Tidbits of ranting and advice.
Rant for you: Why do reagents that worked when they were home made suck for so much more money when they go commercial? And why do we put up with it? Is the quality of science going generally downhill, or is it just my impression that commercialization is bad?
Advice for me: Got some good advice from a friend about how to transition from postdoc to Job Candidate Extraordinaire. She said Be One of Them.
Then she said this, and I should probably get it tattooed on my arm:
Don't solicit feedback. That only yields criticism. Solicit praise!
In other words, once you've passed the point of needing advice, make a point to advertise that you're not asking for people older and wiser than you to pat you on the head.
Make a point of tooting your own horn!
Rant for me: Why am I ALWAYS tired? And why don't I have one of those mutations that lets me get by on only 2 hours of sleep a night? I have a friend like this, and she is perfectly normal aside from all the hobbies she took up to fill those extra 6 hours in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is out cold.
So unfair! I would get so much more done if I didn't have to sleep!
This morning I deliberately slept an extra half-hour and even that felt like a huge improvement. I can only imagine how much better off I would be with another full hour of glorious sleep!
Advice for you: Don't freak out about committee meetings. It's that season at my university, all the grad students are convening their thesis committees for the first time, or passing their oral exams, or whatever. The girls are all freaking out, and all are passing with flying colors. It's funny because they vastly overestimate how much data they are expected to have at this point in their careers (none!). They don't listen to me though.
The only guy I know who did this recently did not freak out, and ended up having to re-take his exam. I'm not convinced that freaking out is required to do a good job, just a little bit of preparation. He did not listen to me about preparing.
Here's a piece of advice, grad students: listen to your postdoc friends! We've been there! We know how much freaking out is involved, and how much is actually required (very little!)