Consistency, or a lack thereof

For the past month or so, I have had very little stability as I have been in a state of flux and unknowing. Will I get the job I interviewed for and finally get to officially settle down and start a permanent life? Finally live together with the Grackle and all of our little fur faces and have a consistent life instead of the temporary one I’ve been in for most, if not all of my adult life?

Well, although I don’t have official confirmation, I am 98% sure that isn’t happening. It has been pretty difficult to deal with and pretty depressing. All of my 1 out of 200 rejections are accepted almost as a given but to be 1 out of 5 and get rejected after they meet me, hear about my research and enjoy my sparking personality (to say nothing of my cute shoes) is getting me down about my prospects in academia altogether*

In addition to the soul crushing job market, the snowstorms in my area and a faulty transmission in Grackle’s car have conspired to keep us apart for most of February. I was able to get home this weekend for the first time since Feb 3rd…. but am leaving for field-work on Friday so it will be at least 6 weeks till we see each other again. The whole point of taking a geographically close postdoc was so that we didn’t have to go 3 months without seeing each other!

Given all this, it doesn’t really seem like anything is consistent these days. Who knows what I will be working on come next year, where I might be in 18 months, if I will ever get a job, etc etc. But then as I contemplated just how much of a pity party my writing about continuity really was turning out to be, I thought about what it was we did this weekend.

We sat around our house and were completely boring. We watched sports and worked and played backgammon. The most exciting part of the trip was a visit to the antique mall where we found a three-faced dog planter (see below). Despite the snooze factor, the weekend was exactly like most weekends and has shown just how much consistency/continuity there can be in the mundane aspects of everyday life. This is actually quite comforting. The pets will always provide entertainment, Grackle will always do something sweet** and we will never get as much cleaning done as we plan.

This perspective is helping me accept the results of this years job search and remember that nothing is really so bad. It is fine I didn’t get what I thought was the perfect job and it is fine that weather and work and cars all seem to be working against me. The fundamental aspects of my life remain consistent and that is more than enough.

*I know that on my first year on the market that I am very lucky to have even gotten an interview and am grateful for the experience. Also know that search committees make decisions for all sorts of reasons and it shouldn’t be taken personally. Rejection still stinks, though.

**While out for dog food, he bought me an office chair so we can both sit comfortably while working/watching tv.


My new minion

I have a new undergraduate to help keep me busy in these dark days of waiting. She has worked 3 days this week so far and I am beyond impressed. My previous student was awful. Didn't even know how to set up an Excel spreadsheet. I had to sit next to her every minute in the lab to keep her on task. She was uninterested, unengaged and I'm not sure why she was there. New student (I'll think of a name soon) picks up quick on data analysis, cares about what it is we are doing and wants to go to grad school someday. I could see her taking a major part of a project, doing the analysis and making it into a longer term project than just one semester.
After holding the last students hand through everything she did, I took a new approach with this student. We started small and she completed a small project in one day. Previous student would've taken 1.5 weeks! Now I am throwing things at her just to see how much she can handle. She is mastering everything well so far and I think we will actually be able to trust her to generate important data.
Now I just hope she doesn't get bored with the analysis and decide to leave!


perfect timing!

Of course, I returned to the blog just in time to travel with no internet and unbloggable activities. Until I know more, I'll say that my interview is over. Also, wow. And finally, holy shit!

Now I get to return to regular lab life and trying to keep myself busier than ever to get my mind off of the waiting game. If you click through, you might have noticed that none of my goals or tasks in the list on the right have changed. That is because none of them have actually been completed. Still. So it is time to do something about that.
In addition to the personal motivation, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (the postdoc advisor) has declared the next 6 weeks the time for "Manuscripts, manuscripts, manuscripts!!!" Even the grad students are all chirping away with this new mantra. Hopefully this will be productive and distracting enough to keep little ol' anxiety-ridden me in a sane state of mind...


Another try

I've been a busy little beaver but really miss blogging. So let's do this, blog! Here is a quick run down on my last 6 weeks...
  • Thanksgiving was nice with Grackle and the pets but tinged with sadness due to good friends husband passing away that morning.
  • After the wake the following week, I cut my thumb very badly and ended up in the ER. It wasn't too serious but a real annoyance. Most lab work requires two working thumbs. Plus, I couldn't get it wet for 2 weeks so washing my hair and doing dishes were real adventures.
  • Went to the midwest for the holidays. Always nice to see family and friends. We were relaxed and happy because I had just found out that....
  • I got an interview for a tenure track position. It is coming up soon and seems too good to be true. I'd really love this position.
  • Been busy at work! I now have multiple major grants pending for more money than I can imagine. That jump from small student grants to big grants just happens- like magic- and I know funding rates and resubmissions and everything but just having it out there seems like a good accomplishment in itself.
  • I started running again with a goal of 100 miles by April 1. I'm at 16.3 so far.

Ok! All caught up! Back to regularly scheduled blogging!