Rambles around computer science

Diverting trains of thought, wasting precious time

Wed, 13 Oct 2021

No more Dr Nice Guy

[I wrote this back in April, at a point when my time at Kent was drawing to a close and the overload factor had been high for a long time. My current situation at King's is radically different! Whether that will last is less clear.]

As a graph theorist might put it, my in-degree is too high. My time and (especially) head-space are scarce resources. Access to me needs to be limited. Ironically, it requires a certain amount of big-headedness to say this.

Big-headed it may be, but failing to attend to this has proven bad for my health. Every incoming request contributes to a sense of being under attack. Avoiding this is difficult when you're a nice person, working within a culture of niceness and an institution with financial incentives to be nice to (especially) students.

From now on, I have to make an effort to put up a protective veneer of non-niceness. Here I am writing some ground rules to and for myself. It will be tough to keep to them, but as I now know, it will be impossible to do my job if I don't.

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