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Lady Scientist

Lady Scientist is the pseudonym of Amanda, a (hopefully) soon-to-be finished biochemistry graduate student. Growing up in a smallish, southernish town she struggles to prove that you can be both a lady and scientist. Follow her adventures as she navigates her two-body problem, science, and life.

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

In case you’re just joining me, I’m looking for a postdoc position. One of the key factors, for me, in looking for a postdoc position is if my husband, Dr. Man, can find a job there too. We did the living a part thing for a year, which was awful (but was why I started blogging), and I never want to do that again.

In a job where work-life balance is a real issue, it’s even more difficult if you add geographical distance into the equation. The year that Dr. Man and I lived a part was one of my least productive years of my Ph.D. My mind was never focused all the way on my lab work because I was unhappy at home. And, then, when I went to visit Dr. Man, I was always worried about what was going on the lab. It was clear to me that I needed my work life and my home life in the same place. I’m not willing to compromise on that.

But people talk. There are some people who think that I shouldn’t be that stringent (after all what’s six months or so?) or people that tell me that making a career decision based on my personal life is not the way to go. And when I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, I start to factor in what other people think or what they will say. “If I go here,” I think to myself, “Will they think that I’m prioritizing my personal life? And will that impact my future career? But if I go there, will I be unhappy for years?” All these thoughts have been running through my head over the past six months or so. Until I realized that to decide to do something as serious as a job because I’m worried about what other people will think is an awful reason to do anything.

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biochem belle
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This is when you have to realize: It none of anyone's-except yours and your husband's-damn business what decision you make or why you make it. You can never please everyone. Often there is a smart decision and a right decision, and they are not always one and the same. You have to make the decision that is right for you, and if one of the factors is being happy, then that's your prerogative.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Duke University
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I chose my postdoc based on where my fiancee's boss moved. It turned out well for me in the end, just go with what you think will make you the happiest and most sane. Bichembelle makes a good point.

cortig
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We faced a similar situation and ended up doing postdoctoral fellowships in two different cities (4h30 driving distance) for 2 and a half years.
I must say it wasn’t fun and we sure were glad to be finally back together after 2 and a half years :-\

Silver Fox
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I'm with you and Biochembelle on this: it's your decision, reasons aren't anyone else's business.

Evie
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Yea, I agree w @Biochem and @Brian, go w your gut, whatever makes you happy and sane, and its def nobody elses business what you choose or why.
Scicurious

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Sci also did two years of a long distance relationship while in grad school, and was told endlessly that she would do BAD BAD BAD things for her career if she did not move to the ends of the earth for her science (presumably dragging along an unhappy Mr. S or suffering more long distance). But I realized if I wasn't happy, my science wasn't either, and if I want my career AND my relationship bad enough, then I will make them both work. It's your decision and you can't let people pressure you one way or the other.

ScientistMother
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You have to do whats best for you. When it comes to motherhood, I always say happy mommy = happy baby. Whats the saying about happy wife=happy life? The theme seems to be if you're happy with your personal situation, its so much easier to concentrate on other things. BTW - Glad to see the new home, I wish you had announced it on your old blog though, only because I feel like I missed on celebrating a good think with you.

Lady Scientist
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I'm working through making all those decisions now. Someone told me the other day that if some person/institution
decided that I had to not hire me because I decided to make a decision about where to work that would be best for my family, then I probably wouldn't want to work for them anyhow. That's probably true. It's just hard for me to say that I don't care what those people think.

@Scientist Mother-- Expect a post at my old blog in the next day or so. I kept meaning to post something, but some how time always got away from me. Thanks for coming over here :) I'm glad that you're still reading!
styleygeek

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Wow, I totally could have written this post. I get SO frustrated with people who think that living apart from your spouse is a "tiny" sacrifice or that it's somehow okay for a career to demand that. I did it for three years and, like you: NEVER AGAIN. Which according to some people means I'm not allowed to ever complain about my lack of an academic job. Because it's a choice I made, you know? GAH.
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