In the past months I have been ‘calibrating my career compass’. I’ve been at APG since early 2018 now, and I have made a promotion within my current function in the meantime. However, I also need a ‘bigger picture’ goal, or a challenge. I therefore realized that in general I had 4 directions I could steer my career into:
Yes, it has been one month already that I’m working outside of academia.
When telling everyone I decided to leave academia in January (in my previous blog post, but also on LinkedIn and of course in a lot of personal conversations), I could not imagine what life outside of the university ‘walls’ would be like. What I did realize is that a lot of people found this decision ‘brave’ or ‘the best choice’, even if they decided to stay in academia. However, I still did not know if this was true, but was looking forward to find out. I also felt strengthened by the talks and replies I had. So thanks to all who interacted with me. And I hope I have helped a few of you a bit further in your thinking as well. This is also the reason for this blog post: to give some follow-up on announcing the big decision. I do now one after 1 month, but plan to do more in the future (maybe at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months?).
What I was looking for
When leaving academia a month ago I was looking for a better connection to ‘the business’ in order to increase my impact. At the same time I would like to still do process mining, and ideally also be allowed some freedom in pursuing ‘research’ questions.
What I found at APG
During my first days at APG (‘Algemene Pensioen Groep’, which manages the pensions, including financial assets of 474 billion Euro, customer service, etc., of several pension funds) I already realized I indeed arrived in a ‘candy shop’: Continue reading “Reflecting on my first month ‘out of academia’”
It was not an easy decision, but my upcoming tenure meeting triggered me to decide, and the final decision was to leave academia. In this blog post I try to explain why finally I came to this decision after months of doubt.
I looked at the tenure meeting as a marriage proposal: the university is in essence asking me to stay with them forever and ever. However, first ‘they’ (the tenure committee) evaluates whether they really want me to stay forever by looking at my research output, teaching quality, etc. etc. If I would accept the tenure proposal, I would in essence have a ‘job for life’. This provides great stability, both personally and professionally, to really work on my personal career. However, this assumes that you stay in academia for a while, building your own profile, career and research line.
I started looking at energy gainers and drainers, and I realized I gained energy from doing data analysis myself. However, in my day-to-day work I was mainly involved in helping fellow researchers obtain funding (in my role as research program manager at the Data Science Center), helping PhD and master students execute their research and projects, and to setup and run courses both online as well as in the master program. I realized I really wanted to do what my PhD and master students were doing: digging into data and finding answers (and more questions). However, in research, you’re always developing hammers (tools, techniques), for which you are looking for nails to use them on. And sometimes you pretend a screw was also a nail for your tool. You are generally not really concerned whether you were answering the business question, your main aim is to gather evidence for your paper or thesis. In the end, it felt too much of creating and then solving puzzles for my own satisfaction.
Secondly, and probably even more important, I do not know of any colleague that is spending <50 hours a week on this job. This is not a bad thing, if you do what you love this comes natural. But for me it is time to do as I say, and really show that “I’m married to my wife, not my boss”. I realized family time was really suffering, and even if I was having a good time in the evening/weekends I could not always enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
What I’ll miss
Of course I’m also leaving a lot of cool stuff behind. I’ll miss the stimulating and challenging environment, the many young students and PhDs in our group each with different personalities, the cutting-edge research we do and the many industry contacts we have. This might sound a bit contra-dictionary to what I mentioned above, but it’s all true. I’ll also miss the transition in which both the Data Science Center and our research group are currently after Wil van der Aalst left to Aachen. I’ll also miss the MOOCs I’m running and the nice contact with the people following them, etc. etc.
What I’m looking forward to
I’m looking forward to start my new job as senior data scientist at APG (a large Dutch pension fund). I’m looking forward to finding the right tools for the nail at hand, to work in a team towards an answer, and to keep learning. I’m also looking forward to stay in touch with my current colleagues, and possibly even start new collaborations from my new position.
Welcome to my personal blog on WordPress.com. This is my first post.
And since this is my first post, I’ll tell a little bit about me and why I started this blog.
So, I’m Joos Buijs from the Netherlands. At the moment I’m a graduate student ‘Business Information Systems‘ at Eindhoven University of Technology. I’m working at my master thesis/project which is related to process mining, a ‘hot research topic’ at the group I’m working at. But more about my master project in a later blog post.
The goal of this blog is mainly to create a ‘personal brand’, or in other words, to promote myself to future employers, colleagues and the rest of the world. Secondary, but not less important, I want to get in contact with new people and share idea’s and opinions and help each other. For instance, I believe that my master project might help people active in process mining and they can provide me with tips to improve my application.
If you want to get to know me better you can read my ‘online resume’ also known as my LinkedIn profile (which also includes a picture or myself, to make it more personal). And of course, you can always contact me by adding a comment, send me a message or try to meet me in real life 🙂
That’s it for now. I cannot promise a regular update schedule, in most cases its contradictory to my work schedule. Right now for instance I’m taking a break from reading a book (on plug-in development in Eclipse) but when I’m ‘really working’ I have less time to post something interesting (although then I’m likely to have something interesting to post…). Anywho, hope to see you soon!!!