The $10,000,000 questions.

September 19, 2005

I am going through a lot of the job search stuff, looking for a position near J's job that will let us shift the household budget from a flood of red ink to either black ink or a trickle of red.

Along the way I have been reading a fair bit of job search literature, researching careers, and so on.

One of the exercises I came across was the 10,000,000 question. Imagine that the red leprechaun just gave you $10,000,000 that you can only spend on yourself. No giving it away, no bailing out the extended family. Just you. What do you spend it on?

My gut answer was
1, pay off the debts.
2, move to a bigger house in a better school district and get the books out of storage.
3, be an independent scholar.

Oh, and I would probably get back into gaming.

The question comes with a parallel, what would you do if the green leprechaun gave you an additional $10,000,000 that could only be spent on other people?

Now, depending on if you define family as self or other, one of the two leprechauns would get tapped for educational trusts for the kids and their cousins, for a retirement supplement for J's dad, and to make sure that my folks have all the medigap they need.

For the rest, I would spend it to get primary documents into the community colleges and liberal arts schools, and from these places into the local high school AP programs. I am not sure if I would want to fund digitizing well-known documents like the Early American Imprints or if there would be more bang for the buck from making manuscripts, collected papers, and the like into easily searched, easily used, widely dispersed documents, but that is the way I would go.

What does this exercise tell me - something that I literally had not articulated about myself an hour ago? It tells me that I need to chase down the projects doing digital history, and that I need to see if I can put together a grant proposal to do more of it. I have strengths in history, in information technology, and in bridging the gap between academic geeks and computer geeks. I would probably be happier working on the data-production side of academia than I would running regressions and building web pages for a random finance/insurance/real-estate firm.

And so to write some cover letters.

Posted by Red Ted at September 19, 2005 12:35 PM | TrackBack