Friday, December 18, 2009


I've been meaning to post a good bye letter but my lack of motivation to post anything has also including a farewell post.

In short, I want to say my time blogging was very useful and filled a gap in my life that I needed. Thank you so much for being a part of that. Now it seems I don't need it so much. I have to blame facebook, but there are other reasons as well.

I'm still keeping tabs on my favorite bloggers and you might see me comment from time to time.

For now I'm going to take a blogging hiatus. If the urge comes up again I will definitely post, but for now if you are interesting in keeping tabs on me send an e-mail or become my facebook friend.

Best wishes for 2010.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Inspiration or Desperation

I'm going to tackle the theme, Inspiration or Desperation, for my first submission to Scientiae, hosted this month by Academic.

I thought I'd discuss a few examples in my life that both inspire and cause me to feel desperate:

1) Running.
I started training for a half marathon in July because I needed some inspiration to keep exercising. This was a truly inspiring experience. I clocked my longest training runs ever and the event itself was very inspiring. So many courageous women runners (it was an all women's race which I realized I haven't blogged about yet). So many encouraging faces on the trails. The first and second place finishers were a 25 and 55 aged woman, with the 55 year old only 2 minuets behind the 25 year old. That is awesome.
Two weeks before the race I injured my knee and was very distraught and feeling desperate to keep training but knowing that rest was the best training at that time.
However, this story turned out to be overall inspiring because race day went great-I could have walked a little less but I met all my goals and am inspired to compete in more races and hopefully will stay inspired to keep exercising even though this goal has been met.

2) Rugby.
I have been able to practice with the best team in the nation and these women inspire me beyond belief. However, I'm only able to practice with them sporadically since they are based in the city I commute to once a week and not the city I live in and due to work and other comitments I will only be able to attend 2 or so games this season. So while I'm so inspired to be surround by amazing women rugby athlets it is a bitter sweet feeling to know that I can't dedicate myself to the team, and I get a desperate feeling to know my rugby career is slowly coming to an end.

3) Work.
Work, unfortunately is a story of desperation. I am still struggling to find inspiration in my new job, an inspiration I lost during my last year of graduate school. It fills like my days are full of desperation. I try to get motivated to work, but then I goof off on-line, then a deadline looms and I freak out and desperately meet the deadline. I start to read a document and my mind drifts to how much I don't know about the subject I'm reading about and how it's fruitless to try and learn these new things because I won't remember them anyway. I keep thinking of things to inspire myself to want to work, because the truth is, if I don't want to I'm just not going to.

3) Life.
Goals. I need some goals. I need to be inspired. My husband and I had a desperate discussion recently about how our life is going nowhere. I'm crapping out on my job and he is having trouble finding a permanent job. In March of 2008 we got inspired living in Post-Doc town and decided to leave there and head back home. We knew life wouldn't be easy but figured we'd get a job eventually and all would work out. It is in a sense, we aren't homeless or going hungry, so life is working out, but we don't see a chance to move up. My husband is distraught that he has a Ph.D. and did post doc work but is in a temp job that someone with a high school diploma could do-and he's not getting any full time job offers. I'm part-time and not even working as much as I should be and so where in this equation of part time workers does a house and a family come into play? He's aware of my lack of inspiration at work and so he tries to inspire me by reminding me of these goals-but unfortunately I haven't been inspired yet.

I feel the main question I have, to myself, to my readers, is "Where does inspiration come from."
I mostly find myself in desperation. As Academic said, Teamwork can equal working together in success, or seen from the other perspective, Teamwork means sharing failures. How to you change your mindset from success to failure, from desperation to inspiration?
Right now I see my professional life as a series of failures-that my husband unfortunately has to share with me. I'm happy with my personal life but as I stated my personal life can only move forward so far if my professional life isn't up to par.

I want to be inspired but should probably realize that inspiration doesn't come from some mystic box and it's not something that one finds deep within one's self during a walkabout. Inspiration is hard, inspiration is something someone finds when they work hard to get out of the desperation that is so easy to fall into.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My company periodically has brown bag seminars. I gave one during my interview process. This week we had an experienced consultant who was maybe late 40's, early 50's and is a women give a talk. She had worked with some of the higher ups in our company on a few projects. During her long introduction, and during her mention in my project ops meeting in the am, my big boss decided to mention that she had taken many years off and worked independently from her home to take care of her mother with alzheimer's. I'm not sure why this information is pertinent. Was big boss trying to say,
she is such a hard worker, she even worked while taking care of her mother,
give her a break since she's been at home taking care of her mother
or I don't know. But this is how big boss is, very personal and into other people's personal business.

I watched the speakers face to see her impression of this type of information being told to a room full of strangers and the only emotion I could pick out was sadness, as her mother passed away about a year ago.

Its frustrating that big boss thinks nothing is wrong with sharing this information or that this type of information is important when formulating a professional opinion of someone. I wish I could get into his head and understand his reasoning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


On a positive note, I've now clocked in some of my longest runs, a 7 miler, 9 miler and 8 miler*!! I actually felt great. On the 7 miler there was a killer hill from Marine Terrace 3 to Marine Terrace 4 that I had to walk up but that was three weeks ago so I'm itching to get back and try it again. The other runs have also been very hilly because my race is very hilly. Last Sunday we did the second half of the 1/2 marathon course and I'm more confident now about my ability to complete the race. Saturday night I didn't sleep well and had nightmares about getting lost. But we didn't. We did learn that we will cross a stream at least three times during the race and that maybe 50% of the single track portion is very scary! Deadly cliffs on one side, lots of tree roots and some really skinny turns. Now my main goal besides to finish is to not trip.
Maybe not my best choice for my first 1/2 marathon and definitely no PR's will be set but it's going to be a lot of fun and good energy. Five more weeks of training! Next week-end we are running a 6 mile race. That should help with getting into the race mode. The weeks after that are going to be more difficult for training since I'll be traveling. I won't have my long run partner and since I'll be away I won't have my familar trails and being on vacation makes scheduling running time more complicated. I'm just going to have to map out my runs before I travel and then get up early to complete them.
As it stands now I do one sprinty type run and one shortish run alone (or with my husband), then one sprinty type run and the long run with my running partner.

I'm exciting about this new found fun.

*I don't always trust how accurate google maps are, the runs were between 1.5 to 2.0 hours.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Therapy: Part 2

I've decided the best way to frame this is to just explained what has happened so far in my weekly sessions (4?), this should likely spark some talking points.

I found my therapist through the recommendation of my primary doctor. As I explained I went to her first and she wanted to put me on drugs (which readers have said I shouldn't be adverse to), but I'm not ready to go that route yet. I told her I needed help finding a therapist and she told me to look on my provider page for my insurance. Sure, I had done this already but there are 10's of therapist out there to choose from. Turns out my doctors mom is also a therapist, so I was recommended to her and looked her up on my insurance web site. Therapist (as I'll call her) turned out to be a 5 minuet walk from my house. I took this to be a sign of fate and called to make an appointment.

Although I don't like to talk about my feelings I am a very chatty person-especially when nervous-so in the first couple of sessions my therapist learned a lot about my life. Not deep dark secretes but an outline of my life; my different dads, boyfriends, age of first sexual experience, all about graduate school and the different places I've lived, ect. We also talked a lot about my current job. Two sessions ago I told therapist that I didn't like going to therapy and that I felt silly. She seemed shocked and was very calm and said therapy isn't silly. I told her I didn't think therapy was silly but I felt silly talking to her. I mean I have to set up my whole life for her so she can know where I'm coming from and how is this really helping? I felt like I should just be able to find a good friend, vent about my life and feel better. But I confessed that this hadn't worked, trying to eat healthier and exercise more didn't work. Telling myself that I'm smart and capable hadn't worked. I still have this darkness, this feeling of dread, when I'm trying to do something that is new to me. Like I've written before, I have this fear of failure that prevents me from trying, and when something starts to get difficult I don't feel challenged I feel defeated.

So, after the "I feel silly session," I went back and the therapist decided to tell me her diagnoses. She said I have a mild underlying depression (and gave it a fancy word I can't remember) that probably started when I was a child (I saw my father die from a heart failure and had to call 911). Unfortunately I had to disagree with her. My depression feeling didn't start until I started writing my masters thesis, then got better and then went up and down toward the end of my dissertation, getting really bad while in post doc town. I remember being a happy child and while I've had a lot of hard things happen to me and may have felt sad at times I don't remember feeling depressed. This is not to say that my life up until graduate school didn't create this poor way of dealing with stress that I'm just now having to deal with, I just, didn't think I was depressed as a child.

So I feel a little weary of my therapist and am not sure how much it's helping. She was receptive to my comments and said, well, then we will have to deal with this issue.

I've started two new projects that I'm now the project manager on because-oh yeah didn't I tell you- my supervisor has quit for a new position. So here I am again being given a new project where I'll have little supervision and I'm going to have to learn new things. Yesterday I had that same feeling of trying to do something I don't know anything about and feeling stressed that I don't have the "consulting time" to do it and so instead of just busting some ass and doing things I feel like I shouldn't even give it a try.

I really wish I had a magic wand that could just make this feeling go away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I should have done a follow up post many weeks ago but have been putting if off. Well I'm going to put it off again. I have another therapy session today and I'll post later this week (hopefully) about how it's going.

In general, I hate talking about my feelings so therapy is pretty lame but I'm sure it will help in the long run and positive it won't help in the short term-these things take time.

The therapist I ended up choosing is well, old, but she seems sweet and nice and I'm comfortable talking with her but I keep wondering if it would be better to get someone who might understand me more-but then I think of all her experience and how that might be helpful, and I think about having to do the start up appointments with an entirely new person and that well, sounds lame.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Imposter project

A quick update, the internal draft of the final report for the project I've written about the last two post is due on Friday, to my PI. I've worked really hard on it these past two days and am proud of myself but it still has a lot more that needs to be done.
I'm so burnt from Monday and Tuesday 10 hour days that my brain is having trouble starting this morning. It's 830am now so I'm allowing myself to goof off and drink coffee until 9am.

Life has been pretty busy, I'm training for a half marathon and think I overdid it on sunday with my 8 mile run that included hills. We ran for 100 minuets. To date my longest run had been 60 minuets. The training plan called for a 6 mile run but the race is mostly hills so we wanted to include some hills in this run and since we left from my friends house to the hills it turned out our run became 8 miles. Lesson learned my quads are so sore!

I'm also practicing rugby on Tuesdays, going to yoga on Wednesdays and trying to climb at the indoor gym at least one a week, ideally twice. With this project taking over my life climbing is the first activity to get cut.

My mom is buying a manufactured home and we have been waiting for escrow to close for the past month. Now it is scheduled to close on Thursday, which is exciting but my week is already so busy with this project and during the week-end I was hoping to catch up on life and climb and run and Sunday we are going to the near by city for a major wine tasting event . . . . Oh and Saturday was a rugby tournament I wanted to go to . . . looks like I'll be moving my mom instead. Small price to pay to help my mom end her life of renting. She has to be out of her rental by July 12, and next week-end is Forth of July. I'm hoping she will be able to wake up in her new place on Sunday, even if we don't get everything moved in time.

The major news in my life is that I'm going to see a therapist today. I went to my primary doctor (who I had only seen once) and mentioned that I think I might have depression but wasn't sure how to choose a therapist and what the best plan of action would be. This imposter project has brought back a lot of the bad habits I created for myself while writing my dissertation in postdoc town. My husband is finally concerned; all the times I thought I might have depression in postdoc town my husband always shrugged it off and told me just to get stronger, i.e. suck it up. I always thought this would work but I kept gaining weight and kept feeling unhappy and kept watching online TV instead of working.

What kind of suprised me was that I told the doctor I didn't want to take any medicine and she was very pro-meds. Although I see her points I really want to try and aid my mental state first by seeing a therapist and possibly identifiying my issues first. She stated that a really small dose can increase your saratonines and aid in the healing process, she also said my therapist and I might get to the point where they decide a drug is needed. My husband is also anti drugs, I think mostly because his mom is bipolar and he sees how the medication changes her.

This week is really busy but I'll aim to post something next week to keep anyone who is still reading this updated.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All is well that ends well

Turns out I am not an imposter.

Last Tuesday I had that phone meeting, which I think went well, and it led to another phone meeting that happened yesterday with the same client*. The day before, on Monday, I had a nice meeting with my PI about the project. The client meeting was going to be an update on what had been done on the project and what was still left to do. I organized my thought for this meeting in a power point form. Initially I was writing things down on a notepad but I just love power point. I got to make the font black for things we had finished and blue for aspects needing further work. I color coded slides by task. This was how I would organize my thoughts for many of my meetings with my Ph.D. adviser (those also included plots, this one was just text since the client wasn't going to look at it). It worked nice to have this powerpoint because this is what I showed to my current PI, and he added text and his own thoughts into it while we talked.

The meeting with my PI was so great!! I really needed to be brought back down to Earth on this project. I now feel I have a good list of tasks I can complete and told my PI I'd like to do this again in two weeks-to again organize myself.

Then the client meeting went into a lot less detail than I had thought. We had a nice discussion and I think I impressed him at times, which is good.

Turns out we should have a finished product for the client to review by July 1st. Although it might be tough to meet this deadline I am very excited to have a deadline, I work much better when I have a schedule. Today, however, I'm taking a break from this project but Thursday and Friday I'm going to get a significant portion finished. I'm really excited about the work and happy to be excited again about doing it.

**client might be an improper term here. When I say client I mean the other consulting firm we are subcontracted to work for. The both of us are working for an actual client.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm an imposter!

Friday I was up North helping one of our field offices move. He was in a space too big for just him and my company is trying to save money. They made him find something 1/4 the price. I decided to go there and help since 1) my PI mentioned they were looking for volunteers and 2) it is where I'm from and where my family lives and I was overdue for a visit. This background was just to say that I wasn't in the office Friday but I later saw I had a voice mail from another company we work with and they want to talk about the progress of a particular project that I am now the project manager on.

More background: We recently had an employee quit. He left under good terms for a better job. Him and I were working on this project together, just us, and we hadn't gotten very far by the time he left. I by default have been given this project. It's a rather large project involving no field work. I've only been given little bits and pieces of information about the project and in general when I work on it I feel greatly overwhelmed by the vastness of what needs to be accomplished. I've cut it down into little tasks but all of them are related so when I work on one tasks I read something interesting and get distracted on another tasks. The employee who left has been working in the area for 8 years and did his undergrad and grad work in the area. He was the perfect candidate for this job due to all the knowledge he had about the field area, ect. My role was to aid in his assessment but compiling data, making plots, ect.

As I said I feel very lost but don't even know the right questions to ask to get me on track.

I have a great fear that I am going to sound like an ass on the phone on Tuesday and have been sitting at the computer today trying to piece something together that I can talk about, some kind of update to let this other company know how I am doing. But in all the time I've been sitting here I haven't even opened a file yet about the project.

I fear that my fear of failing is causing me to have a fear of trying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Wednesday night I came down with a sore throat. It prevented me from going into work on Thursday and then, on Friday, I only worked a few hours. My employer has asked that we don't come into work sick so instead of my long Monday morning commute I stayed home and went to the doctor. I only have a sinus infection, although one that has given me a terrible headache, face-ache and greatly reduced my energy levels, and one that the doctor said is still contagious. Thus I stayed home from work again today. I have work I could be doing from home but it's work I'm not very excited about so I've been using my sickness as an excuse to watch tv. I've caught up on all my favorite shows and even some of my not so favorite shows. I'm home now at 6pm, having an insatiable thirst and wishing I had the motivation to work some of this hated project. I keep telling myself tomorrow will be better but likely it won't. I think tomorrow should be another stay home day and Thursday I will go into the office. Friday I'm scheduled to help one of our other offices move, since he is located near my family and I needed an excuse to go there anyway to visit.

Overall I wrote this post to confess that even though I am really sick I think I've just been using it as an excuse not to work on this project (that doesn't really have a deadline). Wish me luck that tomorrow I'll get a few hours of work accomplished, and maybe even some tonight.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My job as a consultant

Psych Post Doc's question "why don't you tell us about being a consultant? What are the pros and cons (other than the crazy commute)? Are there any things about the job that surprise you? In a good way or a bad way? Do you think you'd want to do this long term?"

I do not think that being a consultant is my long-term goal. However, I fear that my options are limiting seeing that I'd like to work close to home. In terms of the quality of work done at the consulting firms near my house I’ve been told the one I work with is the best (by outside opinions).

To put being a consultant in context I want to inform you that I did not make a long-term employment goal before going to graduate school. I knew, as an undergrad, that I wanted to help the environment, but did not think about how I would do this. I thought being a soil scientist sounded good. The summer of my junior year I started working for a soil scientist at the US Geological Survey and continued this lab/field tech job for a year after I graduated. I would have likely continued in that group for all eternity, possibly working there and doing grad school part time, had it not been for my obnoxiously charming boyfriend who decided to move to the East Coast for graduate school. During our year apart I decided, "what the hell, I'll move out there and go to grad school." It was this stage that my career goals became esoteric and I just started to study the most interesting thing to me at his department. Turned out I really liked the work so not only did I get a master's degree but a Ph.D. in the process.

Ok, enough digression. I really had little idea of what a consultant did. My interactions with consultants while on the East Coast were people who did groundwater clean ups. My advisor interacted with a lot of consultants, I met many of these at local conferences, and when I was graduating my advisor encouraged me to apply for consulting jobs-stating that I would make much more money in consulting (which is not currently my case). Three of his master’s students that finished during my time there and one that finished shortly afterwards went into consulting, staying close to the University. I wish that while he was pushing consulting so much he would have advised his students to learn more about public policy, which is something I am highly lacking in my current job.

To sum up my job as a consultant I would say this is the process of what we do:
1) Do something marginally representing science, like a quick monitoring program or run some type of fancy model
2) Write a report about all the local, state and federal requirements of this small project you have been awarded and state how the little amount of data we collected fall within (or outside) these requirements
3) Make sure to include in the report all the future work that needs to be done, usually future monitoring or maybe a design to mitigate something, and hope you get awarded to the project to do this monitoring or to work up the design plan
4) Realizes while you are writing the report that you are out of budget and totally stress out and push that stress on to your fellow workers

The pros and cons list doesn’t reflect consulting in general but my specific company and my geographic location.

Pro: A paycheck
Con: We all took a pay-cut a few months back

Pro: I get to learn new things
Con: I have to learn new things in a short little time frame, within a tight budget that didn’t allocate for learning new things (i.e. learning should be done on my own time)

Pro: Everyone is generally friendly
Con: Everyone seems highly anal

Pro: I get to work outside some times
Con: No laboratory work, lots of writing

Pro: The projects we work on are diverse

Con: My boss seems to not realize what personal boundaries are

I just have to saw the honeymoon is over, I don’t seem to like consulting as much as I thought I would. I have to wonder if it’s my particular firm, my mindset or just my general attitude. Working on my Ph.D. taught me that one can spend 6 years dedicated to a project and still not know everything about it. As a consultant I feel like I have three weeks to become an expert on a particular subject. I constantly kick myself in the butt for wasting my time in academia when I could have been gaining work experience. I also feel way behind my co-workers who seem to know so much about the local area and while I grew up here I didn’t study the geology-hydrology-public policy here and fear my knowledge is lacking. If I gained something during my Ph.D. it should have been the process to learn all these new things. However, I became fairly bitter and cynical during my last year and I am just so dam tired of learning new things. I don’t know what my problem is, but I’m not highly motivated at this job.

I should try to get back into blogging more about life/job. This helped me write my dissertation and could possibly aid in balancing my life here. If you know of great blogs written by consultants please pass them along. I keep track of a few already.

Home sick

I stayed home yesterday with a sore throat and an overall feeling of sickness. I'm a little nauseous as well. Our work has asked us to stay home if we are feeling ill due to the outbreak of swine flu. So, I'm home sick again today. I'm feeling better and think I'll go into work soon. It's almost 2pm here and my office near home has two rooms in it. The other two employees are in the second room so I feel if contagious we won't interact much so hopefully it won't matter. I'm also hoping they will go home early. Since I've only worked about 16 hours this week I'll likely go back into the office tomorrow (saturday). It would be nice to work from home but I can't access our network and can't fill out my time sheet.

I reread my consulting post and will post it next. I didn't change it much so the overall mood of the writing is the same.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I've written a post answering Psych Post Doc's question, however it sounds very depressing, likely because I'm not very happy in my job right now. I will read it again soon and see if I can't cheer it up some.

Side note

While I appreciate the great job my husband does in cleaning his bathroom (aka the guest bathroom), I am perplexed as to why it takes weeks (yes as in many weeks, almost a month) for him to return the cleaning products from inside the bathtub to their proper location under the kitchen sink. This is very problematic when I come home in a bad mood and want to take a bath. My mood then escalates since the stupid cleaning products are still in the bath. Of course I am not mad at the fact that it takes weeks and many reminders about putting this items away, oh no, the problem is not his inability to finish his chore but my PMS is the problem.


Friday, April 24, 2009

And now another question

Sciencegirl asked (a long time ago! she probably forgot about it)
"How is the transition out of the grad student/postdoc stage treating you? Are you still enjoying living back home?"

The short answers are great and yes. I love being near family and old friends again and living in this town is just awesome. We get to bike all around, we are near the beach, the weather is always pleasant and all the wonderful places to hike around are amazing.

While at times I miss the freedom of being a grad student it is nice to be done with that. I think the hardest transition for me is dealing with managing my time. As a grad student it was acceptable to put something off and then deal with it when I was ready because I was working all the time. Now I'm on a more strict schedule and I find that if I feel in a bad mood or don't want to write (like now), I'm still stuck at work. Since my work load isn't very big right now it's hard to say, not want to work on something so I move over to something else-as there isn't something else. I also have to bill all my hours to get paid and there is no line item for "didn't feel like working so I blogged," i.e. I'm not getting paid for sitting here at my work desk writing this post. Which is fair. I shouldn't get paid to sit here and write this, but I've created this bad habit while writing my dissertation of inefficiency, and I can't figure out how to change this bad habit. It wasn't this hard when I first started my job, there was a lot to keep me busy and when I'm out in the field I have a great time. So here I sit, trying to find the motivation to work on a project I know nothing about, hopefully it will come to me soon so I can actually make some money today. . . .

I've been putting off Psych Post Doc's questions "why don't you tell us about being a consultant? What are the pros and cons (other than the crazy commute)? Are there any things about the job that surprise you? In a good way or a bad way? Do you think you'd want to do this long term?" I will answer this soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dissertation Town

I'm flying back to dissertation town tonight. I haven't blogged about it yet but one of my advisers is hosting a small (50 or so attendants) symposium of four speakers about a particular subject that is my dissertation subject. He invited me around January to be a speaker, all expenses paid. My work is very supportive and have given me the time off.

It's an hour time slot so I'm hoping a 40-45 min talk is plenty. No one wants to hear me talk for an hour! and I'm sure we will need time for questions and to transition to the other speaker. I get to go first, which is my favorite, and the symposium doesn't start until 10am so it's not too early.

I just finished the slides last night and although I have practiced bits a pieces I haven't gone through the entire talk yet. I'm hoping to give it one more go before my 10pm flight. I'm a bit nervous, but feel confident I have a good talk lined up and an interesting subject matter. I just hope new information hasn't come along in this past year that makes my data seem obsolete, or some background information I know about is no longer valid. I just haven't been keeping up on the subject matter that closely anymore.

Well I'm off for a fun week-end with the rugby gals from dissertation town, a day at the symposium, and two days with my best friend from dt and my godson.

Good times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One small step

Picture this, three professional women are sitting at a table waiting for the PO (project operations) meeting to get started. A senior principle (the founder of the company) walks in from his office and selects one of these women and says to her, "Women X, you sure are looking good this morning." Women X is very surprised and instead of her usual, oh thanks, brush off she fumbles for a while and says, "What do you mean?" The principle, of course, doesn't really have an answer for this so Women X changes the subject and says, "Oh you must mean that I got some sun this week-end, my mom and I went for a walk, ect." At which point the other two women roll with this and talk more about walking and the sun and such.

After the PO meeting Women X realizes that this principle doesn't know (or wishes to ignore) which statements make her uncomfortable. After he (I realize this is the first time his gender is stated) is finished with another meeting Women X says she'd like to see him in his office. In simple terms she states that his comment this morning was inappropriate, embarrassing and makes her uncomfortable. Of course she sugar coats it by stating that she knows he doesn't have bad motives for these statements but that they need to stop. He is taken aback and states (in summary) that these statements are professional (just wait 30 years and I'll understand), that these statements are important for safety reasons (need to make sure everyone is alert and their home life is good) and three he will do his best but give him slack . . It takes a while for an old dog to learn new tricks (his exact words).

If you have read my previous post you have likely guessed that Women X is me. I feel better now that I have confronted the issue. I feel like my point was taken, although diluted by his responses. I am worried that our relationship might suffer some. I could tell I surprised and maybe even hurt his feelings, thus I made sure to tell HR about our conversation. I don't want our relationship to suffer but the truth is it was already, he just didn't know about it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a reminder

I've read a few posts now about Spring Break, and I just wanted to remind all the professors and grad students out there that some people don't get a spring break. So why you are all deciding if you should take any time off from your research or catching up on teaching prep (or lab work or admin work, ect), people like me are realizing this is the first year in almost 10 years since I've even had the option of a spring break. Enjoy as much of it as you can!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grad School Advise

Thanks for the questions. I'm going to start with Amanda@Lady Scientist.

She asks, "Did you finish all the corrections for your Thesis? That's one (odd) question. What's your best tip/trick/idea for getting through grad school?"

I could answer this question with a yes and a no. In July I did mention that I was struggling with the revisions but then, in August, I said that I turned in my dissertation (actually had to mail it a few times) and it was accepted. So, of course I finished the corrections. But I would be lying if I said I made every correction suggested. I focused on the main point, which was to beef up the conclusion section and then did the quick and (what I felt) necessary revisions in the text. Most of the small detailed (time consuming) corrections I left for when I revised the chapters into manuscripts. This might have been cheating but it's my dissertation and I knew no one would look at it again, so, yeah I slacked off a little, but am still happy with the final result.

The next part of the question is more difficult to answer, but it's been something I've been thinking about recently. I don't know that I have a good trick to get through grad school but I'd like those people still in grad school to know that they need to enjoy it while they are there. Sure you are paid next to nothing, required to work long hours and everyone thinks your work is really the work of your adviser but this is still your life you are living. Life doesn't start after grad school. Ecogeofemme had some similar advise from a dissertation coach. I kept waiting for my life to begin and while I have lots of good memories from my life as a grad student I regret all the complaining and depression I felt during my last year. Here I am, in my real life, and I often long for my life as a grad student. This might partially be due to my chosen profession. I've been reflecting some about my current life verses my grad life and I miss the thrill of research, I miss the all consuming nature of the job, I miss the academic culture of the office but I also miss the hobby I had during grad school- playing rugby.

In addition to living your life my only other advise is to conmiserate, which I think if you are reading this blog you are very familar with the concept. The blog community really helped get me through my last year of grad school. It is nice to have a support group.

You will only be a grad student once, revel in the experience as it will change your life and shape who you become as a professional.

UPDATE:And if you don't like my advise, see Alice's post.

**Thanks for the suggestions. I look forward to answering the questions by ScienceGirl and Psych Post Doc soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Title Unknown

I just saw on Amanda's blog this list and, like herself, was surprised to see myself on it. A little hint of guilt hit me, as I have not written very many substantial post since finishing my dissertation and starting my consulting job. With great guilt comes great ideas . . . . so I thought maybe the readers could post ideas in the comment list about what you'd like to hear about. Maybe a question I left unanswered in another post, maybe you have some questions about my job, and maybe, well I have no idea-which is why I'm asking for help.

For now here are a few updates on my home front.

-The day my husband started his job* I found out everyone in my company is taking a 10% pay cut. I'm happy no one in my company was laid off-yet I was under the impression that I would be getting a raise in 6-12 months. *Sigh* Looking on the bright side I am very grateful to have a job.

*My husband's job is as an environmental compliance inspector with the City we live in. It is a temp, part-time position but the full time position is now open to non-city employees. We are crossing our fingers for the full time position for him. His background is in mineral physics, having both a PhD and Post-Doc experience. He had to follow up about this job and when he talked to the hiring manager they said they saw his application and thought it was a mistake, as he is way overqualified for the job. Then during his interview the hiring manager just kept asking him if he really wanted this job.

-I've been able to work in my town these past two weeks and not commute the 1.5 hours each way to the main office. Life has been great.

-The big boss in on vacation in Chile and he keeps checking and responding to e-mails. Enjoy your vacation already!

-Husband and I have been sick. I am much less sick than him and hope to keep my sickness to a minimum.

-I had to work this week-end, despite asking for it off, and had made plans to see my family/friends that I didn't get to see over the holidays. We were suppose to have the storm of the season but it was a big disappointment. Although, much needed rain.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Turned tables

When I lived in husband's postdoc town I longed for a social life. I was stuck at home all day, writing and writing (really blogging and watching online tv and eating, oh the eating). My husband would get home from a busy days work and be tired and exhausted, while I'd be so ready to leave the house. We would usually have one social outing on the week-end and that would be enough for him.

Now the tables have turned. My husband is now getting really bored at home. He doesn't even have a dissertation to write. He just searches the web for job ads, applies to some. He has taught himself a new operating system and is reading some textbooks about this and that. He is teaching himself to cook Indian food and make Italian sauces (my favorite hobby!). He goes to the climbing gym twice a week, with his friends, and is taking long bike rides and playing Frisbee golf. In short, he has lots of hobbies and is keeping himself entertained but he needs a job and needs more human interaction. His brain is totally bored.

Thus, to feed this human interaction, our week-ends are jammed back with social activities. And I am tired. I'm away from my house two days a week for my job and feel the time I'm here I'm so damn busy but am getting nothing done.

It's funny how I longed for social interactions and now I wish these people would just leave us alone once and a while. I miss my quite time.

So today I opted out of a day trip to a local national park and stayed at home. Sure I met a friend for a run but that was only 1.5 hours of my day. I did some grocery shopping, watched some online tv, organized my pants (still not happy with the organization), called some friends and was looking forward to making Indian sweet potato soup and corn muffins for dinner. Yes looking forward to. Husband comes home and declares we are meeting friends for dinner and tomorrow there is a bbq.

When will the obligations end!

I feel like skipping out on the bbq tomorrow but don't want to be a party poop. I'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Checking In

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a productive, healthy and happy 2009.

I also wanted to let everyone know that even though I haven't been posting I've been reading and keeping up to date on your lives.

Here is a quick update on me

  • boss has told me I look pretty twice, first one I shruged off due to the holiday party, second one made me uncomfortable (and I wasn't even looking pretty, very frumpy looking), next time I am going to have to speak up.
  • other than that work is going well, still only working about 25 hours a week. The commute was dragging on me but I was able to not commute during the holiday week and I feel refreshed.
  • one of the two special journal articles has been completely accepted, no more revisions! Still to hear back on the other article.
  • still working on manuscript from "long-ass" time ago: we know which journal to resubmit to, I just need to incorporate a co-authors suggestions (hope to finish this week-end)
  • still working on manuscript from masters thesis: the pregnant student ran my samples (yeah!) but the data doesn't agree with previous analysis (b00) still need to solve this problem before I can finish the revisions (double boo)
  • I'm going to speak in my sisters class about my career next week. She is in 7th grade. Should be fun, hope I don't embarrass her.
  • husband still looking for a job, no leads yet
  • my husband is the happiest I've see him in 7 years
  • I'm loving being back here on the west coast