Saturday, July 2, 2011

middle-distance athlete - painful prospect for me in Singapore

(Modified from a letter to a friend)


--update
My expertise used to be perl... now more mainstream more lucrative. In my current field (java/c++ finance) even a mediocre job would pay more than an expert in the previous field.

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You suggested that I consider management track. Here's what I feel.

In Beijing schools there are different competitions. I'm a middle distance athlete. This is a relatively unglamorous field, but I feel confident I can slowly rise up in ranking to city level competitions or even provincial level. There's some future for me.

Now, most Chinese students are more interested in academics. That gives them good chance to enter university. They can even go abroad if they are academically strong. So academic is the mainstream and most profitable route.

Does it mean as a student athlete I should shift focus to academics? I could also study hard to enter a university, but probably not a top top one, and definitely not an overseas prestigious university, because i simply don't have the academic talent. I could try to improve my studies but there are simply too many people more talented than me. In contrast, I know that in middle-distance running, i'm a potential provincial athlete.

I wake up from that dream. In reality, my focus is long term employ-ability. If I join the management track, in 5 years I would be in my mid 40's and some people would not believe I can do hands-on. My strength is technical knowledge (more than tech know-how). I must not abandon it.

Technical route is painful and ruthless on our self-esteem. Especially painful in Singapore. There was an employer (m-daq) who did recognize my technical talent, but rightfully, they would only pay me on par with some 30-year old, because that young developer is quite possibly more experienced in that field.

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About Me

New York (Time Square), NY, United States
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin