Use your anger.
Inspiration comes in strange packages sometimes.
All this week I've been frustrated, depressed, and generally feeling pretty hopeless. Things at work are going slowly, and I have been away from the bench doing what feels like thankless, unproductive paper pushing and networking that may lead to just a lot of loose ends.
But my boyfriend has been my unfailing support, who will take me out for a beer and a steak sandwich and venting when I really need it.
And last night I got inspired from a strange source.
I have this friend. We will call her Bizzy. Bizzy is a little bit older than I am, and not doing the traditional science route anymore.
And I always feel Bizzy is trying to push me to quit. She's almost evangelical about it.
Part of me wonders if I shouldn't get rid of people like this in my life. I have one friend who cuts off all ties to anyone she deems Too Negative. That's a bit extreme, I think, though I understand why she does it.
Part of me thinks, well if I can't hack it, at least I know that Bizzy will never judge me if I leave academia, she'll congratulate me!
But what annoys me sometimes is that Bizzy is not a great listener. Bizzy has never once asked me what I work on, and I have never been able to get her to listen to even the 30 second version of my One Big Idea, much less What Cool Research I'm Doing. I'm not sure I've ever gotten a full, uninterrupted 30 seconds of speech into one of our so-called 'conversations.'
I figure it's good practice to learn how to get people like this to listen, or at least hear the 3 second point I'm trying to get across. And in general, I like her. Better to practice on someone I generally like.
aside: (I have another friend, we'll call her Missy, whose lectures I'm finding harder and harder to take, since in addition to being a bad listener, she's incredibly insensitive and clueless.
Missy's latest news was bragging, and not in a cute way, about her boyfriend. Who is such an Amazing Postdoc and Gifted Scientist that we should all be impressed, or something, at what a catch he must be. Stupid bitch! What on earth makes her think we want to hear her assessment, based on not having any clue whatsoever, that he is somehow a better or more deserving scientist than, for example, yours truly or anyone else who was present when she was saying this?)
So Anyway. Yesterday when Bizzy asked how work was going, I said "I'm feeling frustrated." Just that. I couldn't have gotten more than that out before she picked up her usual lecture at the usual starting point.
As usual, she ran with it. Bizzy has plenty of suggestions for other things I could do and how much I would like these other things better than research.
I don't think she means to insinuate that I can't hack it, but my knee-jerk response is that she must think I'm an idiot. I know it's not personal: Bizzy thinks that anyone who would stay in academic research with no job security or faculty position in sight... is crazy.
Well I must be crazy, because it pissed me off. And that was just what I needed, at least yesterday. And it got me through today. It's stupid, but it works. I will definitely take anger any day over depression.
And then I laughed, because on a whim I looked up my horrorscope online, and it said I should be more ambitious right now.
Me? More ambitious? Really? I should?
So for now I am fueling on my favorite sustenance:
I'll show YOU (motherfuckers).
To quote our President, they just better not misunderestimate me.