Was doing okay, until...
Yes, it was a typical day.
I was groggy in the morning, so the annoying stuff kind of went past me in my haze.
That was fine.
Then the coffee kicked in and I was busy.
Got some bad news regarding grants I'm not eligible for from someone who wasn't very nice about it. Got a sad call from a collaborator who sounds frustrated, but who lives in a different time zone so we keep missing each other. Not that I'm sure it's anything I can or want to help with directly, but I should probably say so if that's the case.
That was all taken in stride. Yay, stride. (aka, I am too busy to care much right now what happens in the long run. )
Then I got to work on something I care about with people I like. And that was wonderful. And I was in a great mood. For a few hours.
Then I came back to my lab, where things are disorganized and I have no control and get no credit for anything, and not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of how little appreciation I can expect to get here.
There is one person, bless her heart, who thanks me almost every day and sounds almost desperate at the thought of me leaving. She is wonderful.
But today was the first day this week - pretty good, eh? 3.5 days? - when I thought again about walking away just to make their lives miserable.
You know who the 'they' is. All those people who take it for granted that you aliquot the stock solutions for the lab when they come in because you're the one doing so many experiments that you actually need stuff to come in before you run out. And all the other little things you do.
(aside: By the way, YOU out there, please pat yourselves on the back for me. You deserve it.)
Not that they would beg me to stay, ask what it would take to keep me here, or ask me to come back if I left.
To the commenter who asked if I'm a Barbie doll, that made me laugh.
I resent the commenter who thinks s/he knows me, saying that I should take a job running a core facility. I think that's pretty insulting, although I'm sure it wasn't meant that way. First of all, it would be a royal waste of all the time I've put in getting this far. I could have run a core facility without a PhD, without a postdoc. I know people who do it with no degrees. It has its perks, of course. But I want more autonomy. I want more power. I think women are too often railroaded into support services, instead of being in charge. For shame! I realize they take these jobs because of the regular hours and higher stability. But if I wanted to be in a service industry job, I would have gone a completely different route with my life. I never wanted to work at McDonald's in the summer, though I could have, and I would have made more money than I did working in labs.
I think I've come too far now to take a side road. I have to get off this highway altogether, or follow it to the last lemonade stand. I'm just not good at the in-between. I'm not an in-between person, hard as I try to come up with compromises to reconcile the extremes.
I have much higher aspirations for a reason: I'm pretty sure I'd never be happy running a core facility. Even if I liked it in the short-term (and I always say I could be happy driving a bus, in the short-term), the problem is that it's a dead end job. You can never go back (and correct me if I'm wrong here) to tenure-track once you go that way. Unlike, I think, if I went to industry, for example.
And I resent the commenter who said that complaining about our environment or wanting to change it is 'immature.' I think it's important to hold onto your ideals, your unique point of view, your high expectations. If you lose that, you're just a bitter old burnout who goes along with the crowd.
Are you going to change the world, or aren't you? Are you just going to troll people's blogs and lecture them anonymously?
I published the comment because I think it's a valid opinion, even if I don't exactly agree with it. Perhaps 'immature' is the wrong way to look at it. I agree that it's smart to know what you can and can't change, and when you can and can't change it.
I realize there are things I can't change now, and some of them bug me a little and some bug me a LOT. But I have a blog for a lot of reasons. One of them is to come to terms with what's fixable now and what isn't. One is to alert people - faceless readers, whoever you are - who might not know what it's like in academic science.
You might be considering it as a career. You might be in a position to fix the system, even though I'm not. But maybe people aren't honest with you about what to expect, or what needs fixing. I know I couldn't tell people where I work what I really think. They don't want to hear it from me. But maybe they'll want to hear it from faceless, nameless MsPhD.
So it's fine to say I'll join the system and then fix it, but the problem is that 99.9% of people who make it far enough to change the system don't want to bother anymore by the time they get to the top. And then we're just maintaining the status quo.
Along those lines, I was disgusted to read this article in the New Scientist about how, the higher up you are, the less stressed you'll supposedly be.
Ain't that the truth?
Not that I would know.