27 and a PhD

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Daily Archives: June 28, 2011

I’m employed, the present (Act 1)

It’s no secret that I’ve been looking for work, and throughout the last couple of weeks I’ve mentioned bits (or tons) regarding a certain position in a cool new city. I’m happy to report that it is now official. I have a job. Though I’ve been carrying a letter bearing my name, a certain 5-digit figure and info regarding this position … it simply didn’t feel real until I had my papers signed and an ID with my name and picture on it. I have a job, it’s a real job, not another training position. It’s loosely academic, in the sense that I will work with a sort of core lab, serving various users. People at this place expect a couple of years worth of commitment. I’ll have an annual evaluation, a retirement account, health coverage, personal days off and some vacation time (not as much as I’d like, but it’s negotiable). I’m very happy career-wise. This position closely aligns with my grad school training and career interests. As far as I can tell, my labmates are very nice people, and I’m part of a small group, which increases in size upon meeting with collaborators and other interested parties. Small groups are my thing. I’m happy because I’ll be working again with Linux (yeepee!!!!) and with some kick-ass instrumentation. The group goes to a national/society meeting every year (or so I’ve been told), and there’s a possibility that I’ll be part of some search committees in the future. I have a BOSS and I also have a more immediate boss, whom I’ve been in constant communication since before the offer was made. This person has a similar background to mine (with, of course, a shit ton of experience), and seems to be easy to work with (at least judging by our emails). I met all my labmates during my interview, and I instantly liked them. We’ll see if this holds true after a few weeks/months. I hope I can make it work.

On to the details on how this position came about. As far back as October and November of last year I was very pissed off and tired of the situation in my postdoc lab. I had the relentless comments from my dear gossipy labmate going on for a weeks (at that time they were only directed at me, and a student that was finishing, but later it involved every single member of the lab). I was tired, I wanted out. It appeared as if my postdoc boss was uninterested in my work (or that’s how it felt), and had me going on and on with some experiments which I was convinced wouldn’t work (but hey, I had to test that to back it up, right?). I started looking for positions back then, though I had no clue of where I’d end up, or if I’d be in science at all. I contacted a prof at my college Alma mater, and got an interview pretty quickly, but the prof offering the position to somebody else. I felt terrible, and judging by this prof’s language in the emails (prior to my interview), it seemed as if he was just waiting for me to say yes (suuuure, right?!). I didn’t want to look any further. I felt defeated. I’d been so psyched imagining a way out of the lab (sooner rather than later) being close to my family, etc, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time, I still had lessons (and workshops) to learn/attend. Now I’m glad it didn’t happen. Most of the work involved cell culture, which I didn’t feel like learning (I’m a bad biology major, OK?, what can I say), and would have used very little of my manual/technical training (something that was also a problem in my postdoc lab).

One night I was particularly pissed (though hon might have a different opinion on the exact length of time) and I had a conversation with Genomic Repairman. We talked about my previous experience, ideal geographical location (one of the coasts) and other details. I’d seen an ad for a position at new job city, but it seemed like too big of a risk to even attempt it. But after talking to GRM, and re-reading the ad, I thought “well, maybe this is destiny telling me to give it a shot, worse comes to worse I don’t ever hear back from them and that’s it.”

To be continued ….