Recently I imported all my posts from the old "Grand Janitor Blog". Or "V1" (as this blog is officially called "The Grand Janitor Blog V2"). Lo and Behold! It turns out I have been blogging for almost 10 years. It started slowly in the first few years when I was working at Scanscout, it got even slower when I was at BBN. Mostly because lives in both Scanscout and BBN were very stressful. Just finishing all my work was tough, not to say blogging.
I guess another reason was the perceived numbness of being a technical person. The 10 years between 25 and 35 are the years you would question the meaning of your career. Both Scanscout and BBN promised me something great: Scanscout? Financial reward. BBN? Life-time financial stability. But when I worked on those two companies, there was always a sense of lost. I had questioned (admittedly..... sometimes incorrectly) numerous times on the purpose of some of the tasks. I became a person who is known to be quarrelsome, and without too many good reasons.
Or in general, there were moments I just didn't care. I didn't care about work, not to say I wouldn't even care to further myself, or try to write up what I learned. That's perhaps why I didn't blog as much as I should. I could make an excuse and say this is due to contractual obligations imposed by the companies. But the truth is I hadn't pull myself together as a good technical person. That's what I meant by numbness as a technical person.
It changed around 4-5 years ago when I joined Voci. Not trying to brag, but Voci has great culture. We were encouraged to come up with innovative solution. If we failed, we were encouraged to learn from the failure.
I was also given an interesting task: to maintain and architect the new Voci's speech recognition engine. Being software architect for machine learning software has always been my strength. Unfortunately, I was only able to use the skill at CMU.
That's perhaps why I started to care more - I care about debugging, which was once a boring and tedious process to me. I cared about the build system, which I always relied on other "experts" to fix any issues. I cared about machine learning, which I always thought is just a bunch of meaningless Math. Then I also cared about Math again, just like when I was young.
So the above is the brief history of my last 10 years as technical person and why I couldn't blog as much. I want to say one important thing here: I want to take personal responsibility on my lack of productivity during some of the years. May be I can make an excuse and say such-and-such company was managed poorly, but I don't want to. For the most part, all companies I worked for were managed by very smart and competent persons. Sure, they have issue. But not able to learn was really a me-thing.
I believe the antidote of the numbness is to learn. Learning as much as you can, learn as widely as you can. And don't give up, one day the universe will give you a break.
As I am almost 40, my wish is to blog for another 40 years.