)

  2. Well then, good luck defending, and congratulations shortly afterwards!