I Am Confused

You’re working on a project with a colleague, and he’s making a lot of references to your state of mind. Specifically he’s making statements asking why you are confused, or making suggestions about why something is so hard for you. It feels absolutely terrible.

I Am Different

You’re sitting in a conference room with your colleagues. And they are discussing the thing. And you first are also engaged, because you have strong opinions about the thing too. But then ten minutes turns to twenty, twenty to thirty, and then it’s been an hour that these folks are still talking about the thing. “My goodness,” you think. They care about the thing much more than I do. One of these things is not like the other, and it’s me. I am different. I’m not sure that I belong here.

I Am Not An Rse

Early on in the Research Software Engineering movement, people in power in the research software engineering community would give talks and write papers that addressed the question

I Am Not Qualified To

You are early in your career, and you have an idea. It seems vast and far away, and you first start to question if you are capable of doing it. Let’s say that you decide that you are. But then you get to the part where you need to engage with other people, and attract their interest. Maybe you would need to arrange a regular meetup, or even a single meeting to discuss something. You zoom out of yourself and look at your current role and position in the academic hierarchy. I’m not qualified to do that. you think.

I Will Be Less Busy Later

There is something about being a Research Software Engineer, or perhaps just a hard working person, or someone that has trouble saying, “No.” that leads to busy-ness. I would even go as far to say that being busy is a part of work culture in the United States. We don’t take vacations, some of us work on weekends, and we are chronically in a busy state. How does this look? In the U.S it might be seen as a badge of honor. But in other places, I suspect there is more awareness for work-life balance. And whether you’ve said this or only had someone tell it to you, it’s hugely likely you’ve heard this story:

I Will Not Get Credit

Being a research software engineer is rooted in not being noticed. People in our roles, or more specifically those that write code, create infrastructure and tooling, or clean data for research projects have not historically been given credit for that work, as the credit usually goes to the star scientist(s) on the paper. Many of us didn’t even have titles that meant anything across different universities - research software engineers could be postdocs that never left the role, “Research Associates” that took on that title and then were never promoted again, or some cryptic title like “Sftwre Dvelper II” that was practically embarrassing to share. If you are one to like to work behind the scenes, maybe this has been a good experience for you. But if you want to get credit for your work, and possibly noticed and promoted, the environment historically hasn’t been there for us.

Im Too Old

It’s interesting how we progress through our careers thinking about age, and more generally in life, how we notice or don’t notice it. When we are very young, everyone is an adult, or an older person to us. When we are young adults (perhaps just finished schooling) and in our 20 somethings, we stop noticing age because the media and advertising are targeting us. We look like the age of people that we are presented with, and at this point we are the center of attention. Fellowships and new opportunities are targeted for us. We are filled with potential and promise, and we are continuing to step higher and higher. We are increasingly excited about our futures and we don’t feel like we’ve gotten to a point of stagnation. And this makes sense, because our entire lives we’ve been on this path of always knowing about a next step. You go through grade school, then high school, then college, then maybe some post college work or experience and then graduate school, and then your first job, and being promoted or excelling through your first job.

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