Sunday, July 13, 2008

Work is its own reward.

It's funny how sometimes the thing you've been dreading is exactly what you needed.

I was not looking forward to my experiments this week. I wanted the data but not the tedium. I dreaded the repetitive, the brainless pipetting, for these kinds of experiments. All I could picture was boredom and wrist strain.

I was complaining that, despite trying to take some time off of lab on the weekends, I needed more time to think. I thought I needed more time away.

Stupid me. I forgot how peaceful and relaxing meditative movements can be: more lab work was exactly what I needed.

It's nice to remember how much I like to commune with my samples, get a little lost in my data. It's nice to get paid to daydream about what might be happening in my samples, and what my options are for what to do next - almost endless possibilities.

Decisions, decisions.

I'm looking forward, this week, to more of this kind of quiet. It's an iPod bubble, so not exactly the same as walking in a deserted forest. My labmates are not exactly meditative types. But I'll take what I can get.

My hope is that, as has always happened in the past, if I keep following these results, I'll have one of those lightbulb moments. You know the kind I mean.

When the idea just grabs you and it's suddenly clear exactly what you need to do, and you can't rest until you have the answer.

You know, what makes you want to stay in lab until bedtime and you only force yourself to go home because you know that technically, sleep is important. And technically, you still need to eat.

You dream about your data, make plans in the shower. And run out the door in the morning, hair still wet, wearing whatever clothes are clean enough, to go develop that film or pick those colonies.

You know, the kind of thing that makes you start scheming. Do you really need those overnight incubations? Can you can make it go faster? Faster! Can you put it on a rocker, raise the temperature? Shake it harder! Why wait a day or a week for the answer? It's too long!

How come nobody ever thought of this before??!

Right now it's a little foggy, but the clouds are starting to lift. At least now, even if I don't know which way to go, I know how I'm going to get there.

One foot in the front of the other.

And now I'm off to lab. On a Sunday. Take that, weekends off!

Enlightenment is wayyy better than leisure.

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At 10:01 AM, Blogger sara said...

Great post.

One foot in front of the other.
Love the Underworld reference.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger JaneB said...

Yay, glad to hear things are looking up!

I used to love that lab bubble... BUT (I guess lack of practice) I've started getting RSI pains if I spend too much time in a row in the lab (roughly speaking, a total of 3 hours a day in 1 hour max chunks doesn't trigger problems). Ouchy thumbs and necks are no fun!

I agree, the 'eureka' moment beats 'leisure' - but that's why we put up with the crap, right? Because the high of the Eureka moment beats pretty much anything else we could do with our lives. We just need less crap, more Eureka... more sailing downhill on a bicycle, less trudging uphill through mud in flipflops...

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Psych Post Doc said...

My work is very different, given that all my research is with human participants. That being said, there are definitely the times when I can't stop working, when I have to get through the data entry/cleaning/and basic composite creation so that I can know the answer to my questions.

It's been a while since I've been in that state, but with all the data I've been collecting lately I am pretty sure (if I stay in my post doc at least) that I'll be visiting that place again soon.

Hope you're Sunday lab time was worth it.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger andrea said...

ah ... good, clean, ILLUMINATING data!

I find weeding to have those meditative qualities, too. There were only so many waveforms a body could look at before the eyes went buggy.


At 2:36 PM, Blogger tnk0001 said...

I somehow always tell myself I don't want to go into the lab, but once I get into that little room that's all mine for the most part and drown out the world with the sound of the water bath and hood and start my pipetting all is suddenly ok.


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