Last night, a friend of mine celebrated her farewell from Imperial. While I've only been around for a year and a bit, I've known her for longer. She was working in the same institute in Grenoble that I joined early in 2005. Half a year later, she moved to London, but we stayed in contact. When the opportunity opened for me to go to London as well, she was instrumental in alleviating my fears about living in the big city and the financial sacrifices I thought I'd have to make. But what I valued her most for were the long chats about possible lives outside of science and the conspiratory coffees we've had together, exploring alternative careers paths to pursue.
I appreciate her for finally following through. She has always been a bit geeky and was my primary and most reliable source of advice when I switched from PC to Mac. From December she'll be working for a hedge fund (Who'd have thought that those still exist?), doing tech support and system administration. She's very excited about the challenge, and I'm happy for her. I'm also curious to see how it's going to work out for her. I imagine that the financial services industry provides an environment much different from academic science, though I have no idea what it might be like. Good thing my friend stays in London. We might have to keep our tradition of occasional coffees so I can pick her brain to help with my decisions about the future.