Thursday, January 26, 2006

Yes, it's stress

They found me today, even at home.

I spent some time talking with my mother, who harrassed me some more about what am I going to do with my life and how come I don't own a house yet and when will I own a house, on and on and on and on. We tried hard, we really did. We explained to her the issues with rent ratios. We got the usual response: "Oh sure" they say, and then two days later the nagging starts again.

Why don't you want to get married and have kids.

I just don't, never did, and am frankly tired of trying to explain that to people who can't relate to me any more than I can relate to why they lives their lives the way they do.

And then I came home, only to find yet another rejection letter in my mailbox. And here I thought most of them would be sent to work.

Yesterday was minutely better, but today was bad again. I'm looking at a weekend of working to make up for not getting anything done this week, but along with doing some experiments I'm hoping to get back on a schedule of eating better and exercising more. In theory all of this will make me feel more productive and help me focus on the 'now' instead of freaking out about the near future. Like I need my mother to REMIND me how uncertain the second half of this year is looking.

Meanwhile, I can't help feeling like my advisor is secretly sabotaging my efforts to get a job. Yesterday she said something about being 'patient', which just reminded me of my initial impression that if she actually wanted to help me get a job this year, she would have been more willing to write my recommendation letters . But maybe I'm just looking for people to blame. And lately I am feeling like my experiments have been going so badly, I can see why she's not jumping on a nearby table to trumpet my praises to everyone who walks by.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger doc-t said...


are you wanting a Job in industry, a Post doc position, or are you looking for a tenure track position?

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Abel PharmBoy said...

Sheesh - this is the last thing you need. You're totally right on to be conservative with the rent ratio thing. I'm now stuck in what I call home-moaner-ship: yes, the mortgage is cheaper than rent but I just blew 8 grand for a new HVAC system and 3 grand on garage doors - bargain, eh?

I waited for a second marriage for a kid, much to PharmMom's consternation. Fortunately, my little sis took the pressure off. Problem is that few folks outside our fields understand the stress and uncertainty of being done with training but not exactly independent. You can barely worry about survival of yourself and your S.O., much less start thinking about mixing your DNA with someone else.

I probably haven't helped by hijacking your comments but I wanted you to know that you're not alone and Mom will always be Mom.

I'm also of the mind that your advisor could be a heck of a lot more helpful.

I'd better get back to my grant applications so I can actually keep the job I have. Hang in there, take a bath, have a glass of wine, get out tonight and look at the stars and the moon.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger DrSiege said...

I'm a female Ph.D. in the Northeast, as well. I want a house, but don't feel like I can afford one, even with the ridiculously high salaries out here.

Baby pressure comes in many forms. I don't have any desire to do the baby thing. This has led to conflicts with my mother that revolve around something like "Are you sure your husband isn't pressuring you into not having kids?" I constantly get pressure about having kids from people who expect a 30-yr-old female freshly finished with her education to be popping out the progeny. There's also the often overlooked aspect of getting "stereotyped" in my job because people assume I'll be getting pregnant, and therefore going out of the lab for over a year at any random time, so I'm not trusted with some key projects. This unspoken, yet real, predjudice exists, even though I state quite loudly and frequently that I am not planning on reproducing.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading at all the torment and stress this post-doc thing is giving you, did you ever consider that, maybe, you are just not good enough to get a tenure track position? I'm not saying you shouldn't have tried.. you definitely should have given it a shot - everyone should.

Let's face it, it is not easy to get a tenure track position, and if you don't get it, what will you do? a third post-doc? Are your nerves willing to take another 2 years of this kind of thing? and then going through the process again of applying? Perhaps you'll manage to get a big enough paper during your third post-doc that will help in another round of applications... or perhaps not..

What I'm trying to say is: Do you have a plan B?

I think you seriously need to consider a plan B at this stage. Having a plan B will reduce the stress, since you won't look at tenure-track as an "all or nothing" situation.

So what is your plan B?

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buying vs Renting depend on where you live.

In the midwest, you'd be stupid not to buy a house. But in popular cities like SanFrancisco, San Diego, Boston, etc... you're better off renting..

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the Plan B thing, there should not only be Plan B but also Plan C and D. It is like your experiments - if the results do not work the way you expect, what other routes would you take? Thinking about them before you actually do the experiments helps your planning and effectiveness.

Bottom line is to be objective about the problem you are trying to solve and not be emotionally attached to a solution that subconsciously guides to your biases.


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