Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Life In Science.

So among all the reading I've been doing, are hints of things that I always suspected must be true.

I wanted to work on these things ten years ago, but my thesis advisor thought I was nuts (okay, so what's your point?).

Now it seems like these things are bubbling up to the surface where more people are thinking about them.

And I'm jealous. There are labs out there working on things I have always wanted to do, but never had the resources (read: money, equipment, technicians) to do on my own.

And I think I was hoping these things were far enough out on the fringe that they'd still be undone when I got to the point where I had the resources to tackle them.

And I'm kind of sad. I want to be in there doing this stuff, and I can't: not where I am right now, and maybe not ever, or maybe they'll just be done already by the time I get out of my current soul-sucking situation.

I realized my existential angst (see last post) is mostly about My Life In Science. I don't really worry about not being able to picture my life per se. I'm pretty convinced I could work something out if all scientific inquiry was suddenly vaporized from the planet.

But I really do fear for the What if this is it, and I (figuratively speaking) die when my money runs out?

When I first started blogging, reading GrrrlScientist during her early blogging days really put this fear into me. I didn't know (here we go with the naivete and the 'would I do it all over again' cluelessness) there were people out there who love science so much and were literally living on pennies and donations from friends, just trying to figure out how to Stay In The Game.

Much as I talk about wanting to leave, I'd still rather leave on my own two legs than because somebody or something kneecapped me.

It's a hard thing to admit, but like I said, I haven't reached my endpoint yet. I just hope I realize where it is when I see the shotgun pointed at my patellas.

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At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Abel Pharmboy said...

I kinda know where you're coming from. I had some microarray results a few years ago that suggested a good therapeutic combination in cancer but lacked the funds or personnel to follow up. Last year, I saw a paper with our general results that suggested the approach may indeed be viable.

What's my point? I guess it happens at every level of academia. Perhaps one can feel validated that the idea was right, but it still sucks that others get the glory. But remember, if it happens once, it'll happen to you again - hopefully, when you have your own funding and lab!

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Bill Hooker said...

I bet you could write up a pretty solid version of your ideas on these "things" in a weekend. Then you could identify a handful of key labs working on (or near) the field, and send them your thoughts, along with a private letter saying you'd like to join that lab to work on these ideas, is there any way to make that happen?

That way, even if you don't get a new job, you may get some collaborative credit and your ideas will get tested.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Nicole said...

Science is rough. I have a lot of ideas and have recently decided to just give them away. I could never do all of them anyway and I honestly just want to see them get done. So I appreciate what I can do and let the rest go, or else, I would certainly lose all sanity.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Point taken. Will have to think about how best to effect this and, as Bill suggested, try to get some credit for it.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Depresso said...

Read these if you haven't done so already. They're sort of relevant to your post.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 3rd yr postdoc.

I no longer care about my projects, even though I am sending them out for publication. The lab PI is nice but otherwise preoccupied (clinical duties, kids). My lab mates are clueless foreigners and idiots.

I spend more time maaging my Netflix queue than thinking about my work.

But externally I am the same cheerful, dedicated postdoc.



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