A re-posting of a recent letter that I sent to family and friends.
Well into the new year, so much has changed and I just wanted to pause a moment, greet you with a note, and share a few stories (likely with too many references to economics!).
Two years ago I moved out to the mysterious land of Virginia (where people introduce themselves with their full name). It's no California, but it was good enough for Thomas Jefferson and has turned out to be quite good to me. I have benefit from good company, plenty of opportunities, and, pleasantly, an enjoyable dance scene (where I have lead only one, fortunate, relationship-commencing, knee injury).
Up until this past October I worked at the Institute for Humane Studies. My main responsibility was to manage our globalization education project which included maintaining a website and directing several summer seminars on the topic. The job gave me the opportunity to work with several top notch faculty members and hundreds of bright, enthusiastic students. In the process, I have increased my fondness of teaching basic economic principles and developed a strong interest in alternatives to our traditional methods of education.
In the spirit of education, this past Fall greeted me with some new opportunities. I made it over to Switzerland for a one week conference on sustainability. I won't hazard a guess as to whether I will remember the bike rides through the Alps or my hosts' Malthusian diatribes with more clarity, though if I were to recommend a memorable experience, the way the layers of clouds pattern the valley below Braunwald is indeed striking.
On my return, and with my blessing, it was decided that we cancel the globalization project I was working on. It's a challenging decision to terminate something you have worked hard to make succeed, yet my economics training never fails to remind me that if you can't increase the value of the resources you are using, you are best to let those resources find a higher valued use elsewhere. The shocking part came as I realized half of my job was contingent on this decision.
While it is only human nature to be somewhat frustrated at the occurrence of unexpected change, I responded in another way only something as savvy as human nature could suggest: I didn't sleep for three days. After a handful of conversations with close friends (and with myself), somewhere between insomnia and bliss, it became clear that I too was a misallocated resource and due for some new goals.
Programming, animation, web design: they all got put on the top of my list. I started training in a variety of internet technologies and began the process of beginning my own information design business aptly titled: Information is Beautiful. And it is. (Nicely, the seminar half of my job at IHS is also still on my plate.)
In a year or so, I'm sure I will have a few more stories to share. I'm sure they will be full of romance, intrigue, and the struggles and triumphs of a protagonist and his trade.