Restless Exploration

2005-02-07

Two well-known commentators retired recently. The first was a traditional journalist: William Safire of the New York Times. The second was one of the most prominent bloggers: Andrew Sullivan. In one of his farewell columns (temproarily here, but you know that NYT policy of quickly archiving things), Safire quoted James Watson (co-discoverer of the biological double helix) and Bruce Barton (an old-school advertising executive) as follows:

"Never retire. Your brain needs exercise or it will atrophy."

"When you're through changing, you're through."

For his part, Andrew Sullivan provided the following words of wisdom in his farewell blog entry:

I've always thought it's a good idea to quit something after around five years or so. Before it becomes a chore. Before you become numb.

Combine these sentiments and the result is a career philosophy that encourages one to endlessly and restlessly explore new opportunities, not rest on one's laurels. Personally I've always experienced that five-year itch -- it's one reason I didn't get a Ph.D. (I'd burned out on higher education after 4 years of college), why I moved into web application development in 1996, and why I got heavily involved with Jabber in 2000. Astute readers will note that I've devoted the last five years of my life to Jabber. Whether I will stay true to form regarding the five-year itch remains to be seen. ;-)


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