Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sleep is for those with job security.

Lately I am having the rage again. You know, the one about how come that guy gets to do nothing and have every one of his wishes fulfilled, and I have been working my ass off only to be told NO to even the most minor, reasonable request?

It always hits me early in the morning, say around 6 AM. I don't like to get up at 6 AM, and yet, sometimes there is no point trying to go back to sleep.


This week I got an email from an old colleague who just landed a faculty position in her home country. Her email talked about perseverance and how happy she is.

This colleague was a postdoc when I was a grad student. That puts her at roughly 5 years more post-doctoral years than I have now (in her country, you can make a decent living even if you are not faculty, but it's still very hard and I'm not sure how she did it).

Hearing that she has a new job made me happy for her, but it also made me want to quit on the spot.

She was always a role model for me, and it was discouraging when she lost her funding and couldn't find a position.

She might be a phoenix now, but like a lot of things in my career, there is no way I'm going to follow in her footsteps. I can't work in her country anyway, but 5 more years of working on other people's projects? NO WAY am I doing that in any country.


Meanwhile I have been bad about exercising and I know this is part of the problem. It is very simple. When I don't exercise, I feel like crap and find I have a lot of extra rage. But I still hate exercising, and I resent having to make time to do it.

I think if somebody could invent an exercise pill that gave all the benefits of exercise (not just weight loss but also stress relief and all the other good things that come from aerobicizing your joints, muscles and brain), I would take it.


In other news, I wish I could blog about other things, but I can't. So instead I am working on my memoirs. I know, it sounds so vain to use that words, but I don't know what else to call it. It is basically a book about things that have happened to me.

I guess I'll stop blogging now and go work on it some more. Since I am awake, and angry, and I don't feel like exercising just yet.

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At 12:40 PM, Blogger PUI prof said...

You are right about the exercise. For me its a huge relief of tension. I have learned that I can't function at my max capacity with out it and that I absolutely need my max capacity to survive. In addition, the huge tension reliever is like a drug. I have had enough reinforcement over the years, that I really enjoy it now.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exercise! For a while it's been the only thing that makes me feel good. That's messed up... but what can you do?

I'd read your memoirs, too.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Hot Cover Girls Central said...

nice article,

-cathy young

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Having just left Oxford, which I grew to love, for a future in either waitressing or starvation, I think I know how you feel. I left a group which has expanded by about 50% this year ... with, you guessed it, ALL MALES. They have a legal obligation to assist female employees, so they met this obligation by offering me a job with heavy teaching duties at Another Random University, for which the job specs clearly also dictated working on Someone Else's research. Starvation is beginning to look appealing.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Kea, LOL, I love how their idea of "helping" is to heap you with the responsibilities nobody else would stoop to take.

I also love the unemployment diet. I never wanted to go to the gym when I could afford it, hahaha. Maybe I could get rich writing a book about how to survive on ramen and beans with zero income.

At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went for a bike ride this morning and only made it in to work by 10:30am, and I feel goddamn awesome. Who cares about writing papers if you feel like poop?

At 3:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also frustrated that after having spent more years than most as a postdoc I still can only get jobs as a postdoc again to work on Other People's Projects. I'm now working for a PI who is younger than me and did half as long a postdoc and has half the track record I do (fewer publications, and in lesser journals than me). How the hell did he end up a PI while I can only ever get postdoc jobs?? (well actually I do know how and let's just say it involved some string-pulling from his advisor). But the point is, here is this guy who IMO is not very competent as a scientist and yet he is now a PI and I have to work on his ideas even though I have accomplished more than him and I am even more knowledgeable than him (I've even secured more grant funding on my own in the past than he has so far in his PI capacity!!). I don't know whether to feel angry or humiliated that I am working as a postdoc for him. My choices were to either take this postdoc job or be unemployed. Sometimes I wonder if it's better to quit science altogether than to repeatedly suffer the indignity of being passed over for the real jobs time and time again and seeing less qualified and younger people become my boss through their political connections.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Anon, I have this theory that this is the real reason most women drop out at the postdoc level. Because we see the writing on the wall. It's our advisor's handwriting, and it says "I'm helping the Anointed One, all others might as well quit now."

At 10:52 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Yeah, it's a pretty simple choice...
(1) give up and drop out or
(2) learn to live on a starvation diet or worse, be constantly abused, ignored and insulted, and spend most of your life alone.

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi MSPhD I'm the anon@3:34. yeah, "Anointed One" sure is the right way to describe it.

so what are your thoughts on whether it's 'better' (though I suppose it's highly individualistic) to quit science altogether or repeatedly suffer the indignity and humiliation of being passed over for jobs and working for PIs who are younger and less qualified than you (but who treat you as if they are so superior to you because they are The PI and you are Their Postdoc)? I can't understate how much it churns my stomach whenever I'm reminded of how my PI compares in his experience and qualifications to me. This churning feeling is very draining and just clouds my entire work atmosphere. Yet, if I don't do this I basically have to leave science and be out of the game altogether.


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