Thursday, December 22, 2005


I hate the Schrodinger's Cat aspect of sending these stupid applications out.

Again, it's the middle of the week, so I got 2 more rejection letters today. One was pretty nice. They basically said it's not me or my qualifications, it's just that my work doesn't fit with what their department needs right now in terms of specialties, and they sincerely wish me the best of luck in my search, or whatever. The other was just basically a generic 'you didn't make the cut' letter.

I have some time now so I should do a couple more applications, but on reading that first letter, I'm wondering again if I could do a better job of selling myself and my research. I'm worried people think my project not useful or important. Or maybe the connection with disease isn't obvious enough, which is always a risk for us basic scientists.

I had more discouraging news yesterday, talking to a distant contact about job searches going on in a few departments I thought I was interested in. Basically the guy was very helpful, but he said they are looking for very specific things, even though the actual job ads don't specifically say so. On the one hand, I'm glad I asked, and it will save me the work of finding out the hard way, but there's nothing like being told, "Uh, yeah. Don't bother."

So I'm not really in a frame of mind to write a PR statement for my research right now, and not just because of the mail. The weather has turned crappy all of sudden, and my experiments thus far today haven't been too encouraging. Here I was hoping to get actual data, but it's just more of the same confusing randomness I've been getting for a while now...

When I get my gels running, I can go to the gym, which might help improve my mood. Not that I really want to go out, or exercise, in this weather. I want to go back to bed.


On a more positive note, I spent some time last night reading about Design of Experiments, or DOE. Some pretty cool stuff. I'm hoping it can help me think about my stuff differently, although at the moment I'm not sure it will change anything about my actual experimental setup, since I already use most of these principles. I was surprised to hear it had a name and that there are tons of books written about this method of applying statistical principles to collecting data, rather than only using statistics for analysis. It got me excited again about possibly doing the math/compsci thing, although I suspect this is not the sort of thing they teach at the workshops we were considering. I probably should check on that...

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At 7:49 AM, Blogger ArticulateDad said...

Sometimes it's hard to know which is worse, receiving rejection letters, or hearing nothing but silence. I suppose, the worst are the form rejection letters. It makes you feel like they didn't even bother to read what you sent them, as if they'd only gone through the motions, because law or convention requires it, though they had their minds made up before they advertised, or before your materials arrived.

For me the worst one was when I was overseas, and was told by a committee chair about three weeks before their closing date that they would not accept electronic submisions, so I'd have to express mail the package in order to ensure it arrived on time. It was in December, and I couldn't ensure arrival otherwise. It cost about $40 to send the thing. That wasn't what annoyed me most, though. It ended up being the fastest rejection I've ever gotten, bar none. I received the "we're no longer actively considering you" note about a week after the closing date, and that in Brno, Czech Republic. They must have posted it immediately!


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