27 and a PhD

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I’m employed, the present (Act 1)

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.

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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 โ€œwell, 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.โ€

To be continued ….

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11 Comments

  1. So happy for you! Good luck!:)

  2. Tread lightly woman, you invoketh the name of a Legend (read me). Just kidding. I’m really happy for you and wish you nothing but success because you deserve it!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      ahahaha, thanks GRM … you’ve been too awesome during the whole process. Thanks for everything, from the ad, to the encouragement, to checking in to the good wished. I’m very, very glad to know you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. congratulations!! All the good wishes!!

  4. Sometimes it is destiny. My husband considered applying for a job, but thought he wouldn’t get his resume together before the deadline (5 days later). I told him to throw together what he could, and the worst that could happen is a rejection letter. That’s the job he’s at today, and he still loves it. Even the bad days there are better than many of the good days at his old job.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that things work out just as well for you.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I believe you’re right. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and tweeting throught all of this. I’m so happy your husband got the chance, even after the deadline. It was meant to be ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. […] I’m employed, the process and the wait (Act 2) Posted on July 4, 2011 by Dr. 27 This is Act 2, recounting how I got my new job. Act uno is here. […]

  6. […] 1 is here and part two is […]

  7. […] about my experience 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 […]

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