Monday, February 16, 2009

The First Interview

So, remember that faculty position I talked about lo those few weeks ago? Just when I was starting to despair that it was all coming to naught, I got an email that I was on the short list and if I was still interested they wanted to set up a phone interview.

After I settled down from my happy dance, I promptly replied "Yes yes yes!" And a few hours ago I locked myself in Prince Charming's home office, prayed that the two princesses wouldn't come screaming looking for me, and nervously answered my phone when it rang 10 minutes early.


Despite the fact that I could barely hear them, I have to say the interview went pretty well. At least, I thought so at first. After the initial self congratulatory high, the self-doubt came crashing down on me, and I spent the whole dinner obsessively replaying the entire conversation to Prince Charming. He was clueless; as a salesman, he handles interviews completely differently, and doesn't understand the structure of the academic job search. He was quite frustrated that I didn't ask for details about every other person they were interviewing, to get a better sense of my competition; I explained that I would rather spend the time selling myself. It's like the negative ad campaign; does it really reflect well on you when you win by dissing on your competitors? He still doesn't get it.


Anyway, now that I've gotten some more info about the position I am actually more interested in it then ever; so I hope I get called in. I am already sweating the potential teaching seminar… assuming they have one. And regretting giving away my last Xanax. How many times can you call your PCP and say "I'm anxious about an upcoming flight, can you get me something for that" before they get suspicious?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The weekly lab meeting.



As I have mentioned, my class schedule this semester allows me a better lab schedule. I am hoping to be a lot more productive, and I am quite happy about that, as is my PI (way to state the obvious!) The flip side is that I am also once again available to attend our weekly lab meetings. And that just plain stinks.

I've been in a number of labs, and everyone has their own way of running these meetings. In my current lab, lab meetings are particularly painful. We have one person present their research, we have one person present a journal club, and then we are supposed to be done with it. But every single week our PI says "Well, we have a few extra minutes, so lets just go around the table and update everyone on what they are doing."

Now, he meets with us regularly, he has an open door policy, and he generally know what is going on. So it isn't that he needs to know. He is really just trying to keep us involved in each others work. Since we don't have a lot of time, we will each just say "Well, I ran this gel and saw abc, and I am setting up that experiment." Then our PI will pipe in with specific details to be aware of for that particular experiment. This means that, as supportive as we are of each other, these conversations are basically non-inclusive of anyone else around the table, so we all sit bored waiting for our turn and fidgeting to get out of the room. The worst part is that our PI thinks these are somehow educational and informative and that he is therefore fulfilling his responsibilities to mentor and guide us.

It is quite painful. We all dread lab meetings. And no matter how hard we try, we can't get our PI to stop it. This format actually represents an improvement over the way things were run when I first started. We have tried to tell him how miserable these weekly meetings are, and he has tried to make adjustments, but until he understands that they are not constructive and that we are not bad colleagues if we don't enjoy these 'around the table' summaries, lab meeting will never get better.

I am thinking that perhaps, given my very restricted schedule, lab meetings will be optional. In fact, I haven't put my name back on the rotation yet, and I am not necessarily anxious to do so. That 2 hours can make a difference between me getting an experiment done this week, or having to put it off until next. Does that make me a bad person?



Friday, January 23, 2009

I've got to get me some of that.

Did you see this article from CNN? It lists 20 jobs where people work less then 40 hours a week and get paid more then average.

Biological scientists are right there at #2. Supposedly we work an average of 38.5 hours per week, and make an average of $65,329 per year.

Say what? The people I know who work less then 40 hours per week are definitely in the minority. But what really gets me is that salary. Where can I get that?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Years Resolution.

Yes, I am still here. It has been a crazy few weeks. I really enjoyed my break from teaching, the nice holiday we get at work, and the school vacation. Really, I did have fun being home with my girls for almost two solid weeks, what with the snow days and vacation days and all.

Pre-break I thought, "Ahh, I'll have so much free time. I'll go to the gym regularly. I'll do laundry more often. My house will be clean, my family well fed, it will be domestic bliss."

Yeah, right.

Now the new semester has started. Yippee. Actually my class schedule is a little better this term- it gives me more time in lab. This is a good thing because my one single new years resolution is to get the hell out of my post doc and into a new job.

So I began by updating my cv- making it prettier; and also writing a resume. Resumes suck, by the way. A cv is so easy to write; writing a description of your research is easy; and really all you have to do is list all your publications and then you are done. But a resume is much more devious and complex. The first week back at work I actually sent out that resume for an administrative position, which I really didn't think I was qualified for (um, business experience: none), and I wasn't sure I wanted (stress! Suits!) but I figured I'd never get hired if I didn't try. OK, so I tried and I still didn't get hired... but I will eventually, right?

This week I sent out an application for a faculty position at a smaller school- with primary teaching responsibilities. Yeah, I'd have very little time, space, or money for research... but the position is the sort of job I used to imagine I'd have before I knew better, and if it was just a little bit closer then the one hour commute to my house I'd be very very excited about it. Still, one hour isn't impossible, so we shall see...

Ultimately, I need to get out of my post doc. I am so done. Unfortunately, my research isn't. My papers aren't. So I still drag my feet in every day. I'm giving myself a deadline of June. Next school year, if I'm not hired full time, I'll work as an adjunct wherever I can part time and... go to the gym. Do laundry. Feed my family. Enjoy domestic bliss.

Hmm, where have I heard that before?