Thursday, January 03, 2008

Blogging less.

Have been blogging less lately. Will probably be blogging less this year.

The most interesting things happening around me lately are thoroughly unbloggable things.

There's no way to anonymize them without removing all content.

Which is too bad, because they're outrageous, or funny, or incriminating, or horrifying. And you're missing out on all of this as entertainment. Or mind-opening.

Despite the occasionally amusing moments of mostly coworker incompetence at work, my mood hasn't changed.

I know nobody really enjoys reading my rants, so I've decided that unless it's really a new topic, or generally funny, I'll just skip it.

I guess if I thought complaining would make me feel better, I could just block receiving comments on those kinds of posts, but somehow using that setting bothers me more than not blogging at all.

Unfortunately I don't feel like I have any new insights on life, pop culture, or science, at least not that anybody wants to hear.

The same things still bother me; nothing is changing.

Time marches on, which is good in some ways and bad in others.

Still trying to figure out if that whole 'live in the moment' thing is total bullshit.

Never worked for me. Maybe because when I really need it, I realize that most of my days are like the chokehold of a giant necklace, made of horrible moments strung together.



At 8:39 PM, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said...

Yikes, well at least it's almost the weekend (not that that necessarily means anything....)

And rant away: it's your blog. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it!

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..I know nobody really enjoys reading my rants"

I appreciate that you rant. I also appreciate that you give reasoned answers to all the twits who try to annoy you.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, but Obama just won Iowa. That's gotta lift your mood!
Countdown to 1.20.09!
Hang in there.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous JaneB said...

"..I know nobody really enjoys reading my rants"

Not true. Well, enjoyable may be a BIT strong, but I find them useful, thought-provoking, and interesting. I'm no longer a post-doc - I stuck it out until I got a faculty post, which I'm still surprised about in many ways as like you seem to I've always aspired to put the science first, before playing the game. I trained at Cambridge University, in a big but not hugely commercial research group, but I'm not working at a research-intensive university.

I am building a small group, whilst wrestling with the sorts of 'do I stay?' 'can the current rather sexist, politicised system change?' 'do I stop trying to compete for big funding to do good empirical science and focus on teaching, service, and on small-scale research that I can do myself with minimal resources?' (I'm lucky in that, in my field, with the time I have available around my other duties and the basic lab facilities available in my Department, I only need to find money for travel to field sites, experimental consumables and analyses by collaborators, and can turn out an interesting and useful piece of science for under five thousand dollars).

I like your rants for several reasons. They remind me of my own post-doc days, they remind me that other scientists do care about _good science_ rather than focusing on fundable/sexy/expedient science (a senior Prof in my Department announced that he really liked a research funder's very specific and limiting strategy because it 'tells him what to work on' - I am deeply alienated by this approach because I want to work on what I see as important questions, questions where I can make a difference in our understanding of the world - you help me realise that I'm not a freak to think like that!); reading blogs like yours also helps me be a better supervisor - they constantly prompt me to think about what my students need from me to get a competitive edge in the world, whether in or out of academia, and to reflect on my own behaviour in order to avoid some of the horrors that arise.

Like you, I think, I feel quite stuck at the moment with my career and with my actual job, but knowing that other people also wrestle with these things, that finding fulfilling work and pursuing it with your integrity intact is _hard_ sometimes, gives me renewed energy to both continue my own wrestling and to do what I can from my not very elevated position to help others.

Not to say that I don;t sometimes understand the 'I went through that why SHOULD these youngsters have it any easier' mentality - I do feel jealous when I see new schemes that help people avoid problems, or better training going on, or just people being much more successful in terms of money/status of institution/size of group/publishing in Nature than I am, but one of the things we often argue for is that science and academe should be a place where humans can thrive without having to be super-human; being jealous is one thing, trying to keep people at earlier career stages down (which I see happening, sadly) is the thing I have to avoid.

So I shall be sad to see fewer rants, although I guess that, like the traditional coffee-break whinging about how ill-prepared, hung-over and lackadaisical our students are, ranting needs to be rationed so that it's a refreshing treat not a way of life!

I do admire the maturity with which you talk back to some of the smug and difficult commentators you have - but it must get very wearing for you.


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