Taking stock of the week and 2008.
So the end of the week turned out strangely productive. I actually did a lot but it didn't feel like much, because it wasn't what I was expecting to be doing.
I had to bonk myself on the head and give myself points for progress. Bonk!
I went to the gym a couple of times.
Thursday my student called in sick, and then randomly I got called to deal with an ongoing problem that has now finally been fixed (in large part, thanks to me!). I should get some credit for this, but I won't.
The actual fixing does matter though, because it means I can finally run some samples that were sitting around for weeks.
...And that experiment turned out like every other experiment I did this week- interpretable, just didn't work the way I had hoped.
I will score myself points for interpretable. Because that leads to, at the very least, not having to repeat the identical conditions. And therefore, actual progress.
I also ran gels, ordered things, and things I ordered came in so I can do more new experiments next week. Yay!
Submitted two things that were due, before the deadline. Check.
Collected more samples for more experiments. Check.
And various other minor progresses like that. Check.
Went out with friends last night. It was really nice, actually. This is one of those when-it-rains-it-pours weekends. After weeks of no plans whatsoever, last night we had two options for going out, same for tonight, and tomorrow night we have a friend visiting from out of town.
Some of these plans can be rescheduled for future evenings, but I do wish it were possible to reschedule things into the long, lonely past that was this year without many outings.
I was also taking stock of what I accomplished this year. Personally, I have made progress (although not in entirely bloggable ways). I've figured some things out that have long been plaguing me. I got some problems solved, I think, once and for all. Which is pretty cool considering some of them have been life-long problems!
And I give myself 2008 credit for starting therapy, even if its ultimate value remains to be seen (and I might not be able to do it long enough to find out, before my position and health insurance are terminated).
Scientifically, I did make some progress. Even if nobody knows about it Officially.
Career-wise, not so much progress, I don't think. It's hard to say for sure because in theory some of the things I've done were long-term investments, but, not much progress in any tangible ways.
But I'm very much dreading 2009. It might be fine. But I had such high hopes for this year, and most of them did not materialize, despite my trying.
I've been enjoying blogging, especially comments from students who say it's useful to read this blog, and other postdocs who say they have had similar experiences.
I'd also like to think that the blog helps educate some of the faculty out there who might not realize how bad it is for us now. I particularly liked a comment I got on one of the last 2 posts, where the person was saying they re-read some of the only science career books out there (A PhD is Not Enough, for example) and how incredibly out-of-date and out-of-touch these books are as 'resources.' And how there's not much else out there, besides blogs like this one.
So I am feeling okay the last couple of days. I did get caught up on sleep, and that did help.
The Sabotage book I mentioned is just one lightbulb moment after another. So I'm really glad I got that and I'm working on it.
I'm thinking about what I'll be getting people for Christmas/Non-religious End-of-Year gifts.
And I'm planning some fun trips.
In truth, I do okay with research as a lifestyle, because it takes very little to keep me going. But I have to have that feeling of being able to make progress, and have some things to look forward to.
I guess I crossed that line again, the one I'm always walking. I really do like benchwork, and I don't mind when things aren't working, so long as I have what I need to keep trying, and not too much pressure for time.
Right now I'm in a little bubble where I can say "fuck it" for a while and just work on the science. I'm telling myself not to worry about whether I get to figure it all out myself or not.
And amazingly, that is actually kind of working for now.
Whether I apply for jobs or not, I just don't want to waste my time.
I'd much rather be doing experiments than job applications, and I really don't want to do applications as an experiment again, unless I can drastically change the experimental conditions. Unfortunately, my past attempts have yielded only negative results, which were mostly uninterpretable.
Right now, I think the magic 8-ball is saying conditions are unfavorable, try again later.
We'll see if we get to later.
Meanwhile, I'm going to try to focus on now. One day, one week, maybe one month at a time. But not more than that. Because 2009 is coming, whether I want it or not.