Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There is a lot to catch up on and little time to do it in.

I need to fill out my absentee ballot and drop it off this week-end at a polling place.

I have two manuscripts to finish by Nov. 4th.

My new jobs is going well. Tracking my hours is going to take some time to get use to. I worked 8.5 hrs on Monday but could only account for 6.5 hours of work. Our work is done in American units!

today is my day off from work .... back to writing

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are you a student?

In clear avoidance of working on my postdoc proposal I have been reading FSP: The Book. I did initial look into the book for proposal writing information but became distracted and am reading Ch.17, " On being a female science professor." She makes a few references about others assuming she is a student or postdoc or administrator, presumably due to her young looks, but later concludes that it might have to due with her gender.

My experience at a party Saturday is only slightly related to what I have been reading but it made me think about the question I received, more than once, in a different light. So I thought I'd blog and share.

I went with my sister (who is 12) and my mother (who is 20 years older than me) to an apple party up in the mountains. My sister went to preschool with the girl who lived where the party was and my mom works with the girl's mom. I call it an apple party because the house in on an apple orchard and we made apple juice using an old fashion press, but really it was just a normal bbq type party with lots of food and alcohol. But the point is that my mom knew a lot of people there from work. I'm guessing because I went to the party with my mother and didn't bring my husband I was assumed to be yonger than I actually am. My assumed age might also be due to the fact that my sister is 12, so we should be close in age.

But I digress!! I was asked multiple times if I was going to school, by which they mean the local University. As I said earlier, although this question annoyed me I didn't think much about it until reading FSP: The book. And I might be over analyzing the question. I mean the party was close to a good university and since I'm so young and hanging out with my mom I should be going to school. It was somewhat satisfying to say, "I did go to that school and received my B.S. but now have recently finished my Ph.D....." To which one reply was, "oh, you just aged yourself."


I start my new job a week from today. I have a lot of emotions associated with this job.

I am thankful to have a job in a location I want to live.
I am grateful to be back on a schedule again.
I am nervous about the structure of the job, accounting for all of my billable hours worked and working according to the schedule of someone else.
I am excited about all of the new topics I will learn about.
I am scared to death about all of the new topics I know nothing about.
I am apprehensive about my future.

I have heard a lot about working as a consultant and little of what I've heard is positive. I'm hoping this company will be different, as I have heard praises of this company and am impressed by the scope of work done by the employees. In fact, I went to a seminar at the local University Campus last week and the speaker showed plots made by the company I will be working with. But, because of my nervous, scared and apprehensive feelings I don't want to become 'stuck' in consulting and still think about plan to apply for the postdoc position I wrote about.

I have a decent outline written for the project, have met with two of the project advisers and have talked with two others at the institution about the study location (these are scientist I worked with previously). Yet every time I sit down to write or read more about the topic I get distracted. I'm starting to think that I just don't feel very passionate about the project, and at times I get distraught that the acceptance is 12-20 projects out of 100+ applications. I picked this project mostly due to the location and not based on the science, although the science is interesting. But I feel that I have this duty to apply. I would like to work at this institution again and this, currently, is my only chance at that.

I have decided that if I don't have a decent draft written by the end of the week I should waive my white flag. The application deadline is Nov. 15 and I should have the advisers read at least one draft and give back comments.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I didn't negotiate

I have a job offer and I am taking it.

Thursday I went back to the consulting company-that I had two interviews with-and we talked about the job description, what I can do and what I will learn to do, and we glossed over the salary part.

This past week I was pulling my hair out about how to negotiate. I don't feel very prepared for this job as a consultant. I'm excited about the company because they take on all sorts of hydrology projects, yet my training and experience is very narrow. This doesn't mean that I don't have the confidence to do the job I just didn't feel like I had very many bargaining chips. In addition, when I went to and looked up jobs it was difficult to find one job title that best fit the position and the salary ranges varied greatly between job titles. Second, on, all of these positions I was looking at required a Bachelors degree plus some level of experience with salaries increasing with increasing experience. I was finding it difficult to directly relate my graduate work to work experience. But after much thinking and making excel spreadsheets with my qualifications and the qualifications of the job description I came up with a yearly figure and calculated the hourly wage. The yearly figure was 15K less than what a retired professor told me he thought I was worth, after only looking at my resume, but I felt my figure reflected my lack of real work experience and I figured if I picked up on the job quick I would ask for a raise.

So now you are asking yourself, "Jennie, after all this work you still didn't negotiate." I sadly say yes, but this is because I was offered 3K per year more than I was going to ask for! I never thought about this option and was taken aback and merely replied, "that sounds fair" and the conversation quickly moved on. In once aspect I was happy with the offer but on the other hand I feel that I may have looked weak since I'm guessing they expected me to negotiate. I also feel that I was likely offered less than the company thought I was worth and should have still negotiated. And I know that negotiating my first salary is important along my career path because it will affect my bonuses and raises for the rest of my life. But the conversation leading up to the salary offer talked about all the parts of the job I didn't have experience with, so again I was made to feel that I didn't have a lot of work experience needed for the position.

I still have mixed feelings about how what I should have done.

Thursday when I got back from the consulting company I received an e-mail about the lab manager position stating that someone else was offered the position since they had more biology experience. Thank God. I really didn't want to have to accept the position and I'm glad the group I use to work with found the right person for the position.

In this market I'm happy to have the opportunity to work at the consulting firm. Since I contacted this company even though they weren't hiring they are only able to offer me 30hr weeks to start. Looks like my first day will be around Oct. 20.

I'm also still applying for the Post-doc position, application due Nov.15. I have a good outline written but no actual text yet. Yikes! I've been busy with the special journal articles that are due Nov. 4th. Ph.D. adviser gave back comments on one of them and that day I sent him the other one I was working on. I think this first one is pretty close to completion, just a few loose ends to strengthen. I want to make sure Ph.D. adviser gives me back his comments on the second paper by mid month so I can clean it up by the deadline. Ok, time to kick back into writing mode.