tiedyedave: (hmm)
[personal profile] tiedyedave
So, tomorrow is my first day at Google, and I am scared.

I defended my dissertation 17 days ago, officially earned a PhD 7 days ago, and moved to Mountain View yesterday. The situation is beginning to feel more real, but it is still ephemeral and beyond my ability to fully process.

My experience of impostor syndrome has been strong for years, but has been especially strong lately; it seems as though I just barely graduated, and maybe that I don't even deserve my PhD, even after being in school for 9 years.

And now I am walking into a situation with high-powered people who very much have their shit together, whereas I haven't written a line of code in probably a year now, most likely got hired simply by virtue of having the magical (but now a decade stale) CMU-BS-CS incantation on my resume, and have for years had profound difficulty doing more than one hour of anything useful most days.

Also I will probably soon be signing a one year lease that equates to a ~$25k financial obligation (on top of the $125k in debt). So if I cannot keep my shit together then things will go poorly. Literally.

I am now strapped into a rocket fueled by expectation and necessity, and this rocket is about to go very quickly to a place that is very far from my comfort zone.


Date: 2013-08-26 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yannaboo.livejournal.com
*hugs* congratulations on your new adventure! In my experience, the impostor syndrome never goes away, but life certainly normalizes.

Also, my strange brain saw your rocketship analogy, and is now looping "Ride, captain, ride upon your mystery ship". To me, I think it's trying to say have fun with this incredible opportunity, and you're in control!

Date: 2013-08-26 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chrisamaphone
congratulations! good luck! :D

Date: 2013-08-26 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jvittes.livejournal.com
It is my 4th week here, and I certainly felt the impostor syndrome pretty heavy my first week. I don't know if it helps you, but it certainly put me at ease when one of the training instructors compared it to Stanford, there is a thing there were people compare students to duck, above water they seem to just be gliding on the water, but underwater they are moving their feet like crazy, this may not be unique to Stanford but it certainly is mentioned there a lot. I'm sure things will work out well.

Congratulations on the new job, and on your graduation. Maybe we can meet up for lunch sometime.

Date: 2013-08-26 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skydiamonde.livejournal.com
*hug* good luck. and hope to bump into you at some point in this area. It's also a big company. So plenty to do, and groups to switch into until you find your best fit. glp

Date: 2013-08-27 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rjmccall.livejournal.com
The idea that you don't deserve your PhD after running a research lab for half a decade and writing about a dozen papers exploring and significantly extending the world's knowledge about an interesting and important topic in your chosen field is essentially bullshit, and if you'd like, you can call me and I will tell you this again, because <3, Dave.

Also, I know a ton of people at Google (and elsewhere) who do really awesome work, but I am not sure I would accept an assessment of any of them as "high-powered people who very much have their shit together", because in this life the jigsaw puzzle of shit does not actually ever fit together that cleanly, and even in the best cases, either the whole thing's about to burst in a panic or all the gaps are caked over with glue or there are five unseen people sawing away at the rough corners. And you will see this plainly enough after you've spent a few weeks really looking at things, and then you will figure out what to do.

Motivation is a tricky thing, but I would not assume that problems as a student will necessarily carry over to a regular job. For one, you'll be doing something completely different. For another, the scope of the problems you get to work on as a programmer — especially the new programmer on a project! — is completely different from the scope of problems you get to work on as an academic. And for another, people will be paying attention to you, and expecting progress from you, in very different ways.

Anyway, I am glad to hear that you are here; we should get together.


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