27 and a PhD

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And the final answer is ….

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


May 2011
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Greetings readers, old and new and tweeps. I know I’ve neglected writing and this blog for a while. I haven’t had enough energy to post, and given the stuff that’s gone down I really don’t have the energy or mental state to write anything. I promised a friend that I’d post his question and have failed to do it. I feel terrible, and I hope to remedy it soon, as I think he’d benefit from your wisdom.

As regular readers and tweeps alike know, I’ve been looking for a job for a while now. It is no secret that I realized, at some point, that my choice for a postdoc (or more directly, to do a postdoc) was not what I thought it would be and that I needed to get out ASAP. Both for my mental sanity and so that my boss could look for the ideal postdoc to complement his lab, and not drag it down, like I’ve been doing.

I’d been postponing talking to the boss about renewing my contract, seeing as my job search was still underway. But I could’t postpone it any longer. The search has resulted in (almost all) failed offers. I had an offer for another postdoc, which I declined as it wasn’t what I wanted and it would have required a very major move for hon and moi. Later I found out the lab was less than ideal.

I’d talked to a couple of tweeps, and IRL friends and family about what to do … and this week I went to talk to my PI about extending my stay for a couple of months. We had one of the most honest and open conversations (we were talking for 2 hours non-stop, and had several people come and go while we discussed things). It was amazing … but still it couldn’t make up for the fact that a) the lab is not my cup of tea, and b) boss is really not up to renewing my contract. Boss said that he tought I’d have a new job by now, and since he knows the lab is not my cup of tea, there’s no reason to extend my stay beyong my contract. I failed to mention to the boss that I’d only need to stay a couple of months while I continued searching … but decided not to pursue this, as his decision was made.

Long story short, I’m out of work by mid-June and nothing is concrete on the new job front. That’s part of the reason I’ve been silent here, and have not shared any news of updates. There haven’t been any. No other interviews are lined up, although I keep applying to as many jobs as I possibly can everyday, in the hopes that something will stick … preferably where I don’t need the boss’s letter of recommendation, or in the States, where I don’t need to worry about a job permit and those things.

That’s it. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and job searching and trying not to think too much about what this means. In a way I feel a bit of relief. I know I have an end date. But I also feel a bit despair, as I need to pay my bills and I have no cushion or emergency fund to help me after my last check. This means that I will also lose provincial healthcare, which means that I’m hoping I don’t get sick and need serious treatment.

Those are the latest news. Please, don’t worry. I’m sure something will come up …. and I am not hoping (or wanting) condolences or sorrys or pats on the shoulder. I will be fine …. eventually. I knew this was a real possibility, had done some mental preparation for this moment. I don’t think I’m in denial and now that it’s here I am working on processing things and enjoying the little time I have left with my lab peeps. I’ll start packing up soon.

Thanks for your tips and insight during the job search and everything. I really appreciate it.

And to celebrate, I just spent 70$ on clothes and food I can’t afford. Hooray!


  1. Jade says:

    I’ve been in a very similar situation before. Is it possible to collect unemployment for a few months while you continue to search?

    Where in the states would you want to look for a job? Any particular city or state?

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I don’t know about unemployment. I’d have to find out. I do know that for some things you should pay (beforehand), like employment insurance and such, in order to collect benefits. I don’t know whether I qualify for any benefits, since I’d be basically a tourist once my contract ends.

      As far as location goes, anything on the coasts, east or west, doesn’t matter …. having sunny days and little snow would be appreciated but not uber necessary.

  2. katiesci says:

    Like I said on Twitter awhile back, I think you’ll feel better abou this decision when you’re done and feel the weight of a job you hate off your shoulders. (or at least that’s what I was trying to convey in 140 characters)

    Of course, it will be stressful without having something lined up but I agree, it will work out. Good luck on the job search!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks K! I’m already feeling OK with the boss’s decision and I can’t wait to have everything finalized. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  3. PB says:

    I tried looking through your blog to find out your field. I didn’t, I don’t even know if Hon is a SO or child. I did read about the ugly duckling phase. My only advice is do what you love, don’t follow the money.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Hi PB. Hon is a guy, my boyfriend of almost 6 years. My discipline is biophysics. I’m trying hard to find what it is that gets my inspiration and juices flowing … so far not much luck. But I’m still looking. Thanks for your words of wisdom. They are very welcomed in this situation.

  4. […] Job Hunt ← And the final answer is …. […]

  5. […] got back to Canada, and waited, and waited, and waited. Hon kept saying that I should email the people at new job city. I’d gotten a very generic […]

  6. […] what I’d written exactly a year ago, and found this. My state of mind was all messed up, and I had given up on finding a job. I was just relieved that my postdoc was ending and I’d be out of the lab […]

  7. […] looking for a job between October of 2010 and June of 2011 extensively (see here, here, here, here, and here). Looking for a job during those months was a bitch. I was depressed because of things […]

  8. […] kept all of my communications professional and courteous, no matter how disappointing the results were. I also kept my mind open for part time positions and maybe even a short postdoc […]

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