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PSA: It's cold, buy a Carbon Monoxide Detector.
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cold Fusion
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Going back
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fun with Jackass
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
2010 (33)
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The 12 days of (Lab) Christmas
Friday, December 24, 2010

I really hope there isn't a number 3
Thursday, December 9, 2010

So why don't you have more papers?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picking a project
Thursday, December 2, 2010
November (2)October (7)

As promised: Geeka and A Cow
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finishing something
Saturday, October 23, 2010

A cartwheeling Geeka
Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Classroom got funded, I get embarrassed.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bounty for Donor's Choose
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If I couldn't be a scientist
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

That's not the shape of his head.
Friday, October 1, 2010
September (6)

Glutton for Punishment
Saturday, September 25, 2010

I talk to machines.
Friday, September 24, 2010

World's worst Journal Club.
Monday, September 20, 2010

The IACUC Chair
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hell, I did know then, I just didn't know it until it hit me.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuff Geeka Likes: The Toys Edition
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
August (9)

How I ended up a scientist.
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monday morning crapped on my head.
Monday, August 23, 2010

Naming your equipment
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stuff Geeka Likes: Inaugural edition
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Silent Squee
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In which I come clean
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Having a bad day
Monday, August 9, 2010

My blogging philosophy
Friday, August 6, 2010

Balance? We don't need no stinking balance.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
July (5)
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Hi! I'm Geeka. I've been a scientist for, I don't know, it seems like forever, I guess since I started college, so, like 15 years? Anyhow, this is where I'm going to give my take on a bunch of stuff. I'm usually a little bit out there (that is, I don't see the obvious at the outset), which means that you are probably going to have to deal with reading such topics as: Interpersonal relationship training for scientists, my lab pet peeves, how to get along in business when you just came straight out of academia, trying to deal with having a life and being a scientist, really odd topics for a paper, random stuff I found on the internet that made me shoot coffee out of my nose, you know, (ab)normal Geeka. Why the title? Because at the very heart of me, I'm a virologist, and while I don't necessarily do that now, it's how I view the scientific world.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The past ~2 years have been pretty hard for me. I defended my dissertation, looked for jobs, took a post doc, got divorced, took a 'real' job and then started blogging here.

When graduation was pending, I had a job that I really wanted, a job that I should have taken, a job that I did take, and 2 jobs that I wasn't quite ready for yet. Don't get me wrong, the job that I ended up with taught me a lot of stuff. It taught me how to be a leader, how to not be so stressed out all the time, and also how to have someone trust me and act like a mentor to me. I'm one of the few that really liked her PhD advisor, we have been, and always shall be, more like friends.

I got married a few years into my PhD work. I married someone who was basically the opposite of me. He seemed to appreciate the long hours I spent in lab, and how I loved what I did. When I became a post-doc, however, he assumed that all of the weekends/holidays would stop, and I'd have a regular 9-5 job with vacation and sicktime. I honestly don't know where he got that impression. I explained to him the track that I was on, and how hard it was going to be. Then, almost a year ago, he decided that he wanted something else out of life. He was jealous of the love I had for my job, and how that love was always going to trump the plans that he decided he needed. So he left. And I told almost no one.

I signed my divorce papers the morning of our annual retreat for the department. There are pictures of me smiling and wii boxing on that day. I have no idea what I was thinking.

And I sublimated my anger and hurt into 12 hour days at work, in which I still feel like I got nothing done. I came home and read papers. And then, at some point, I decided that I wasn't going to go in weekends any more.

I loved my post-doc lab, but I needed a change and funding was always an issue, so I started applying for jobs. At first, I started applying for jobs that I wanted, but I couldn't have taken while I was married. Then, during a freak snowstorm, I applied for a job that seemed perfect, and then another that I thought that was really cool, but that I wasn't smart enough for. 2 months later, I got the latter.

So, while all of this has been going on, how do I find balance?

1. Coming home to the cats. I know that this makes me sound like the crazy cat lady, but I'd much rather be her, than gold sequins lady, or too much lipstick lady. When nothing is working, my cat (who is named after my high school English/Philosophy teacher) finds me for a hug.

2. Cooking. It's like having a lab that always works at home. The bad part is that I gained 50 lbs in grad school. I'm trying to go flexitarian and do yoga to help with this.

3. Friends. There are some of you who, through even the smallest things, have helped me make it to lab the next day during the worst of times. There are ones that I have known through grad school that were just there when I needed them. Now, that I'm feeling much better about the situation, there are even newer ones that make me laugh on a daily basis.

4. Learning to be on my own. It might be a side effect of always being private, or backlash from divorce issues, maybe it's from having to be in charge of a gaggle of UG's, but I really, really, have learned to take some private time to myself. I just need it.

What is different recently? I have a job that I feel like I'm supposed to do. I'm laughing and smiling more. I'm not stressed all the time. I have a home that I love. I have a house mate that makes dinner sometimes. I have wonderful friends (even ones I haven't met IRL). I'm not better, I'm not balanced, but I'm getting there.

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Blog Comments

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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This is a great post Geeka :) I'm starting to see a theme emerge here, and I touched on it in my post. Both we as scientists and our significant others struggle to understand immediately what a commitment this life is, and finding that balance really takes compromise by both parties.

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I have nothing profound to say. Just, thank you for sharing this.

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Wonderful post, Geeka! It's awesome to hear that things are getting on the right track. And completely agree that being a cat lady is WAY better than being a lipstick lady (or spandex lady!). But then, I have 5 cats, so...

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Great post :)

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Dr Becca, Ph.D. said:
Wonderful post, Geeka! It's awesome to hear that things are getting on the right track. And completely agree that being a cat lady is WAY better than being a lipstick lady (or spandex lady!). But then, I have 5 cats, so...

Wait, you have 5 cats? I'm so jealous!

Also, Lisa...if you ever need to talk, you can DM me on twitter.

Lady Scientist
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I find having pets helpful in general. Someone always needs to let the dog out or hug the cat, so it's an outside commitment at least. But gold sequins lady could be fun. I'm imagining pajamas...

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So jealous of the 5 cats!

Mad cat lady is definitely better than most other kinds of stereotype.
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