Tuesday, October 18, 2005

After the rain

Yesterday sucked. I came in and finished a western that didn't work very well. I am getting pretty fed up with stuff working just well enough to convince me that I should do it again. Rinse and repeat, the results never look any better on the 2nd or 3rd try, and it's all technical crap having nothing to do with whether my hypothesis is correct or not. I think I know what the problems might be, but as usual they are things I'm not sure I have any control over in this lab.

Ran around finishing up some stuff so I could go to a series of seminars where I knew I would run into some people I don't like very much.

Some of the seminars were good. A couple of them were terrible. But one was given by a guy who never misses the opportunity to trash my thesis advisor, nevermind acting as if my work never existed. I admit that at one point I was very upset with my thesis advisor, but I'm over it and now I'm back to getting really mad when other people say nasty things about him.

What really galls me about this guy is that he was on my thesis committee, and he used to be pretty nice to me, despite having a reputation for being a jerk. And despite my having done nothing to deserve it, the last couple of years he started treating me like dirt. So I've come around to the majority opinion.

For whatever reason, when I left, I was pretty depressed. In theory if this guy had written me a recommendation letter for jobs, that might have helped me. And I considered going to his lab at one point. Now we're essentially competitors, which was more than obvious since he presented only published data, some of it more than 5 years old. If nothing else, yesterday convinced me that I'm really glad I picked this lab instead of going to work for him!

And yet, despite his obviously being threatened by me, I still felt invisible yesterday. I deliberately snuck in the back door and sat in the back of the room for the seminars because I didn't feel like having people ask me how it's going, yada fucking yada. But it pissed me off that two women separately commented on whether I was there for this or that talk, like my attendance was being monitored and I should be concerned about getting credit! I still haven't gotten up the nerve to ask obnoxious questions in seminars just so people know I'm there. Perhaps that will come later in my career.

I went home and watched hockey and Medium . I really should have gone to the gym instead. I will have to go tonight.

Today I had an email from a school saying that one of my letters never arrived. I'm sure it just got lost somehow, the person who was supposed to have sent it has otherwise been very prompt. Something about the way the email was worded made me think they actually planned on reading the letter, having already read my other two letters. This might be a good sign, I don't know. I'm just hoping the third letter gets there right away and that they like what it says!

I set up some experiments this morning and sent out a few more job applications today. I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of the day. Just trying to kick the hangover of gloom from yesterday. I wish it were easier for me to brush off worrying about the politics of work so I could actually get some done.


At 6:41 PM, Blogger John said...

In seminars, the listeners who know the most can help everyone else by filling in the points the speaker glossed over, or pointing out promising directions, or challenging dubious conclusions. Unless the speaker is unusually good and thorough.

Conversely, if one stays silent during and after a talk on a very familiar subject, the rest of the audience assumes that one had nothing to add. Viewing a talk as a dialogue is definitely preferred in my field (so long as it doesn't run way over time).

One of the complaints about a prominent member of my dept is that he rarely comments on talks on subjects in which he is a leading expert. We are quite annoyed with his reticence.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Joolya said...

There are always those people, though, who mentally take attendance at talks . . . they're the people who would come up to you at exam time and tell you how long they were in the library.
But possibly I am just jaded.
Also - I totally feel your pain on the Westerns. It seems like they should be so easy, and they just aren't.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Forkhead said...

Hockey! Yay! ... and my word verification contains 'NHL'.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, from my point of view, it seems that seminars (almost like conferences) are a way to check in with friends. Talk about jaded... I am tired of these conference rooms filled with people asking questions just to hear themselves talk and make sure that everyone in the room knows that they are there. This is not science--I think that it is some kind of issue with feeling totally inadequate in mainstream society. If you really have something to say and discuss, save it for private conversation. Most of the time, people are interested in their little protein and use the same reagents to ask a tiny question that probably won't be reproducible in your cell line... Just save it for later.


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