On Friday, June 1, New Think Tank launched successfully with money in the bank, a great new website, and solid plans for upcoming projects. It was my first day as "operations director" at New Think Tank.
On Friday, June 1, I also learned that I had been offered the "other possibility" I've been mentioning for the last few weeks -- the job working with scientists, humanities/social sciences people, and policy makers to find ways of better understanding and working to overcome obstacles to science-based public policy on things like energy and the environment.
This job is, as Comradde Physioproffe eloquently put it in comments the other day, a "fucken awesome" opportunity. I'd be a fool not to take it, even though as operations director at New Think Tank I'd be making slightly more money. Such opportunities don't often come twice nor do the compunding of circumstances that 1) made the job available at exactly the right time and 2) made me exactly the right person for it.
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Yetserday, I accepted the offer. I will start in mid July.
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But it is also not without some regret that I find myself leaving New Think Tank just as it's getting off the ground. Getting a new nonprofit incorporated, organized, and fully operational in the course of a mere three weeks is no small task. It took an impressive amount of effort on the part of everybody involved, and it would not have been possible at all had not Think Tank Boss, hereafter New Think Tank President, already been contemplating a break with Think Tank. This break, however, we had not anticipated happening, if it happened at all, until 2013.
Moreover, while New Think Tank is still ideologically committed to free-market answers to social and economic problems, part of its mission is to participate in public policy debates in a more rational, informed manner than Think Tank did. Unlike policy people at other similarly aligned organizations, the New Think Tank staff who will remain after I leave are much more interested -- and I say this knowing it firsthand -- in actually solving the problems and working with others to do so than in winning political battles.
And that is something. Something different and potentially very important. If New Think Tank President plays hir cards right -- and there's every reason to think ze will -- New Think Tank has the potential to fundementally change the conversation between Right and Left, much the way Grover Norquist did years ago but in the opposite direction, towards dialogue and collaboration rather than polarization and stalemate. And. That. Really. Is. SOMETHING.
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So, despite our differences in politics, it isn't without regret that I part ways with a quirky, creative, and resourceful bunch of people with whom I have enjoyed working and for whom I predict Great Things in the years to come ...
But I also realize that the longer I continue working for a "free-market" organization, no matter how promising its future nor what my role within it, the harder it will become to ever work someplace with a different ideolgical bent. Likewise, the longer I stay in an administrative position -- albeit now a higher level and better-paying one -- the harder it will be to move on to doing other kinds of work.
Both of these things have become eminently clear to me over the last few months, and now the stars have aligned in a way that could not be more perfect. It is, therefore, time for me to go.
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And, after all, too, it is what any good pirate worth hir salt would do ...
|Ching Shih, a 19th century Chinese female pirate captain, commanded 1800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates.|