Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous

Marc Petit-Huguenin <marc@petit-huguenin.org> Thu, 15 April 2021 13:00 UTC

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To: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>, John Levine <johnl@taugh.com>, ietf@ietf.org
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From: Marc Petit-Huguenin <marc@petit-huguenin.org>
Subject: Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous
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Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:59:35 -0700
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On 4/14/21 5:46 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> On 15-Apr-21 11:37, Marc Petit-Huguenin wrote:
>> On 4/14/21 4:17 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>>> On 15-Apr-21 10:23, Marc Petit-Huguenin wrote:
>>> ...
>>>> But I am thinking that the key could be a mentorship that would extend beyond a meeting week.
>>>
>>> That was always the theory. I acted as a mentor several times under the original version of the mentoring scheme, and did follow-up mails (phone calls were never practical). But my success rate with the follow-ups was approximately zero. Successful mentoring is not easy outside a more traditional work environment with frequent personal contact.
>>>
>>
>> So no nothing in the plus column.  But did any of the mentorees complained that they felt mistreated by the IETF?  Even if they cannot be added to the plus column, I expect that they cannot either be added on the minus column.
> 
> Good point. Yes, I think they all gave me the impression that they were glad of the mentoring, found it useful as first-time attendees, and didn't find that they were unwelcome. But they didn't find the IETF to be a "must do" for the future.

That's also, I think, an important point.  Staying at the IETF, i.e. taking on new work beyond the initial reason someone joined, is quite difficult.  The life cycle of an RFC nearly always spanned different employers for me, which means that I had to finish the work without a sponsor.  Worse, Internet interoperability is rarely deemed critical by employers, and so is the first budget that get cut-off -- and again forcing to choose between abandoning the work done or continuing without sponsor.

Maybe part of the money spent on diversity could be redirected in trying to give IETF members more options to continue working for the IETF beyond an initial need:  E.g., convince companies and other organizations that it is in their interest to help long-term contributors stay at the IETF.  Then maybe the effort to recruit would not be wasted.  A good example is students from universities:  As far as I remember there always was a constant stream of students coming to the IETF to do work, and that's a good thing.  But most of them disappear when they got a first job, mostly because the pressure of a first job is incompatible with participating in an organization like the IETF.  After all these years, it is nearly impossible for me to convince a new employer to reserve some of my time for the IETF, so there is no chance someone could get that in a first job.  How can we change that?

-- 
Marc Petit-Huguenin
Email: marc@petit-huguenin.org
Blog: https://marc.petit-huguenin.org
Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/petithug