Monday, June 15, 2015

My moment of clarity

I was officially handed my walking papers and I'm more than a little relieved. A little freaked out because they gave me 2 weeks notice and I need to coordinate insurance, but still relieved at knowing that I will be turning a new page at the end of the month. Happy to leave this place and certain people here. Happy I won't have my hellish commute every day. Happy that I will get money for my unused vacation time.

That's not to say I'm not pissed that no one was upfront with me - I'd just rather focus on the positives. Yes, I'm terrified about my somewhat uncertain future. Yes, money will be tight. Yes, I will probably go on unemployment while I look for a job.

But the biggest thing I noticed is that I was how much fun I had with my kids. I didn't just go through the motions, I had deep, belly-laughs as we played tickle monster. Squealed as they hit me with squirt guns before I unloaded the hose on them. Had teachable moments about cancer, responsibilities, and how to react to setbacks in life.

I didn't realize what I had been missing lately....

Yes I'm back, and that has meaning in so many ways. I like it.

Watch out world - I'm back and excited and ready to take the world by storm.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


It's been way to long but I am back and promise to post more. I apologize for leaving, but the last year has been rough and I needed a different outlet to cope. I am finally ready to share some of what happened, hopefully so others can learn from some of the mistakes I made.

Sadly, not much has changed in the past year and half since I last posted (I can't believe it's been THAT long, smh...). I still work at the same place for the same person, although there is less open hostility towards me. Which I suppose is a nice change. Where I work feels like an academic sinking ship with people leaving in droves with no signs of hiring replacements. I think I'm stuck in a horrible game of career survivor, only now I'm the only castaway left, living with the rats and trying to steer a coarse towards safety.

Professionally, I am in a state of limbo. I am grant funded for less than one month, but no one will tell me what will happen next. Will they rehire me? Give me a title other than postdoc so I can apply to grants? Will I have a salary?New supervisor? These are important questions to me and I am frustrated that no one seems to care enough to explain anything to me. This, and has caused tremendous stress for me and part of my haitus was used to repair the damage that stress inflicted on my family. Thankfully I think (or hope) we've turned a corner and are headed in the right direction.

However, things are looking up. Despite not being allowed to work on any projects in the lab, I will have 6 publications in the last 2.5 years. 3 Reviews, 2 co-authored papers, and a first author research paper that I will resubmit in a month. I also have two academic job offers. Yes, I still prefer an industry position, but these opportunities make sense for me in the short term (the family still needs to eat, no?). One is a Research Assistant Professor and comes with a raise (~15%) and familiarity of the research (PhD research). Unfortunately, it also comes with a cross-country move and a need for my wife to quit her job. She currently makes as much as this new job is offering for me. The second job is a local (no move) Research Associate, pays the same as my current job, and ties directly to my previous postdoc. I love the PI (we've collaborated in the past), but this position is only guaranteed for 1 year, unless miracles exist and grants roll in. The PI fully supports my industrial job search, and will help my local networking efforts.

With that, I am signing off. But I WILL be back to share some of what has happened in the past year.

PS. Please let me know what you think about these job opportunities. Although I've pretty much already decided which opportunity I will pursue, neither is set in stone yet. It would also be nice to see if anyone is listening....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Resume writing

Wow. I never appreciated how hard writing a resume was, until I spent the weekend trying to condense my 9-page academic CV (and I haven't even done that much yet!) to match a job posting I saw....

Some quick comments:
1) Just because I'm applying for this position doesn't' mean that I'll be offered it or that I'd even take it. But hell, I gotta keep my options open

2) Help! I don't know what I'm doing!

3) Guess I'm gonna have to fake it till I make it.

Since I'm covertly working on this during my lunch hour this song seems appropriate...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Should I stay or should I go?

I'm sorry for the lack of posts, but my plate has been rather full and my mind has been spinning in a thousand directions. I'm posting this to help with one of my biggest challenges - deciding if I should jump ship (and thereby also go the route of industry) or stay in it for the long haul.

To be fair, the whole place is a bit screwy. Even though I feel specifically targeted. the whole environment isn't exactly the best right now. My problem is that I love the institution and what it stands for, seem to have my values aligned with the leadership, but the department is stuck in a quagmire at the intermediate level (lab peeps get along just fine, but PIs don't seem to support/encourage each other).

_IF_ I can gain independance it might be better, but I'm still struggling with the concept of starting out here. Can I change the culture? I've already begun to, but I'm afraid it'll be long process unless I either 1) have the support of senior leadership to specifically change the culture or 2) people leave and are replaced by more open-minded folks....

So what say you, or wise and worldly readers? Any thoughts?