Monday, January 01, 2007

I intellectualize, therefore I am.

Enforced relaxation time this weekend. Tried to make the most of it by focusing on relieving stress via busywork intellectualizing.

One of the career/confidence/self-help books I read included a little bonus: a Neuroticism Test!

For me??!! You shouldn't have!

I had no idea what neurotic meant. The official definition of neurosis is suffering from anxiety out of proportion to real threat.

Yes, MsPhD is officially neurotic about the whole faculty position thing.

So then, since I thought I had found something potentially insightful, I got another book. The take home message being, of course, "I'm neurotic, you're neurotic, and we're both ok!"

I'm not sure this revelation is going to help me in major life-changing ways, but I'm learning a little bit of psychology theory, which helps to pass the time.

I am trying to get away from this habit of blowing things out of proportion, which is apparently common in neurotic people, and feeds the negativity monkey on my back.

I also read some scientific journal articles, which was oddly comforting. And it was comforting that I enjoyed it the way I used to: it was both relaxing (easy) and stimulating (fun).

Maybe it's too soon to retire after all.

I know getting a job is highly competitive, and that staying funded in science is extremely difficult. But am I panicking out of proportion to a real threat? What's the real source of the problem: them or me?

(aside: I'm having deja blogging vu. I think I've written about this before.)

I'm trying to liken it to something a teacher told me when I was a kid. I was in a competition, and I was watching the other kids go before me. I thought they were better than I was.

She said I was better than they were, but I didn't know whether to believe her. I thought maybe she was just saying that to be nice, trying to build my confidence.

Objectively, I was trying my hardest to observe these other kids, and I really thought they were much better than me!

Objectively speaking, I have a similarly hard time figuring out where I fit into the whole job competition scene. My CV is really not that bad, I think. What I don't know is how worried I should be. Okay, that's neurotic, worrying about how much to worry!

One thing I can say for sure is this: if I'm neurotic, then working with, around and for highly neurotic people has certainly made me more paranoid, and more neurotic, then I would have been otherwise.

That's definitely them, and not me.

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At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question for Ms. PhD and her readers. Are all P.I.s assholes? I've really only worked for 2 (grad school and postdoc). Both of them were pleasant and nice enough for the most part. But when they want something from you, or you do something wrong (or not to their exacting standards-for example making slides or pictures for them) they both have the tendency to just be complete pricks. By this I mean condescending, talking to people like they are children, etc. I know not all P.I.s are like this, but I'm just curious if this is a trait that is self-selected for in science? And the other question is, why do we take it from them? My boss was pretty rude to me this morning in a meeting, and I really wanted to say something, but I just felt like I didn't have the power to. And I rationalize it by saying, most of the time he isn't like this, so why get all bent out of shape on the few occasions that it does happen? I assume this happens in all lines of work, not just lab science, but I just wish people could have a little respect for those who work under them.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous TW Andrews said...

Objectively speaking, I have a similarly hard time figuring out where I fit into the whole job competition scene. My CV is really not that bad, I think. What I don't know is how worried I should be.

I can imagine that part of your wonder about how much to worry is the implicit question, "Even if my CV is as good/better than most, will that get me a job?" Given that there's so much luck/connections/not-strictly-merit-based stuff that goes on in job hunting (for any job), I don't know that your worry is misplaced, per se. But since you can't really do much about the role luck plays in your job hunt, worrying about it won't help.

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey everyone.
I'm not in research on anything. I'm just on here, reading this blog and comments because it makes me laugh so much~ yes, misery loves company.
I just thought I'd write to you Ms. PhD that I'm a super-neurotic too, and the other day, I was worrying about worrying too much too.. lol.. and I caught myself and had to laugh. sighhh... I guess us super-meticulous science-folk are just destined to be worried by everything... oh, yeah, get this: not only do I worry about worrying, but I also worry about NOT worrying too. Sometimes, I think, "Oh my God, if I stop worrying, maybe the gods (yes, that undefined little notion I have that perhaps there ARE superpowers out there.. ) will punish me.. " This is f-ing ridiculous. I'm so sick of my thoughts... :(
I hope... I hope you get happy one day. At least, you should know: your blog made me laugh, even if it is in a selfish little way.


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