27 and a PhD

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Looking back at the first weeks at work

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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Konichiwa bitchez, to borrow my new favourite phrase. How are you doing? I’ve been busy and doing tons of new things at work, trying to find my place within a new organization and trying to keep up. Though lately it’s been very quiet, so I’m hoping to have some time on some of the instruments in the lab that I’m not familiar with and see what they’re all about.

Work is good, I can honestly say that almost two months in I’m feeling happy I made the move (except for the fact that honey and 27andaphd-kitty aren’t with me). I try to spend most of my day thinking and focusing on work, because I may burst in tears if I think too much about missing hon and kitty. I know sacrifices have to be made to move forward, but it sucks not to have your best friend by your side at home (well, the apartment, home is still Canada for me), or in school.

I’ve been trying to keep busy by signing up for discussion groups, training sessions, etc. I’ve been trying to do the same with my life outside the lab. I’ve gone to a couple of small, but very interesting events, like a film festival (featuring robots!!!), getting to know the city and my surroundings, getting used to taking public transportation and living on a whole lot less.

In a strange way I feel happy (well, except for when we have staff meetings, which are long, and boring, and sometimes tense, but heck, something had to give right?). I’m getting used to talking to vendors, asking technicians how things work, and helping users. It gets crazy at times, especially when someone new comes in and they want all your time and attention, yet you have to answer the phone, and remember to send the chemical inventory to the main office, oh and sign up people for an instrument because the scheduler is down and you’re one of the ones who has behind-the-scenes access to things.

Things feel rewarding and I hope I go up from here. I still have to learn to get out of my shell in the lab and ask my (extremely nice) co-workers to show me equipment they know, especially all the bugs and ways to work around. The only person that worries me a bit is my boss, and that’s because there may be some micro-managing issues that may not go as well with me. My guess is that I have to learn to tame that lion, much like I did in school back when I was a student.

I like the city and sometimes I pinch myself thinking that I’m a short ride away from several awesome places. Food is good, I’ve made friends, and I found an apartment (with a roommate, let’s hope I survive, I’m extremely picky but she seems nice). Now my next big hurdle is saving $$$ to move my things from Canada to here. We’ll see when that happens.

Another cool thing is that social media is super awesome, so I’ve been able to meet with tweeps I’d known for some time, or just met. All of them, in one way or the other have been instrumental in helping to adapt to a new environment, from extending an invitation to dinner, to opening their houses (or balconies) for a beer and a BBQ during a holiday weekend. I’m humbled by people’s kindness and concern for my well-being.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know this update is kinda lame, but I’m taking one day at a time, and enjoying and learning as much as I can, hence my absence from the blogosphere.

One last (but not least) note is that I’ll be guest blogging over at 1DegreeBio. My second entry is up, where I discuss my experience losing a good friend while in grad school and overcoming her death. I hope to write some more on my experience looking for work, what I did, what I didn’t do and other tidbits of life on the fringes of academia.

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2 Comments

  1. Pharm Sci Grad says:

    Glad to hear things are going well. Sometimes it may feel strange not to have anything much to say on here, but I for one am glad things are so busy and reasonable that there’s not much to complain about! Cheers! ~PSG

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Pharm Sci Grad! I’m happy I’m not complaining as much as I was before. It’s been a welcomed change, one that has challenged my heart many times (due to distance and family problems), but also rewarding. Thanks for reading!

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