To Be Known Well, Or To Be Well Known?

Professionally speaking, I'm struggling to figure out which is more important: to be known well, or to be well known. I'm not sure it's possible to do both well.

In other words, is it worth it to pursue some sort of prominent role in the national dialogue like I had when I worked at MIT? Sometimes I miss that. But it would require hitting the speaking circuit again, attending a bunch of conferences and other networking events, and more engagement in online forums. Oberlin would get recognition by association, I suppose, but at what cost? I'd have to focus less on Oberlin itself, and that's what I came here to do.

But simply focusing on Oberlin and letting the aggressive study of evolving national issues take a backseat leaves a big hole.

Ugh. No easy answer to this.

Responses To This Entry:

I read this and instantly thought of a pair of binoculars as an apt metaphor. Look in them one way, and you're close enough to something that you're (almost uncomfortably) in it, the other way puts you at such a distance that you could only call yourself a far-away observer. What a silly little toy, binoculars.

Either way, I believe that there is a way to have you converse with Oberlin, and Oberlin converse with you, and have that voice be a part of a more national conversation as well, but I'm just not sure how that would look or work.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on May 12, 2011 4:56 PM

I do believe one can do both: "to be known well, or to be well known." Your ability to re-image Oberlin can directly impact the voice you have in/on the national stage. You sit in a role where you have the ability to speak and speak strongly on the ideas currently in the field and the ideas which you wish to put out in the field. To be known well at Oberlin means to impact the fabric of the University for the better, to take its idea and message to a new level of national and international understanding. By doing so you will be known well to those at the University and you will become well known outside of the University. The fact that you can ponder on this idea means your ability to impact and shape is greater than others.

Posted by: Densil on May 16, 2011 3:26 PM