This will be a necessarily vague post because, although very few people read these things, and many of those that do read them know me quite well, I still want to at least allude to a degree of anonymity here. I also just took a mandatory course on why I can't say what kind of work I do in an "online social venue" without all sorts of cautions and mandates. (And no, I am not a spy or anything even remotely cool like that - the whole thing is just silly). But anyway, because of this I have vagueified the following (I made a word! Give me a cookie), perhaps to the point of making it incomprehensible. If it is indeed incomprehensible you have my most sincere, Evil Prince Ludwig-style, apple-o-geez.
So now, let the vagueness commence!
I was on a phone call with a guy from out of state who was inviting me to join in a project submission he was working on. He told me the kind of project it was, and what sort of person he was looking to join in the submission, both in terms of skills and also in terms of their bio/vita. On some research submissions you're judged as much by the caliber and specialties of the people on your team as you are on the actual planned project, so it made sense that he was considering these things. It sounded like a neat project, and I wanted to join, but also to be honest. So I told him three things:
- First, that it sounded like a project that I would like to join in.
- Second, that on paper I would certainly fit the need he was trying to address, because I had published in that area and was pointing my career in that direction.
- And third, that while on paper I would be a good fit, in practice I was only a moderate fit because I could think of several people who were much better versed in this particular area than I was. I explained that while this area was an interest of mine, and I was developing a skill set in it and, as I said, publishing in it, I had not been, as many others had, working in this particular area for my entire career or studying it since grad school.
After I had gone through all that he told me that he had read some of my publications and based on what he had read he was sure that I would have a load to offer and that he really wanted me on the project. So part of me was thinking "Wow, he's really desperate here" and another part was like "Gosh, he likes me, he really likes me!" but the biggest part of me was thinking "You mean you actually read that stuff?"