19 November 2007

Cranky Monday

I have to admit, I'm cranky today. So I think it's time I 'fess up so I can get all of your sympathy (oh, listen to that shameless plug!). I learned recently that my funding is going to run out at the end of December - surprise! happy holidays! This means moving and it means finding new jobs and it means up-in-the-airness.

Now to be fair, I think it could be a good thing to leave this job. I've had a lot of heartache here: not the romantic kind but the kind where people get badly hurt on the job and the emotional scars are almost as large as the physical ones. And as far as I can tell, things are going to get worse here before they get better. It's long past time for me to move on. But where to? What to? Here comes the existential what-do-I-really-want-to-be-doing-with-my-life angst.

Yep. I love science. I love research. I love field work. I even love data analysis! But I also am tired of being impermanent. I am tired of moving every couple of years, of being the girl who is willing to go out to the most remotest places ever without any contact with anyone she cares about for 5 months, tired of constantly trying to build connections in new communities, tired of feeling like I'm always just fighting to get beyond the bureaucracy to the science. I have a strong CV, I'm single, I'm flexible, something will come up somewhere within time. There is a small part of me that has a strong urge though to throw my hands up and go build straw bale houses in New Mexico. Or something like that. Yeah, that's right, maybe it's time to leave the arctic (but I love the arctic!!!!). Maybe it's time to leave research (but I love research!!!!). Sigh.

So now you know why I'm cranky. Excuse me while I go bash my head against my keyboard. Actually, I'll probably go ski instead (see picture below), it's healthier and a better stress reliever and you have to breathe while doing it. Oh - and for those of you who are curious the Footprint Friday post has been updated with an answer. Thanks for playing along!

A co-worker, the Disreputable Dog, and Yeta (a tough little dog) on the first ski of the year.


  1. I know how this feels---the not knowing, etc... Stay strong, and keep your eyes open! Maybe you'll be studying polar bears in the Arctic circle soon?!

  2. The transience is such a hard part of the gig. I'm so sick of knowing that I'll be leaving this place pretty soon. It keeps me from making close friends.

    I can't believe your funding is ending on such short notice! yuck. Good luck finding something. Wish I could help.

  3. Wow. That seems like short notice to expect you to find a new job. Good luck and feel free to be cranky and vent whenever you need to - it's your blog after all.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your funding. That really is short notice! :-(

    I don't really know how your field works, but are there no permanent field research positions that don't require you to move every few years?

    By the way, I haven't forgotten I owe you a post on alternative careers outside of academia. I don't know how useful it'll be since our fields are fairly different, but I promise it's coming.

    Best of luck with finding a new position and moving, etc. If it's any consolation, your e-friends will be with you wherever you go!

  5. I can identify with the way you feel, I may even know how you feel...Different profession, but I too waited too long to move on.

    For some of us, it really matters to our hearts and souls, how we spend the "9 to 5" hours. I used to envy those who had the fortitude to do "whatever" for the sake of a paycheck and benefits. I don't believe that it diminishes their contribution to society. On some level, we benefit regardless of whether their heart was in it. Some of us need to do more, or be more because it is in us, it drives us. It's just what we are.

    Good luck finding your path. I hope it is as distinguished as the tracks in Friday's post.

  6. but just look at all the opportunity. bucketfuls of opportunity.

    researching in morocco, perhaps?

  7. i hope you find the perfect place and job, and that whatever it is it provides you with as much interesting blog fodder as the current one. ;)

    and Gray Wolf? gee... should have been so obvious. ;)

  8. I vividly remember standing and asking Boss if I could travel to a conference in 4 months and watching him rather awkwardly state that if the grant wasn't renewed, I probably wouldn't be working here at that point. So I didn't go to Italy and I realized how tenuous my financial position actually was. It was an awful feeling even in the abstract, so I'm hugely sympathetic to your current situation.

    I'm hoping you find something you love to do in a place you adore. And I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

  9. Great pic but shit news. Sorry to hear your life in in upheaval.

  10. I hope you find an equally great place, cold or less cold, to blog from after December. I hope skiing worked against the crankiness.

  11. I had no idea the "wayfarer" part was so inextricably tied to the "scientista" part of it. What crap timing!

    Or maybe not - there must be a reason, no? - might there be a golden opportunity around the bend.

    I have NO idea what your quals are, but I do know that in my Cornell Lab of Orinthology member newsletter they are looking for a researcher with marine mammal experience. Funny, that stuck out to me because I wondered how that fell under Orinthology.

  12. sister, i have something to send you regarding this post...but i can't find your email.

    can you drop me your email addy at girlplustwo AT yahoo DOT com?

  13. Change is good Wayfarer.

    You are young. You have animals.

    Its gonna be ok.

    glib yeah. sorry. but really it is.

    oh gawd. You will never visit me again after this comment...I sound so ....arrogant.

  14. Wayfarer! This *totally* Bites. Big time.

    I hope the disreputable creatures are consoling you with disreputable kisses and snuggles.

    I also hope that they are helpful at updating CV's and reading the Scientista want-ads.

  15. Food for crankiness indeed. It's a tough call, to leave something you love and you have been trained to do better than anyone else. Is it possible for you to take an exploratory break from your career? Try something else?

  16. liv, thanks! polar bears? I could that!

    ecogeofemme, it's hard, isn't it? The transcience thing? I loved it but it's starting to get a little old.

    sciencewoman, it does feel like short notice. I think that's part of why I'm cranky about it. I mean the funding thing is just part of the cycle but a little heads up would be nice.

    mad hatter, thanks! yeah, I'm looking forward to that post. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much in this field with less transcience...but maybe if I tweak my emphasis I'll have better luck.

  17. ms chica, awww. Yeah, it's not so much the job, I DO love it, but perhaps the job at this place?

    jen, anything is possible! Thanks for your email.

    maypole, thanks! And you mean it wasn't obvious, the wolf? (wink)

    post-doc, yeah, it's kind of a crazy moment isn't it? You go from talking about expanding a project one week to suddenly having the rug pulled out from under you.

    dj, thanks on both the compliment and the sympathy. (Oh, and your tag is coming...I promise!)

    hypoglycemiagirl, the skiing worked wonders, it always does. I have trouble being outside getting excercise and maintaining crankiness. Glad you like the banner!

  18. qt, yeah, the wayfarer is tied both to personal interest and to the scientista. I haven't lived in the same place for six months straight since, I dunno, high school I think. And you are right, the golden opportunity might be there! Thanks for passing on the ad at Cornell!

    crazymumma, don't be silly, of course I'll keep visiting you! And yes, I realize all that and appreciate it. But sometimes one falls into these funks.

    orangeblossoms, thank goodness for the Direputables! They wont' tolerate extended periods of crankiness, they insist on being goofy and making me laugh. The Direputable Cat keeps trying to edit my CV but I'm not sure she's using the same keyboard I am.

    veo, yeah, I'm contemplating it. I think I will be forced into a small hiatus no matter what, there just won't be a job that fast at this time of year. It's tough though, cause in some ways I do love what I do...I think maybe I just lack confidence to know if I can continue it sucessfully?

  19. I got out of science after finishing my PhD. It was for a whole host of reasons, but one of the major factors was the transient existence for contract researchers. That, the fact that chemistry departments were closing, student numbers were down, there weren't going to be many openings for new faculty in the coming years (all the decent ones at closing departments were being mopped up in favour of younger and untested researchers) and I couldn't bring myself to ply my scientific trade in industry (imagine having all the right toys and not being able to play with them - how frustrating would that be?)

    So, whilst I loved being a physical chemist, and whilst I had excellent credentials as a researcher, I became an IT consultant in a disruptive and stimulating career switch. (I had no credentials over and above being able to turn on a laptop and pilot a few office applications in a reasonable manner. That and having a decent logical mind.) I have no idea if this was the 'right' decision, but as I have no way of testing the hypothesis, and as I have genuinely enjoyed the last few years more than I enjoyed the research and academia with all its attendent frustrations, I'm happy with how things are panning out. I suggest that the road you pick is less important in determining your happiness than the manner in which you travel along it.

    Good luck with the search and enjoy the possibilities...

  20. but why, thanks for that insight. I will travel whichever road happily but I guess I do wonder if I wouldn't be just as happy and way less stressed doing something else.


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