Friday Night In Grant-Land
So, I can see from my window that the sun is out and starting to move towards the horizon. Where did the day go? Why did I spend it all in here? Did I even get anything done?
Had a reprieve from journal club so I worked at my computer ALL DAY. This is very weird for me, I'm starting to get stir-crazy to get back to the bench. But I really have to work on my grant. I finally printed out what I have and started going through it with a ball-point pen. It always looks much worse when I really get into editing mode than if I'm just scrolling back and forth on screen. I guess it's good to be realistic, but I can't believe how much work I still have to do. This thing is enormous, it's a full 25 pages, like an R-01. Ugh!
Sent another job application today. I'm up to 7 now, with 2 more to go next week and still looking for ads or other heads-ups about Assistant Professors in Cell or Molecular Biology or Biochemistry. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Speaking of Bueller, I'm having serious senior-itis here. Every four years or so, in high school, college, and grad school, I get seriously sick of being in the same place. This is my fourth year as a postdoc, and although it has flown by rather quickly and I've been incredibly busy, I still feel like I've been treading water and wasting my life. In all the other cases, I was mostly finished with what I had to do by year four, so I could kind of slack off without getting myself into too much trouble. That's not the case this year. I feel like I'm halfway to nowhere with my project, I just have lots of data that don't make any sense and this feeling that I'm going to be groping around half-blind for a few more years before I start to see enough of a pattern to write another paper. Slacking is not going to help in that department. Hordes of elfin helpers would be nice...
So, to cope with this feeling that I'm too isolated and in over my head, I'm starting to do that thing again where I email strangers asking for reagents. Half of them will think I'm completely crazy and want to know why on earth I would want their plasmid, drug or antibody. Some will make me jump through flaming MTA hoops, but some of them will actually just send the stuff. I've made lots of progress in the past just by reading papers and coming up with ideas and emailing people. Usually I just ask if they want to collaborate, or would they at least send me some stuff so I can try to test my crazy hypothesis. In some cases people have been very helpful but their reagents were crap. But some of these things turned into really productive collaborations and papers. I'd settle for any tiny amount of progress right now. If it gives me some miniscule insight, that would be great!
So I skipped a party tonight in order to go home and work on my grant. Very sad way of life, but maybe I'll make enough of a dent in the first half of the weekend to get a little slacking time in before Monday. Pretty sad when slacking is your main motivating factor. It's not like I have any fun activities planned, since we're going on a trip next week. I don't know how much fun that will be, since it will include visiting various sick relatives and a few events designed to help me attempt to schmooze for jobs. I'm looking at my calendar and freaking out. I can't believe we're almost halfway through August already. What my great-grandmother said was right: the older you get, the faster time goes.
I feel old already.