Presumptuous invitation

It feels a bit cringe to think in terms of professional networking, but a few recent posts have me thinking about the personal and professional connections that maintain philosophical life.

TL;DR: 1. I should be better about keeping in touch and attending on-line events. 2. If you feel like you’d benefit from being in touch with me, feel free to reach out.

The first prompt was John Quiggin blogging about how to get the benefits of in-person conferences without expensive and environmentally-irresponsible travel:

It’s much more socially acceptable to chat to a more senior colleague at a conference where you are both presenting than to cold-call them with an unsolicited email. But social conventions aren’t set in stone. As the social cost of in-person conferences goes up, and the benefits (relative to remote presentations) decline, it’s time to think about alternative ways of delivering those benefits.

The second was Oliver Müller tweeting about what he learned from some time outside academia.

This one surprised me most: getting to know people is much more important than I had ever imagined. I set up meetings with people I didn’t know in the org every week to get to know them. Half an hour chats are so valuable to establishing networks I highly recommend doing that in research as well. Seen a research paper? Why not send the team a mail to ask for a quick chat? The worst thing they can say is no.

This reminds me of the on-line talks I meant to attend in July but didn’t. I should be better about attending things (because it’s almost always worth the time when I do) and keeping in touch (because there are connections which have fallen through mostly because of my distraction).

Furthermore, Quiggin’s point about junior scholars made me realize that’s not me anymore. Both in terms of prior output and in terms of time served— for better or for worse— I’m a senior scholar. That leads me to make this presumptuous invitation:

Please reach out. I’m happy to swap a few e-mails, meet via Zoom, or whatever.1

  1. I originally formulated this in terms of whether you’d benefit from it or if you’re thinking about things I work on, but I decided I didn’t want to circumscribe the target of the invitation.

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