Thursday, July 17, 2008

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!)

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At 7:23 PM, Blogger MistressofScience said...

From those of us who are always looking for advice, thank you! Even if you tell us what we already suspect, it is so reassuring to hear it from the lips of experience.

I'm almost convinced that the freak out in necessary for success. Or possibly and inevitable side effect of the stress associated with preparing to succeed.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger JJacobs said...

Comment on the first part: y do reagents that worked when they were home made suck for so much more money when they go commercial?

As my old graduate adviser says: Silly wabbit, Kits are for Techs! I know... cheesey; still makes me chuckle though.

I also am starting to really hate the money wasted on kits, time spent trying "troubleshoot" kits, and reading lil 4x6 manuals with tiny text that reads "Step 1: Open the Bottle labeled PXR. Step 2: etc." I recently posted about this very problem on my own blog; maybe you'll agree.

Make a point of tooting your own horn!

(toots his own horn)


At 1:42 AM, Blogger JaneB said...

Ah, sleep! Wonderful thing... my body would like about 10 hours of it these days... not going to happen. I agree being one of those 2-4 hours people would let you get so much more done!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger tnk0001 said...

I got really great advice a few weeks ago from my Thesis adviser (I'm working on Masters thesis and she's working on her PhD thesis so were a little lower down the totem pole, but anyhow I digress). She told me to look out for myself because other people won't do it for me and won't know what I need if I don't tell them, don't freak out and stress myself about the project, to know when I have to say I've taken on too much, and that most of all I should enjoy this, not just slug through it. All seems like common sense, but no one above me in the hierarchy with any say over my future had ever bothered to actually sit down and advise me.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Professor in Training said...

I totally agree about grad students needing to listen to the postdocs ... well, the postdocs that actually know what they are talking about that is ... there's a lot of dumbfuck postdocs out there!

Re good job advice: the one about tooting your own horn is a good one - if you don't do it nobody else will. Make sure your application's cover letter outlines exactly why you are the best candidate for the position and amend/rearrange your cv for the position if necessary.

I was so nervous during the phone and campus interviews that I thought I was going to spontaneously combust but was told by the search committee chair that I appeared very "together" throughout the whole process. I found that being myself the whole time worked really well. Also, be honest (to a point obviously) and don't try to oversell yourself.


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