Thursday, March 27, 2008


I was dared into putting this on my arm a while back. I further forgot the rather big "departmental party" that was happening the evening after the evening with the dare... Of course I wasn’t a chicken and therefore I left it for the party. (Of course I wore a slightly longer sleeve than I thought of having, I am not that brave ;) ) The look of one of the PIs I met during the day pretty much said “we don’t have any humor and we certainly not approve of tattoos anyway”. Luckily, another PI stared at me the whole ride in the elevator and tried not to smile too obvious. When he stepped out I smiled and said “it was a dare, of course I had to do it”. I heard his laugh the whole way out. At least some people have some humor. And granted, I actually like the symbol. Some friends thought it was a band logo…

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Morbid thoughts

After watching yet another episode of “Without a trace” I went to bed and wanted to sleep. However, my brain was not cooperating. (Could have been the fact that I have been sick the last couple of days and haven’t really though too much about work, or been outside the apartment…)

Anyway, the first question in this tv series is usually “how long have he/she been missing?”. A reasonable question since usually you aren’t considered missing until you have been gone for more than 24 hours. In my mind the question popped up “how long could I be missing before someone realises that I am in fact, missing?”. I know I thought about this when I first started university and moved away from home. I lived in a dorm and was quite happy about this fact since the courses I then took at uni was large ones where you don’t necessarily was noticed and especially since it was beginners level.

Anyhow, I figured that my dorm friends would wonder if they didn’t see me for a few days. And
I guess that was when I started thinking that it was nice to call one of your friends the morning after being out painting the town red and leaving to get home by yourself. (this was in the beginning of time so cell phones weren’t on the map… after they came along the whole “I’ll text you when I get home” which was a nice safety blanket for a nervous woman with too much thoughts in her head.) Considering that the town I lived in then is a smaller one with not too much violent crime I guess in the back of my head I always thought that if something really was to happen to me the newspapers would blow it up huge the next morning.

Then I went away on an exchange program across the Atlantic ocean to a larger city, where violent crime did happen more often but then I lived with a friend and there was never even an option to be able to disappear for more than a few hours before someone would notice. The thoughts didn’t really occur again until I moved here, to the Big country, in this fairly violent city (top ten of the “most crime cities of US) where I was starting a new job and living alone. Then I relied on the fact that my work would miss me if I didn’t come in…then again, it’s science and how many times have I come in late in the afternoon and worked all night or just worked the whole weekend and taken off one day just to rest? Or just never called in sick until the second day? (I am so good though, so I usually do the right thing and call in sick the first day, as one should.) but still, it’s not like my parents would notice if I went missing the first couple of – ehh let’s say four or seven – days. My friends here? Well, if I decided to disappear on a Saturday it would probably be noticed on the Sunday morning when I didn’t show up for church, then again I have done that and it didn’t create big ripples as in “she’s missing” (a fact that I am kind of happy about in reality but still…)

So, this is just a rant in the middle of the night and I don’t really know where I am going with it all apart from the fact that I don’t think it is too silly to text one of the people I was out with that night so someone would know if I didn’t make it home.

Although I guess it makes me a tad bit paranoid. Or anxious. Or it is just the fact of life and reality here in this city that violent things happen to good people and that the good people unfortunately have to try and avoid trouble.

Well, now it is time to sleep and try and think about happier things. Like the data analysis tomorrow :) or the fact that the paper seems to be written a little bit...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Where do we go from here?*

Last couple of weeks has been about writing and editing my CV and looking for new places to go. This since my postdoctoral position is up within a few months. It’s been a few years since I was in this position – thinking what I want to do with my life work wise that is. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say that I have never been in this position since I embarked on my post doc with the statement “I’ll try this post doc stuff and see if I am really a scientist and want to stay within academia”. Now when I think about it I am less sure and more uncertain. Some things are apparent to me; I love science and investigating things (i.e. bacteria and other stuff like it).

However, I am in doubt that I am cut out for academia and applying for grants and living the “two year life” with reapplying grants based on my wonderful publications… I think I might be better in an environment where people collaborate a little more, that said this might be an experience specific to my “large high profile institute”(tm) where people seem to be more afraid of loosing ideas and research to others? Then again, I think it might be more in my line of style to be in a different environment all together?

The sum of all my thinking so far is that I don’t know. The unusual feeling for me is that I feel almost excited about the fact that I have no clue what or where I am going to end up in September. I have a feeling, and is quite convinced, that I will go back “home” to the motherland, or at least Europe (already throwing in other parameters…). The main fear? To end up unemployed for more than two months, staying at a couch at one of my friends.

Do I really think that will happen? Not really. Although, I have decided to focus on positive things rather than “what will I do if nothing pans out as I kind of want it”. It seems like a waste of energy to think about the bad-worst scenario at this moment. (Let’s save that for June or so when I am sure I will be more in a panicky state than now. And when I have to be more panicky than now.)

Overall, I am surprised by myself, in a positive way. Not only after looking at my CV the other day and realizing that I actually liked it. “It looks impressive and I have skills and experience that I would want in someone that I want to hire.”

I guess it is only to embody that feeling in my cover letters that I will be sending out, starting next week.

Furthermore, the best insight last week? That the people I contacted about “helping out” since they have friends at places where I would really like to go responded with a “sure thing, anything I can do to help your transition”. And again I wonder why I didn’t think that they would come through with that enthusiasm? Need to believe in my friends and the people who have worked with me in the past. I am, after all, quite good (my mind screams – you should write ok or average but hey…) at what I do.

Now it’s time to get dressed and head out for a little Saturday night craziness. Or at least a pint or two with friends. Tomorrow is another day in lab, checking the experiments and trying to interpret the data (that looks really interesting by the way).

Maybe this is the new improved me? So far, I feel happy about it. Let’s hope it stays that way.

(Haven’t gotten a reply on the two most important emails I sent though… I hope they will be replied soon since I can’t really apply for that job next week until I have confirmation that the emails were received and got a positive response.)

*title inspired by that episode of BtVS where it is discovered that she went to heaven but her friends brought her back since they thought she was in hell... indeed, where do you go in your relationships after that?