Four years and four months ago, almost to the day, I started a humble little blog way over in a tiny corner of the blogosphere. Back in the day, there were few voices of women scientists in the blogosphere, and even fewer of women computer scientists. I had never had much luck keeping any semblance of a journal before, and I had no idea what I was going to say, really, because who really wants to hear the
rantings musings of a lowly pseudonymous computer scientist? I’m not a betting woman, but I thought this little experiment would last one month, tops.
Boy, was I wrong.
People actually stopped by to read what I had to say…and many of them stuck around. I found that writing was both fun and cathartic. I found a whole new community of people, of friends, of supporters, of commiserators. It was the support group I didn’t have, the voice of reason I wasn’t hearing, the sympathetic men and women that I lacked in my own department. Blogging got me through my horrible third-year review. It helped me clarify whether I wanted to stay in my current position or cut my losses and leave. It helped me figure out when I was overreacting and when I was really facing some serious gender-related shit. It helped me get over at least some of my fears: fear of standing up for myself in my department, fear of submitting my work in writing, fear that I wasn’t good enough for this job.
When I started this gig, at my former blog and here at ScienceBlogs, I promised myself that I would stop as soon as blogging became more of a chore than a hobby. Increasingly, it’s been the former. And so, I’ve decided to quit, to walk away before I run out of things to say or become irrelevant or before this blog jumps the shark.
I can’t point to exactly one moment when I decided I was done; it’s been more of an evolving process. I’m crazy busy this year: my job is demanding ever more of me, especially as I go up for tenure next year; my daughter is 2, and that’s both a fun and a very intensive age, requiring ever more of my time and energy; and there are lots of other things going on in my personal life that are increasingly taking up my time and energy as well. I’ve had plenty of ideas, but no time or energy or inclination to actually sit down and write them. And I kind of feel like I’ve said everything I can say in this space. Increasingly, I’m hitting the brick wall of pseudonymity: I’d love to talk about lots of things, like what the tenure process at my school is really like or what classes I’m teaching or stuff about my research or my fairly unusual background as an engineer who transitioned to computer science later in her career. But I can’t because of the whole being outed thing. (OK, maybe I just outed a little something about myself. But I feel like I should leave you with something. Feel better?)
I thought for a while about holding out until tenure. After all, isn’t that why some of you are reading? To see if I’ll succeed in this crazy quest or if I’ll just be another statistic in the leaky pipeline? But I don’t care much for stories that have neat endings. My favorite stories are the ones that leave you guessing at the end: did they end up together or not? does the record store get saved from the wrecking ball? did she live or die? So maybe it’s fitting that this blog ends with some loose ends as well.
I haven’t ruled out blogging ever again, but at least for now, I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ll continue to read and comment at y’all’s blogs; I just won’t have my own space to vent anymore. And I’m OK with that. I’ll still be Jane around those parts and I’ll still keep checking my Jane email, at least for a while….but who knows, maybe ScienceBlogs is already planning the reality show to pick my successor! See Jane Compute 2: This Time, It’s Personal.
(I am on FB IRL, so if you want to keep up w/ me that way, shoot me an email.)
What’s hardest for me about this decision, and what I will definitely miss the most, is the community. I am so, so humbled at the number of people who have read and commented and continue to read and comment. I am so grateful for all of the people I have met because of blogging—people too numerous to mention here. I am extremely grateful for the whole ScienceBlogs community: my SciBlings and Erin and Arikia, who have always made me feel welcome here and who have been tremendously supportive as well. I love you all and wish you all the best. And I hope to continue to be a part of the community, even without the blog.
Take care, everyone, and thanks so much for listening.