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Post Archive
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January (2)

*sigh*
Friday, January 7, 2011

Update on crazy
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2010 (45)
December (9)

In need of a break...
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding the "Merry" in Christmas
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Down time
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The pump and science juggling act
Monday, December 20, 2010

But I don't wanna go to work
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rejections
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In reverse
Monday, December 13, 2010

Back in the lab, sort of...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 months of blogging...easy enough
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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Open letter to committee head
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

By popular demand - The Arrival
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to do it all
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cabin Fever
Friday, November 19, 2010

Donation reward - new pics!
Friday, November 12, 2010

Totally non-science news
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why am I doing this?
Saturday, November 6, 2010
October (12)

Bribe time
Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the market - what to do with a priority score
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DonorsChoose - more projects to support
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, the guilt...
Monday, October 25, 2010

Priority Score Confusion
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Working from home sucks; aka "Preeclampsia for Dummies"
Monday, October 18, 2010

Editor's choice
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let the obsessing begin
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DonorChoose - start giving!
Monday, October 11, 2010

Careful what I say...
Friday, October 8, 2010

To dance or teach...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tailspin
Sunday, October 3, 2010
September (6)

Challenges at the bench
Monday, September 27, 2010

What am I really?
Monday, September 20, 2010

A double standard
Friday, September 17, 2010

The Little Lab Bench That Could
Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I'm glad I didn't know before...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Round Up: 8/29 - 9/4
Sunday, September 5, 2010
August (11)

Procrastinators beware...
Friday, August 27, 2010

You don't need no stinkin' permission
Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm still alive, just buried
Saturday, August 21, 2010

NanoKids!
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr. O's advice to new grad students
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Open Letter
Monday, August 9, 2010

What you should know as a new TT faculty
Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tagged?!?
Friday, August 6, 2010

A little professionalism, please
Thursday, August 5, 2010

How picky is too picky?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello LabSpaces!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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Dr. O

After a frustrating year on the tenure-track job hunt, my eyes are still on the prize, and I've learned that sheer will might be the most important quality required for this career track.

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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Awesome Stuff


Saturday, August 21, 2010


It seemed as though everything came crashing down at once - ain't that just the way things always go - so I've taken a bit of an unplanned blogging hiatus for the past week and a half. There's been little time for reflection in the midst of it all - I just kept rolling, knowing at some point I'd find time to come up for air. And this morning has given me just the space I need to organize my thoughts on recent events. Perhaps the biggest of these was a long-overdue talk with my mentor about maternity leave/job search/long term career plans - the what the hell am I still doing here and when have I overstayed my welcome? talk. I was nervous as hell about this talk, and we've both been busy with meetings and grant-writing over the summer, so it kept getting pushed to the back-burner. But I'm almost in my third trimester now, job postings for the coming year are cropping up, and it was time to finally stop putting the damn thing off.

Long story short - it went very, very well. In case you haven't been following my dwindling lab saga over on the Tightrope, there's been a lot of change in my neck of the woods lately. Boss's lab size has been decreasing rapidly for the past couple of years, and we have one more student on her way out the door in a couple of months. All of this change has been in slow preparation for the eventual retirement of my mentor, which I now know is a little more than 2 years out. The combination of a shitty TT job market and not knowing his retirement plans has made me quite nervous, but it seems that the boss has no plans to kick me out on the street with a baby. Not that either of us wants me going down with the ship, but my mentor rather likes having a productive postdoc in the lab. Quite the sigh of relief...

Of course, with a baby on the way, "productivity" is kind of a fluid term. I plan to be as productive as possible between now and Thanksgiving (my due date) so that I can write a manuscript up on my current project while on maternity leave. Officially, I'll be taking 4 weeks of leave, but I'll be out of the lab for 6-8 weeks, getting writing done at home when I find time. Boss is all on board with this plan, but has another idea for my research focus over the next three months. A more clinically-relevant project, begun by a student in a collaborator's lab, needs some relatively simple experiments completed for publication, and boss is handing it over to me for the first authorship...wow.

While fabulous on the surface, this kind of publication carrot presents quite the mixed blessing...with all the work already on my plate, I'm now feeling the pressure to get that much more done between now and the baby. Of course, this new project is a for-sure publication* with an apparent low time investment, while the publication time line for my own project is not quite as clear-cut. But my project...well...it's my project, my future, my little lab baby. I came back from a great conference less than a month ago, my eager mind brimming with ideas for brilliant experiments, and now I'm faced with pushing those wonderful ideas back to complete someone else's work. The experiments for both projects are very straightforward ones with which I have a lot of experience. So it's just a question of how much lab work can a large pregnant woman get done in a day. I guess we're all about to find out; I simply refuse to turn down a for-sure publication* while in the midst of a seemingly hopeless TT job search.

*I've heard this term before - we'll see if this project ends up being as straightforward as advertised.

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biochem belle
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Glad you finally got "the talk" out of the way! The uncertainty of such things is generally far more stressful than knowing the reality-even if it sucks-which it didn't for you, so yay! :) Good luck with everything!
microbiologist xx

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Aside from being totally unable to pick up things from the floor, you'll probably find your time in the lab before the baby comes pretty productive. I know for me, that impending six weeks off lit a serious fire under my ass. Of course my brain sharing blood supply with a second human also resulted in some totally lame mistakes. All in all thought, I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished.
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