27 and a PhD

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So loooong 2015

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.


January 2016
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2015 was a bad year (I’ll give you time to check out what little blurbs I had time to come up with while finishing the old job and starting the new one). My husband noticed I wasn’t as happy or excited about my job as soon as we got back from winter vacation. I thought it was pure BS. Then my ex boss told me I sucked. And that was all it took for me to go over the edge, emotionally speaking.

I went to EAP (employee assistance program) and got an immediate referral to start therapy and med management. I was able to take a break from the lab and take care of mental health issues. It had been way too long since I’d last seen a therapist and although at the moment I was doing it I felt like it was a lot of BS, turns out lots of things that my therapist (and the group of peeps I joined for group activities) was right. Besides helping jump start my emotional well-being, doing intense therapy, specially with the group taught me empathy … we rarely know the extent of the troubles and issues others have. Even when they smile, they may be experiencing hell inside. Had I not gone through this, I wouldn’t have learned to be a bit more compassionate towards others, and yes, to myself.

Once my emotional health was on its way up, I was able to articulate to my departmental head that in order for me to be an effective manager, I needed to have controlling-asshole boss as far away from me as possible. I spoke with confidence and showed the pattern of emotional manipulation this person was doing and said that things had to change for the good of the lab. Thankfully, the boss listened and he was able to spin things so as to let this person know that since there was going to be a big change above all their heads, I would report directly to the dept boss, instead of the controlling-asshole person. I think it worked well and I was able to spend a few months of bliss with little to no interaction with problem PI.

Then the hubster got a job offer, and my world spun again in a crazy direction. I realized that if the Mr was gone, I wouldn’t really have any ties to the city I was in. And having had a hell of a year up until that point, I decided to apply to jobs in the same area and within a 2hr radius around his area.

The cool thing about having managerial experience is that I got more call backs than ever before. I got calls (and interview offers) from both academy and industry and I ended up going to two of them. One was for a global-type applications position in my area of expertise and the other one is my current position. I wasn’t too excited about the location, even though it was geographically advantageous, but I interviewed any way. Having the 3 years I spent in hell fresh in my mind, I asked as many questions as I could about the management above me, who I’d be reporting to and whether there were layers of people involved. Turns out there are two layers, but only one is in charge of evaluating me. We get along well and for now I feel happy and accomplished. It’s weird to feel happy in a lab. It seems like a foreign concept to me. We’ll see how things progress, but for now, this place makes me feel appreciated.

I don’t have any major resolutions for 2016 other than taking a well deserved vacation somewhere nice (but not too pricey) and master a technique that’s done in the lab I work closely with. I’ve gotten some training, but I need a bit more hands on experience before I’m able to troubleshoot confidently.

I wish you and yours a great 2016! Hopefully you’ll see a bit more of me here and on Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Dr Carotz says:

    So glad you updated your fans online 🙂 wishing you best of life as always! Happy New Year!

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