Week getting better.
A couple of you asked if my week is getting better. I guess I'd say yes, but only because I'm trying to have a better attitude.
And yes, those new vitamins (big dose of B!) are really helping a lot. Not being tired all the time is quite an amazing change for me of late.
It's hard to explain my frustrations, partly because of anonymity issues I can't tell as complete of a story here as I would like.
I think this week has been just another bump in the road of interdisciplinary research. I think this has long been the problem with my project, with the labs I've been working in, with my publications, and with my job prospects.
I have been teaching myself, mostly from reading and attending meetings, a 'new' field without having been working in a lab that specializes in it. This means my PI never completely understands everything I'm doing, doesn't have all the reagents I need, and questions any time I need to order something.
[aside: Yes, we have had at least a few examples of the "That won't work, and it's too expensive" followed later by "Why didn't you ever do that experiment?"
You've been there, you know what I mean. UGH. Sigh.]
It means we don't have the Established Track Record one needs to get high-impact papers.
It means departments that might consider me for a job, can't quite figure out where to put me.
And it means that half the people understand half my work all the time, but nobody understands all of it all of the time.
This could mean they are all doubly impressed, right?
But the flip side of it is, they all assume (we all do, right?) that they're smarter than I am. So they say, "Well why doesn't she just do X (seemingly straightforward experiment)?"
And the answer is, because that won't work in my case, for reasons you wouldn't know about because you only understand half of my project.
But these are all rational, well-meaning people, who haven't once considered that yes, I thought of that, in some cases I even tried it, and maybe I just don't bring you every little piece of trash I pick up.*
I do sometimes wonder if I would have these same kinds of problems if I were a better Salesperson, or better yet, a Salesman.
I'm still trying to learn how to communicate all of these nuances clearly and succinctly without making it sound like, as someone pointed out at a meeting recently:
Yeah, your project just sounds REALLY HARD.
(This is not a compliment, by the way, it means you'll never get funded.
Which means you'll never get a faculty position with THAT project)
But when I try to make it look easy, as I'm told we must, I get this other kind of "Well why don't you JUST try X, Y and Z (you idiot)"??**
So I am trying to remain calm, and just be the bigger person that I know I can be. I can remember, understand, and cater to, everyone else's perspective, even if they don't understand mine. I can learn how, with repeated bangings of head-against-wall, to explain what I'm doing so that everyone will understand that
Yes, it's hard, but it's also really important and interesting AND IT'S WORKING. And if you were so smart, you would have HIRED ME BY NOW.
*weak attempt at a Fight Club reference
**My PI told me not to?