Finally, a good day
Ok, so it wasn't perfect, but it was as close to a good day as I have had in quite a while.
First, I got an email regarding one of the places I applied for a job. They received my application and say the committee is meeting this month. I'm taking that as a good sign.
Then, I was catching up on the last few issues of Science and found a few more job ads that seemed quite relevant to me, so I did 3 more applications today. Good for me!
I also got an email in response to one of those friend-of-a-friend queries to try to find out something about one of my applications, and while the person wasn't terribly knowledgable, the gist of the message was that the department is doing a lot of hiring. Which is always good.
And (drumroll, please): an experiment actually worked... ! And frankly, that was almost enough to make my day without all the other stuff.
And my advisor deserves a lot more credit. The other day when I went in and ranted about the pipettes, etc., my advisor was initially very defensive, and I was annoyed about that. But, since I had previously proposed that we have a meeting with the Whole Lab To Discuss This, it was already on the calendar. So we had the meeting today and I am optimistic that things are going to improve. However slowly they may seem to be moving, they seem to be moving in the right direction. Which is huge. This is one of the only times I can remember when I made a suggestion to a PI about productivity and they actually took my advice. So, kudos for my advisor for being smart enough to realize it was a good idea. Heh heh.
I am so ready for my own lab.
Anyway I have enjoyed reading everyone's advice on how to handle lab maintenance issues... the best idea I heard today was to barcode everything as it comes in, and scan empty bottles as things get emptied. That way inventory is always up to date. Too bad my current lab isn't likely to adopt this habit, but I like the idea of doing it in my own lab someday. And since today was the kind of day when I can almost imagine that actually happening, I will stick with a little optimism for now.
The only potentially bad things today had to do with funding. First, I got some info on the review process for my grant. I had to laugh at the name of the committee: MANPOWER AND TRAINING.
Ahem. I won't even go there.
Anyway, worse than that is the timing: it's going to be a while before I hear anything, which is bad if I don't get a job. And by that I mean, it will be too late for me to re-apply before my current funding runs out.
But if I do get a job, it doesn't matter anyway. Focus on the positive, or something??
Second, I hear an ugly rumor that NIH is cutting all R01 grants by 20% due to the lack of budget appropriations this time around. If that's true, a lot of labs will be going under in the very near future. It got me thinking again about this system where you're punished if you try to save money, but there's never enough of it to go around. I may save my ranting list of things NIH should do differently for a future blog.
Anyway for the time being it is not really my job to worry about the money issue, since I can't apply for an R01 in my current job title. And since I'm told that the vast majority of your time is eaten up by money worries as a PI, I figure I will have plenty of years for that if I get a job. So for now, I'm going to go read some papers, and tomorrow I will generate some more data, with the plan of presenting it at job interviews. Lots of them.