Why I hate being a postdoc.
And here I thought I had nothing to blog about today!
I'm working on a couple of manuscripts and naturally it's excruciating. There's nothing like going through the list of what I've done, what worked and what didn't, to piss me off.
Want to know why?
Well I'll tell you why. Because the stuff that didn't work is mostly based on other people's premises. Their previous publications (mostly unrepeatable). Their reagents (mostly crap). Their assumptions (mostly wrong).
The stuff that did work was mine. It was my idea, and I did it, and it mostly worked exactly like I thought it would.
Well that would be great except for the postdoc part. Because I know what else I should be doing, that will also probably mostly work. But I can't do most of it.
Want to know why?
Well I'll tell you why. Because I don't have the money for the reagents I need. I'm not eligible to apply for the money to get the reagents I need. Because I'm a postdoc.
Also because they won't listen to me. The people with the money. I have to spend most of my time, wasting my time, doing experiments that I know won't work just to prove that they won't work, because they don't respect my considerable experience. Because I'm younger than they are. Because I look younger even than that. Because what do I know, I'm just a postdoc.
So I waste my time and my energy just to prove that I should be allowed to do the experiments that I know will lead to progress and new information. And I'm bored out of my skull doing these other experiments that are uninteresting and uninformative.
What really kills me is, I have tons of ideas for things to do. I'm pretty sure a lot of them will work, would work if someone could actually work on them.
Meanwhile, John Q. Jackass from my lab is going off to start his very own faculty position. He doesn't have any ideas of his own. His entire postdoc project was a me-too project. There are some techniques that are so hot these days that you can just follow a certain formula and get a paper in a High Impact Journal just for showing that A+B still equals C so long as you do it with the latest hot techniques.
It's enough for him to work on for the rest of his career, but I'm not convinced he'll know what to do with it. He'll probably do what most PIs do with their territory: sit on it and prevent anyone else from actually learning anything new.