27 and a PhD

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Monthly Archives: November 2011

I’m thankful

For so many things (in no particular order):

  1. I’m celebrating 5 months at work
  2. For having a job in the field I was trained, and love. And for finally having benefits (hooray retirement, dental and vision!)
  3. And learning my way with certain instruments and equipment at work
  4. And I’m starting to feel somewhat useful
  5. For having hon with me, in the city,  more times than I imagined possible after the move
  6. And his ability to find entertainment on the cheap (babe, you need to make your own website, entertainment on the cheap for poor grad students and staff scientists)
  7. And his love and support, and kindness and sweet messages throughout the day … even when I’m dead tired, it’s a nice things to find little smileys or sweet notes on my phone
  8. For my family and their continued support. For their health and love
  9. For great co-workers who make me smile
  10. For the lack of gossip and criticism from co-workers
  11. For getting more independent on some of the equipment, and hopefully getting the courage to ask the boss for a raise when the time comes
  12. For being able to pay my bills, and have food on my table, even if I can’t afford to go home for Xmas. This whole money ordeal with the family has shown me that sometimes, tough decisions have to be made in order to get out of debt and (hopefully) stay out of debt
  13. For the yummy, cheap deli near work and for the good Chinese place down the street
  14. For having a roof over my head and public transportation
  15. And an insane amount of luck finding parking
  16. For having fantastic Twitter and IRL friends
  17. For having two legs that work and carry my tired body at the end of the day
  18. For the many awesome people I’ve met while in this city, especially some really cool scientists … one of which I’ve admired for almost a decade
  19. For being able to speak my mind at work, to my boss’s face and not feeling bad about it (and hoping that it won’t get me fired). For his honesty and not needing a crystal ball to read his mind
  20. For having a crazy kitty that drives me insane … but it’s a most welcomed company when I get home from work
  21. For networking opportunities and for being able to attend a few cheap (or free) local meetings this year
  22. For leaving my postdoc at the right time, and for everything I learned there
  23. For having Canada be my second home and native land. I miss you and the nicest people on Earth (except the crazies driving around postdoc city, sheesh) …. and Thai Express
  24. For having 2 outlets to blog and share my stories, and especially, for all the warm and supportive comments, emails and tweets
  25. For looking out my window and seeing The City … I sometimes pinch myself because I can’t believe I get to live here

Life …. lately

Oh my dear blog, why have I abandoned you? It’s been crazy busy. Right now hon and I are watching some boxing, enjoying each other’s company, after spending a day in the city. I’m enjoying this thing of having federal holidays off, which feels weird. It hadn’t been like that since undergrad.

I got my reimbursement from the moving expenses along other things, and one of my debts is almost wiped out (phew). But I’m still not out of the woods re:family/money issues. In fact, I won’t be for a long, long time.

I got into a mini screaming match with my boss, something I wouldn’t even imagine doing a few months ago when I was a postdoc. I’ve become a bit cynical at work, mainly because I’ve noticed some unfair treatment from some high up people towards some coworkers. I didn’t agree with two decisions my boss made, and I spoke my mind …. without a filter. I guess it’s contagious, because the boss is like that, filter-less. At least I know the boss appears not to hide his feelings, and if he’s pissed or frustrated, he’s likely to say something (no more guessing games, as with the postdoc PI).

I bought an mp3 player. My old one, which has a really great storage capacity but lousy battery life, was due for a change. I found a decently priced, well-reviewed one. And decided to take the plunge. Listening to music during the morning commute is one of my favourite things. I look forward to getting on the subway in the morning, and at night, and listening to my fave tunes.

I think I’ll bite the bullet and get a semi-expensive (read, over 30$) purse for work. Mine, which is a lovely canvas one I bought during my last vacation, is on its last legs. Luckily, I have some points which are redeemable for gift card to one of my favourite online retailers, so I’m thinking of getting said handbag. I’m excited about it.

And talking about money … crap, Xmas trips are insanely expensive. Since I don’t have any miles I can use, and I refuse to pay 3x more than normal to go home, I’m thinking of taking a small break early next year, instead of this year. I will sure miss them … but I can’t justify spending more than 500$ on a trip home (I know, I just talked about getting a purse and an mp3 player … both purchases will equal less than 100$, one of them technically “free” due to a rewards plan) for less than 10 days. That’s insane.

Kitty is driving me insane. I can’t handle her … I’m glad I’m childless … because I would make a horrible mother. ‘Nuff said.

Work is going well, I think. I’m becoming somewhat proficient on some pieces of equipment, some of which I’d never used. Things are becoming more logical, less cumbersome. It is still a challenge. Summer and fall have been crazy, and we’re near the end of a class, which has been taking a ginormous amount of time.

Work has allowed me to meet with people I’ve admired for many years. I’ve met some of my favourite scientists, geeked out with them and even emailed, in some cases! That’s one of the parts I’m really enjoying about work. I have to give lab meeting in a few weeks. That, I’m definitely not looking forward to.

The lack of consistent tweets and entries has been a result of really busy days at work. At the end of the day I am so tired (hon went to visit me at work a few days ago and saw this first-hand, to which he kindly added that I truly don’t get paid nearly enough for all I do) that I don’t have the stamina, or mental power to interact.

I’m getting ready to spend a pretty penny for the lab, as we have some leftover supplies money to spend. So I’m getting the thrill of shopping, and finding deals, even if it’s for stuff I won’t get to keep and have to share, ha! I kind of enjoy the purchasing part … but only when I have enough time to sit down and do it right.

Sorry for the lack of science, or lab-related entries. I hope the new year will help me in pacing my writing and ideas so I can go back to some of my usual stuff. Even with all the bad things that have happened, and the meh salary, I’m kinda happy at work. I think I’m beginning to enjoy work … and even love science once again.

And a small reminder that, I’ve been guest blogging for a wonderful Canadian company, 1DegreeBio. They have some cool resources for all your antibody purchasing needs. Go check ’em out. And check my entries here!

On not being a student

Even though I’ve been away from school for over 2 years now (it feels like it’s been longer, somehow), I sometimes catch myself thinking and doing things as if I was still in school. Even as a postdoc I did things like a student would do. It’s starting to bother me, especially now that I have a “real” job.

I’ve (mostly) always followed the rules. If a set of rules at school said that I was not supposed to touch something, I wouldn’t do it, for fear of enraging the principal or teachers, but especially because I didn’t want to have my mom and dad on top of me lecturing me about not doing stuff. Or when I was younger, avoiding my dad’s wrath and the ensuing physical punishment. Hence why I’ve never been arrested. But, I have many issues.

Anyways, that behaviour has kept me out of trouble for the most part and has kept me from ruining pieces of equipment or setting the lab on fire (because I’ve forgotten most of my chemistry). When I was in school, I would ask for permission to do everything. That also went on as an undergrad, a grad student, and later, a postdoc. I would ask for permission from the lab tech (and drive her crazy), from the boss (boss, can I run the fancy pants, uber-expensive, piece of awesome science equipment? for the third time woman, YES). I read the student (and grad student) handbook a gazillion times. I read the thesis instructions (for writing and submission) a million others, and I complied with everything, making the thesis-reviewing lady happy. I have a very boring life, always following the rules. I honestly fear upsetting people, and becoming “that” person dreaded by all the office staff.

Now that I’m starting to finally feel like a grown up, I still keep asking for permission, and in the process, drive some of the labmates, and office people a bit nuts. Take for instance this situation: when I was in grad school I’d never even dream of touching the school letterhead fancy paper or envelopes, even though they were there for all to see and take. I’d ask the secretaries and they gladly gave me some sheets and envelopes. Now, at work, I walk into the office and sheepishly ask the secretaries if I can take the fancy envelopes and pens, and they give me this look of “girl, get your act together, you’re a coworker, get them yourself, don’t bother me with such nonsense!”

Again, I want to avoid being trouble and upsetting people, but it seems that my student-like attitude is hurting people’s perception of me, and their willingness to help, more than helping.

I ask you, have you ever felt like this? Were you pretty independent and didn’t have a care about bothering office personnel or coworkers asking permission or did you find some sort of balance between asking and simply doing?