This is based on something I jotted down in a late night email to a former Ph.D. student from USC, who just has landed a faculty position, and will start as an Assistant Professor this fall.
The main epiphany I had early on about life as a faculty member is that you have three main functions as a researcher:
1. do good work and publish
2. raise money
3. network and collaborate
Doing good work and publishing it in respectable venues is, of course, the main thing.
But these three all feed inextricably, recursively, into each other:
- To do good work you need to raise funds to support students, and it helps to network and collaborate with others.
- To raise funding, you must do good work, and it helps to network and to collaborate.
- To network and collaborate, you must do good work, but also need funding to travel.
It's interesting to note that excellence in communication is crucial to all these functions.