27 and a PhD

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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.


June 2013
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This week has been hell. My experiments and those that I was in charge of, and the time that some people had booked in the instruments at my core went to shit. It all went to shit. We had some major breakdowns and interruptions throughout the week and I’ve had to place 3 calls for the service engineers in charge of all of our instruments to come and help me figure out how to unfuck everything that manage to get fucked up during this week. And I’m fighting back the tears and frustration because there is so much work to do and so many things I had planned, and it all went to shit. I’m afraid that the students and postdocs that depend on the instrumentation will get fed up with my constant updates and cancellations due to so much stuff breaking down at the same time. I feel guilty for having to cut people’s vacation time short to get this shit fixed and settled, and I’m afraid this will reflect bad on me. Sure, things break down … but I’d been doing the numbers for the last 6 months and during my time here, a lot of shit has broken. Some of it is due to normal wear and tear … but it happened under my watch. I even had to call my boss to see if he could lend a hand and not even him could figure out how to unfuck things. I’m just so frustrated (it could also be the PMS speaking, I hate that shit). But I’m very pissed and sad … I like my job, I just don’t like when everything breaks at the same time and people have to wait (or worse, take their samples elsewhere) for instruments to be back and data collection to resume.

Aaaaargh … this is something I was definitely NOT looking forward as a lab manager.



  1. Chen Guttman says:

    Hi lab Manager
    First of all, breath…things like this happen all the time especially if the equipment is relatively old. The difference between a prosfessional to a novice is the way they handle crisis such as this so I hope that you managed it in a relatively cool and professional manner without bursts of curses like in this post. not that it is not human to curse, sure it is, yet as a lab manager ppl look up to you for leadership and answers.
    By the sounds of things it seems you didn’t had any choice so really, take it easy. I am sure ppl understand that device malfunction, it happens all the time in our own lab. We can’t do more than to fix it and prepare a backup plan, if possible.
    Smile – this is a good trial you’ve gone through and it will surely make you more professional and experienced.
    Take care

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Chen. Indeed, it’s good to get it out of my system and I guess this was the only way I could see it coming out, rather than storming out of the lab and throwing a fit in a hall. At work I try to keep it as professional as possible, not talking about other people, not criticizing PI’s, or their people or projects. I guess I got fed up of having to call the service engineers and have them come all the way and try to fix stuff. Mostly the wait is what bothers me, and from the looks of it, I’ll be waiting for a little longer. In the meantime I have a few small projects to keep me busy in the lab, and ensure that other stuff is maintained and works.

      Thanks for your kind words and advice. It’s good all this happened on a Friday and I had the weekend to free myself of some of the stress and anxiety. Today is a new day 🙂

  2. Chen Guttman says:

    Oh and one more thing – it’s good you can blog it out of your system .many ppl just font have even that .

  3. […] there is of course a strong emphasis on the problems related to such a career, whether it’s experiments going to hell, toxic mentors, the leaky pipeline, gender issues, being a #scimom and the overwhelming feeling […]

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