Our lab is moving in two weeks, so I can't really do any experiments. I'm trying to do some cloning, but as usual I'm having every problem in the book. The latest was a suspicious band in my water that exactly matches the size I'm expecting in my PCR. I'm waiting for the PCR with fresh water now.
So lab stuff is up in the air. I'm trying to work on a grant, but I really feel like I need more preliminary data to even know what to write for some of the aims that are kind of nebulous right now. But grants are always up in the air until they are actually funded.
I'm also working on my job search. I'm seriously considering applying to University of Nebraska, but I haven't told my boyfriend that yet. I figure it's only an issue if they offer me an interview. The other places that are advertising now are more likely locations and he knows about those. I also figure I have less of a real chance of getting an offer from those places, so again it's only an issue if I get offered an interview.
I emailed a couple of friends of mine, who work next door to each other, in a department connected to one that is advertising. They both have joint appointments in the department I would be applying to, so they know about it. Interestingly, the guy gave me pretty pointless, vague answers to my very specific questions. The woman was very straightforward, said she thought her department is better, especially for younger PIs, and that her chair is better. So she said I should apply and see for myself, but she wouldn't want to work there!
It really pays to ask the right people.
Meanwhile, I asked another friend, a senior professor who doesn't work in my field, for some advice on the job search. She is the first person who has said honestly that the people who get the jobs are the ones who are so well-known already that their names are "come up" during the search committee's discussions, and they are actually invited to apply. She said, "nobody gets a job by answering an advertisement".
Now, this is what I always suspected was going on, but scientists are so hypocritical about it, nobody I've asked until now has been willing to admit this is how it actually works.
So I'm meeting with this woman tonight to get the scoop on how you get to be one of these invited interviewees, and how you find out about openings before the advertisements go out. It really is like getting an apartment in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for my PCR and feeling very unsettled about everything. Reading Science and Nature just isn't going to do it for me this afternoon. I read this article about a young, hot star who has, just coincidentally, worked in my two, very obscure fields, and got a job at my dream university. He has about 3 times as many papers as I do, but they all seem to be reviews, from what I can tell.
My advisor says I can't write any reviews until I'm more famous. This seems wrong to me, since I wrote two as a (not famous) graduate student, but suffice it to say, she won't be any help on that front.
So we are back at the catch-22: can't get a grant without a job, can't get a job without a grant.
Can't get an interview until I'm famous, can't write a review until I'm famous.
Have to be superhuman to be famous, apparently. Or at least, be able to get some basic cloning to work.
Needless to say, I'm thinking I might go to the gym this afternoon. At least there I can be insignificant and nobody really expects me to be otherwise, especially me.