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On a lighter note

2009/04/29

So I’ve spent about 3 years each in 2 different sciency, natural resources, save-the-world kind of workplaces. Both of which are university affiliated so you get those hardcore science nerds (I’m talking about storm chasers and, no joke, stream chasers because runoff is just good clean fun) and a random assortment of folks who just wound up in a university job for whatever reason (entirely unrelated to money). I’m going to go all out science here and make ginormous assumptions about the components of these groups, all on a sample size of 2. Here it is, the list of people every natural resources research group with an IT element must have to function. Sort of.

 

  1. The socially inept, i.e. single with dogs, basically incompetent IT guy. Must also be really into community theater to the detriment of all work relationships and, in the end, the job. You might see hints of a major break with reality during conversations about past events (the team says X happened, your guy says Y happened) that will ultimately end in the guy quitting his job to focus on his acting career. In community theater. 
  2. The programmer who spends as many weekends as possible attending or racing in rally events. They’ll own a beat up, stripped down Subaru and recount how many tires blew out and at which mile they blew out every Monday. On the plus side, you don’t mind traveling with them for fieldwork or conferences if they had navigator experience until you get tired of having someone shouting “Hard left, 200 meters” when you approach a stop light. 
  3. The hyper-granola eco-feminist. Can detail water law or the farm bill in detail and sports a lot of North Face gear. On weekends, they can be found hiking in some wilderness or volunteering to help with some environmental cleanup or outreach. 
  4. The specialist science über-nerd. If it’s a climate guy, they can be found gawking at charts of air pressure while bouncing from foot to foot trying to decide if it’s time to go storm chasing. Hydrology guys chase up and down side streets trying to find laminar flow and can be stopped, deer-in-the-headlighty-like, by a video of rising floodwaters. Depending on how socialized they are, their only definition of a hockey stick comes from a climate graph. Beware the ones that talk about sports too much — you’ll spend all of your time setting up their R analyses.

I, for one, had not realized how many rally racers and community theater participants there were out there. All I can say is that you should avoid #1 at all costs since you will wind up doing all of their work and being unable to convince anyone of their incompetence (unless they are really, really terrible actors, in which case you should keep telling them how great the are in the hopes that they pursue their true calling of the theahter). It’s a wonder anything gets done. 

If you fall into #4 as a climate nerd, go check out the Effing Hail game. Awesome.

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