27 and a PhD

Home » 2010 » October » 04

Daily Archives: October 4, 2010

This weekend

I barely had a wink of sleep. On Saturday the BF woke me up at 6am because he was not feeling right. After taking a walk (in freezing cold weather) he seemed to be doing better. Then, after lunch we had to go to the ER. He had a series of panic attacks, mainly due to grad school. After checking that everything was well we were sent off with a prescription for a tranquilizer, and an appointment to see a psychiatrist about these anxiety issues.

Since I get VERY protective of the people I love, I went into a mothering mode, and much like my own mom did when I was sick, I spent every second worrying that he’s wake up in the middle of the night with yet another panic attack. Luckily is hasn’t happened again, and he’s been taking the tranquilizer every night, and yesterday we finally had a more or less full night of sleep.

In addition to that I’ve had a series of dreams regarding what to do with this postdoc. On Friday I came to the realization that part of the reason I hate my current job is because I spend way too much time bored. Why you may ask. Well, because I am not good with the techniques I’m using, and I honestly don’t really care for them. I am as far away from doing structural biology as one could get, and it is/was wearing me down. On Thursday we had a long overdue talk. I didn’t mention my current plans of looking for a job elsewhere. And we did address the issue of me getting the heck out in less than 8 months. So, he finally realized that the project I was originally put in requires a grad student with 5 years-worth of time to do and that it would have been better all along to assign a quick project to get me going and  then see how I did. Needless to say he asked me to a)work more, b) give up on that pesky project with I’ve been working half-heartedly on for well over a year and c) we’ll get my hand dirty with structure determination by 2 methods, which are quick to do and generate a boat-load of data. Now, I should be excited about this, but somehow I’m not. It may be because my heart is far gone from this type of work, or because apparently, everything I touch in this lab turns into shit. Hence my hesitation.

But there’s a bigger issue, which I do not know how to solve. Last week I contacted a person I met through a friend back in grad school. Said contact just started his lab and is looking for a postdoc in my previous area of expertise, ie. the technique I loved and did well in grad school. I was inquiring about his need for a postdoc, and he replied, very graciously that my CV and the names of 3 referees would be greatly appreciated. Here’s where things go …. well, I don’t know, iffy. I know that in less than 8 months the BF will be out of school and looking for a job. The state of this new lab is far away from our target area … by almost an entire continent (kidding, but I’m just illustrating my point). I don’t know whether is it worth abandoning everything, if I know I’ll be in need of a job in a different geographical area sooner rather than later. Do I just suck it up and hope I don’t get fired even if things continue to go downhill here? After having lunch with the BF today he seemed So excited about me learning this new struct. bio technique. And if I do learn it well, it will make my resume stellar. But what if I again, fail in this? Do I hope for the best, dust off the failures and try to ace this? I don’t know. I guess, part of me wants to keep on going. And I know that this current situation has an expiration date. Do I venture into the unknown, go deeper in debt to try to get back to my roots?

So, I promised this contact that I’d have my CV and referees ready early this week. I don’t know what to write back. I’d hate to turn down a possible good opportunity, but at the same time, I don’t want to go through all the trouble knowing that in a few months I’ll be off. I do not want to burn bridges. I guess that having all these unknowns means I have to dig deep and really ask myself what do I see or how do I see myself in 3, 5 or 10 years down the road. At this point I am ready to forget all about academia, and try something new. This is solely based on my current postdoc situation. I do not want to do 2,3 or 4 postdocs and then still not have a clue about what I want for my future.

So, these are the things that are currently the subject of countless hours of thought and search, and questions, and lack of sleep.

On a good note, I am going back to the gym today. So hopefully all these things will not affect my tiny drive to take care of my physical health and start losing weight. At this point in my life all I ask is for one small victory, just one.