Wiggle Your Big Toe
Applications sent: 9
Rejection letters received: 4
So last night, my boyfriend got a call from his advisor. This is not unusual, the phone calls at home on the weekend, in the evening, from the advisor.
I never had an advisor like that.
This particular call was about a deadline to submit an abstract for a Japanese meeting. My boyfriend had previously suggested we should both apply to go, but he forgot to mention this to his advisor. (Forgot? Freudian slip?)
Anyway, he felt bad and tried to download the info from the web, but none of it was in English. Google translator gave us some barely-intelligible gimish, so we managed to pull out some dates and decided that the 'deadline' hasn't yet arrived, despite what his advisor said. So theoretically, we could still both apply for travel awards.
Unfortunately during this process we discovered that one of my 'competitors' will be speaking at the meeting. Not as a postdoc, in a tiny little time-slot, but as a Speaker, on the main program.
We noted that there was NOT ONE WOMAN SPEAKER ON THE PROGRAM.
I'm not sure what happened. His advisor, who actually is a woman, regularly gets invited to these things and doesn't want to go, so he gets sent instead. This same thing happened at a meeting a few months ago, when I was excited to give a tiny little talk, and he got about three times longer to tell his story (which I didn't know until I got there... I just love surprises).
I find myself green with jealousy, not to mention resentful. It seems unfair that the system is so political that some postdocs are given these opportunites that really put them above and beyond what anyone else could reach just by trying. It really does seem that if you don't pick the right lab, you're screwing yourself out of inumerable, unimaginable opportunities. Mainly the ones where people learn your name and invite you on all-expenses-paid trips to showcase your accomplishments.
I'm sure this guy will have no trouble getting job offers. But I don't think he's going to apply until next year.
I begin to think that since nobody teaches this stuff, you probably have to be born with a manipulative streak in your genes?
Does it take one to know one? My boyfriend is not manipulative, but he picked an advisor who never hesitates to give his people lip-service.
So then another friend sent me this personality test at the Science Advisory Board Take the Test . The four categories are described in 2 or three paragraphs, but I'll summarize them here: Leader (unquestionably going to be successful); Explorer (obnoxious, creative, self-centered and bitchy); Organizer (methodical, OCD-type), and Enthusiast (spineless team-player who doesn't usually have their own ideas). Anyway the friend who sent it, and his wife, both got Leader. His undergrad helper got Explorer, but she thinks it's only because she's young, or something.
I got Explorer. I'm annoyed by this, since the definition of Explorer is that although they are supposedly 'visionaries', they are doomed to never getting along with anyone. Didn't seem very helpful to me. I wasn't clear on whether we're all supposed to strive to be Leaders, or what. Maybe I was a little too honest with my answers???
My boyfriend's advisor is an Explorer. But it's clear to me, he couldn't behave the way he does if he were a woman. And I have to wonder if he was like this when he first started out. I suspect perhaps less so.
Anyway I was not in a great mood about coming to lab today, perhaps because of all of this political stuff. It really makes me feel beaten down, like it's an insurmountable hurdle and I don't see anyone reaching out of the sky to help me conquer it. And it doesn't matter how good my science is, if nobody knows about it.
And who knows if it's really any good. It seems to me that it's pretty difficult to interpret what you're getting in paper reviews when it's clear they're not entirely objective. People don't even bother to try to hide their motives, it's really sickening.
This morning my cell phone rang, which is unusual since I don't give that number out. I thought for a brief moment that it might be about a job (ha ha ha). Turned out it was our not-so-handy man, saying he has no idea why our roof leaked again.
I did hear a good quote this weekend from Morgan Freeman on the Actor's Studio on Bravo. He said something about how if you lay down, people will just step over you, but if you keep moving, someone will always give you a hand.
Too bad most days it's all I can do to wiggle my big toe (yes, that's a reference to Kill Bill).