Yes, I am eating late today.
Yes, as you might guess from the title, I am not having a great week so far.
I think this is partly because I had unrealistically high hopes on Monday, which were all dashed yesterday and today.
So much for thinking positive?
Perhaps the saddest, most bloggable thing was talking to a near-tenure young female assistant professor.
She confessed to me that although she had the obligate C/N/S paper to get hired, she hasn't published much on her own (Pubmed confirms this) and is really on her last chance to get an R01. And her personal life isn't going so well, either. And she's clearly wondering whether she's going to be able to hang on to having her own lab.
One of the things that made me so sad about this was that her project was really novel and interesting. And I couldn't tell whether she was in this dire situation mostly through being inexperienced? But I don't want to blame the victim here, I learned that lesson already. So isn't it also partly the fault of her department for
a) hiring her
b) not giving her enough guidance/support as a young, clueless faculty member?
It was very clear to me from talking to her that she did not know:
a) how to focus on ONE fundable, doable, affordable project and just do it
b) how to mentor students
c) how to write grants
d) how to start collaborations/ask for help from other labs to use their equipment and/or new techniques
e) that she should probably be trying to find a mentor.
So here is someone who is way ahead of me in some respects, but I've learned all these (essential, I think) lessons already as a postdoc (and d & e already as a grad student).
And meanwhile here I am having run-ins with the TorMentors who are telling me they now think it's going to take a miracle or two for me to get an academic position.
I'm more than a little astonished that they felt the need to bring this up with me in a very patronizing way, which means they must think I haven't considered (BOY, I MUST BE DOING A GREAT JOB OF HIDING IT!!) other options.
And I really don't believe in miracles.
So it's pretty hard to tune these people out. It's been one of those weeks again where I just feel shut out of the club, like I'm missing the Handbook of Unwritten Rules, don't have the password, etc.
Cold comfort to think academia has no idea what I could contribute if only they'd give me a chance.