Wednesday, August 31, 2016

first guest post!

Earlier this week I was thrilled to be able to write a guest post for the Portrait of a Scientist as a Young Woman blog, of which I have been a huge fan for several years.

My first day at New Job is tomorrow.  I expect it to be slow-going, as my project focus has changed drastically since I interviewed.  In the midst of relief that I hadn't spent all summer becoming an expert in my earlier project (procrastination, for the win!), I am beginning to feel the true weight of entering into the unique position of post doc, a.k.a, Expert Novice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

on taking "time off"

Free time is a strange thing.

When I arranged the time interval graduation and beginning my postdoc, I was advised by several reputable and wide-ranging sources to take 2-3 months off if at all possible. It was, so I did.

I approached this time with dread, fearing that in three months away from the bench I would lose pipetting and critical thinking skills alike. That I would swiftly facilitate moving to New Job City and spend two months traveling but mostly bored out of my mind. That is not even remotely what happened.

It took two beastly months to move to New Job City, during which I also became H.K.'s interim administrative assistant as he generously moved his expanding Company to said city. When the dust began to settle, I worked furiously for weeks to transfer medical referrals and authorizations so that I would not miss my next treatment. A nightmare, which culminated yesterday in the most sketch and traumatizing infusion I have ever experienced [in 7 years, y'all].

The "to-read" tower beside my bed has been marginally reduced. Our new domicile now feels like a Home. I have taken up and played a substantial amount of Hearthstone. I've indulged in some delicious wine. Last week, our typical world travel logistics reversed as I followed H.K. to Europe for one of his conventions.

It's been time well-spent, and now that I have one week left before New Job begins, I am feeling a bit of panic. Because contrary to my early anticipation, I am not sure that I'm ready for it to be over. I'm mildly afraid to return to the bench, because although these last three months have been productive, I wanted to do so much more. And concern lingers that I may have forgotten how to pipet or design experiments.

Then, of course, there is the existential deliberation over whether the ability to refrain from reading literature for three months -- excepting the occasional abstract (which shocks me to my core, btw) -- means that I am not a serious scientist.


Through all of this, the Crohn's baby has been restless. Unleashing a roller coaster tantrum the likes of which I have not experienced in years. Although I have semi-successfully transitioned to a New Job City Gastroenterologist, and been "controlling" symptoms with diet, over-the-counter and donation-accepting remedies... let's just say I spent plenty of Euros visiting Europe's public toiletten/s.