Monday, May 19, 2014

Hectic pace

The nice thing about being in academic circles is the ability to take your time and think things through.  Generally, when it comes to papers, I found there was one relatively large problem that needed to be solved.  Solving the problem took time, and it was up to the author (me) to take the time and thoroughly investigate the problem, and ensure the solution made sense.  Of course, it was important to solve the problem relatively quickly to get the paper out, but in the end, solving the problem correctly was dominant.

In my experience, that isn't the case in industry.  There isn't time to reflect on the problem and investigate multiple scenarios.  You generally pick your gut instinct and go with it.  Granted, the problems in industry are solved quickly and you can tell immediately if it works or not, but the 'laid back' atmosphere of problem-solving from academia is non-existent.  You just need to make things work.  And when they work, it's time to move on.  That problem is ancient history - no longer present to be criticized by a panel of scholars during peer review.

This is good and bad.  Good:  any single problem is not important enough to piss and moan about for months.  Bad:  you no longer have time to fully employ your reasoning and evaluate (and re-evaluate) the solution.  It's hectic.  It's a madhouse.  But at the end of the day, you can forget about it.

The slow pace of academia was already not in-line with my personality.  I would procrastinate and throw away days/weeks working on minute details.  So I was already prepared (in a way) for a quicker atmosphere, and I would assume that most people leaving academia would have a similar mindset.  It is a bit of an adjustment though...