How I would apply for jobs, if I were ever going to do it again.
Yellowfish pointed out that I should discuss what I would do differently.
Well, let's start at the beginning.
Step 1. Choose a grad school that you like, that actually likes you.
My grad school was a bad fit for me. Or I was a bad fit for it. Either way, I did not get off to a shining start. I did not make as many good contacts as I should have, and I certainly did not get a glowing sendoff from my thesis advisor, who was oh-so-relieved to be rid of me.
Yeah, if I had to do it over, I would have paid more attention to my gut instinct. Though honestly, of the places that I got in, none of them felt like the right choice. So there you go. I should have applied elsewhere (?) gotten in elsewhere (which would have necessitated, I don't know, perfect grades and perfect GREs?) and gone elsewhere (or not at all).
Step 2. Kiss everyone's ass, and I mean everyone, all the time.
Step 3. Go to as many scientific parties as possible, and meet people and charm them.
Partly because I'm a girl, I've never felt comfortable going drinking with my co-workers/colleagues/potential future bosses. But I should have done this. At all the meetings, even if it was in some old guy's hotel room, I should have gone. And been charming.
Step 4. Ignore bad advice, even if it comes from Super Successful "Mentors".
Yeah, the ones who told me not to apply for funding? Should have ignored them.
Step 5. Be more bold.
I probably waited too long to start asking questions at meetings. It puts you on the radar.
I also did not go and introduce myself to certain key people at certain key times, because I was too shy. But also because I sensed that they were sexist jerks, and I am rarely in the mood to deal with that kind of rejection. But I should have done it anyway, because now we'll never know.
And that is all. I would argue that I did everything else in my power. I worked my butt off. I read books on applying for jobs. I got feedback on applications from lots of people. I collaborated across continents, and attended meetings, and presented work, and published (some of it). I polished my CV. And I blogged about most of it.
And today I will be doing some more wallpapering. Why? I don't know. Because I haven't officially quit yet.