I'm not big on personal posts in this blog (other than the occasional rant ... which probably says something about my personality). Today I'll make an exception. I've retired from Michigan State University after 33 years on the faculty, in the Department of Management (and 39 years on campus -- I did my graduate work here, in mathematics and statistics).
Yesterday was my first official day of retirement. (I say "official" because college faculty begin the retirement process the day after we get tenure and accelerate it the day after we make full professor.) When I went online, I discovered that my OR "peeps" had created a blog to commemorate my newfound freedom. I've commented on every post there, but I want to use this space to thank collectively all the folks who took the time (and, in some cases, considerable research effort) to write entries. Special thanks to Mary Leszczynski for organizing it, and apologies to anyone who is still working out the kinks after having their arm twisted by Bjarni. (The blog you're reading came to be because Bjarni twisted my arm at an INFORMS meeting until I caved -- and that was after I'd had roughly 15 years of martial arts practice!) Poring over the blog was a real treat for me.
I'm a bit of an outlier in the OR community (probably in many ways, but I'll cop to this one). Coming out of my doctoral program, which was in "pure" math and not OR, I was hired into a management science position in our business school. Counting me, we had three MS faculty, and one of those was a statistician. In the years that followed, as I was getting my footing in MS/OR (largely self-taught), the statistician retired, the other MS professor migrated to supply chain management, we killed off our MS and OR degree programs, and ultimately we killed off most of our quant methods classes. So I became an increasingly vestigial organ, and my contact with OR was through journals, INFORMS meetings, and to a large degree through sci.op-research (now tottering on its last legs) and the various web-based forums that followed it. The name of this blog stems from the fact that, for about a decade or so, my department has consisted of organizational behavior (OB) and strategy faculty, and me. Toward the end I was teaching introductory org behavior classes, which was the universe's version of a flashing neon sign pointing toward the exit.
I've met several of the people who posted to my retirement blog face-to-face on multiple occasions, always at an INFORMS meeting (or a video chat). I've met a few once (at INFORMS), and there are a few that I've yet to have the pleasure of meeting. The common denominator is that I've "met" them all online, either in a Q&A forum such as OR-Exchange, from my commenting on their blogs, on Twitter, or some combination of the above. (I've made numerous circle connections on Google+, but to date I haven't had the time to do much with it. Perhaps that will change now.) Believe it or not, I also have one coauthor on a journal article whom I've never met. It started with my answering his question on sci.op-research, with some email follow-ups, and spun into a publication.
So thanks to all of you who've interacted with me online, and who I hope will continue to interact with me online. Retirement from my day job does not imply retirement from OR. I'll continue the occasional mathematical snark hunt, at my own pace. Without a university to pick up the tab, I suppose I'll have to get a newspaper route to pay for at least one INFORMS conference per year. One way or another, I'll be around. To quote those great philosophers The Monkees, "... [I] don't have time to get restless, there's always something new ... Any time, or anywhere, just look over your [virtual] shoulder, guess who'll be standing there ..." (lyrics, sample)
I'll get back to serious business (?) with the next post.