The Egoless Knowledge Worker (via hypertextual)

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Fuzzy thoughts for Friday…

Take a look at the post from hypertextual, below. Ignore that the orginal rules were written for developers… put aside that they have been reworded for knowledge workers… and reinterpret as “you are not your research / thesis / paper”…

… then ask yourself:

  • does this work for you as a researcher?
  • could this smooth the path in collaborations?

The Egoless Knowledge Worker When I started working as a Junior Developer in the early 90s, I was developing application software in airline mainframe systems (for the record : IBM TPF technology). Dozen thousands of users (travel agents, airline reservation offices), hundredth thousands transactions a day. Back in those days we were developing in Assembler/370, a programming language which, roughly speaking, is to today’s programming languages what a 70s calculator is to an … Read More

via hypertextual

This got me thinking (watch out!)

For me, I have never considered ego in research, at least not where the ego concerned was my own.  The topic of ego tends to arise in discussions about other researchers, particularly where the relationship could be considered unequal (with regard to experience or academic hierarchy): such as doctoral researcher & supervisor; or postdoc & principal investigator.

But me… have an ego…?

I’m currently awaiting a date for my viva.  I have invested nearly five years of my life, and a lot of myself in my doctoral research.  To me, it’s like a member of the family: I don’t necessarily like it, or think it’s anywhere near the best, and sometimes I feel a bit embarrassed to be connected to it.  I’m fully aware of all its faults, yet it’s mine, and therefore I love it.  I don’t always want to talk about it with other researchers, and I can’t help making comparisons with others’ work.  Someone else’s research is always more exciting, worthwhile and ground-breaking than my own.  But, to take the family analogy a little bit further: if anyone else dared to attack my research, I would defend it to pretty much the death (of my future career, probably).  So it seems I cannot disconnect entirely from my research.  I cannot see the line between “me” and “it”.  And I’m defensive about my work… hmmm…

Which means I do have an ego.  And I need to keep the rules in mind when I have my viva.

I think I’ll be printing out those rules and starting to practice them from right now…

Happy Friday, have a great weekend
Sarah :)

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3 thoughts on “The Egoless Knowledge Worker (via hypertextual)

    ceciiil said:
    July 9, 2010 at 16:40

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for linking to Hypertextual article.

    Great post eventhough I’m afraid you seem to be quite related to your work.

    However, I can understand you have a very close relation with the fruit of 5 year research.

    But bare in mind that critics may help your thesis and at the eventually, could make the research better, clearer, more straight forward etc …

      Sarah R-H said:
      July 9, 2010 at 17:42

      Hi Cecil,

      Thank you – your comment brings us back to where we should be when considering the purpose of the viva. Peer review, learning to be a researcher…

      Also, it’s easy (for me) to forget that the doctoral thesis will (hopefully) be the least interesting, least read, and lowest impact piece of research I will ever do. It’s hard to remember that the doctoral process is a learning thing, and the result is credibility as a beginning researcher. The doctorate isn’t a product, it’s a journey. That’s my interpretation anyway :)

      Is it just me, or did it momentarily sound like I was disassociating from my ego?
      Sarah

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TLDU. TLDU said: RT @SussexDocSchool: I am not my research. Or am I? Musing on rules for leaving the ego at the door. http://bit.ly/dqg45e Happy Friday :o) [...]

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