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Post Archive
2020 (0)2010 (39)
December (3)

It's not "goodbye," it's...
Friday, December 17, 2010

I can haz music warz?
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two weeks
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
November (10)

Interviews, for reals!
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can I get a pdf of this?
Thursday, November 18, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 5: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 3: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN Day 2 (better late than never)
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN 2010, Day 1: a video blog featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Saturday, November 13, 2010

30,000 people is not actually that many people
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a winner, and a cocktail!
Sunday, November 7, 2010

You. Immortalized. In a cocktail.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time for BANTER!!!
Monday, November 1, 2010
October (8)

Your PowerPoint and You
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have I told you lately that I love you?
Thursday, October 21, 2010

So I have an Interview.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's bribe time
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Research Blogging: The Postpartum Brain
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Business Time
Friday, October 8, 2010

That time I was on TV
Thursday, October 7, 2010

What?! Only 300 thread-count and no robe? Two stars!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
September (5)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let me give you my card
Thursday, September 23, 2010

I gotta have some of your attention, give it to me!
Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Science Enemy
Monday, September 13, 2010

What I wish I knew before...I moved to New York City
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
August (9)July (4)
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Dr Becca, Ph.D.

Dr Becca can now be found at .

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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Comment by marguerite in SABOTAGE!!!

So nice to know I'm not the only paranoid one. :-) But sad to know that sometimes "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean their not after you". :-( **Off to go check prices for tiny cam. . .Read More
Jan 10, 2011, 8:39pm
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Best of luck over in your new digs! We'll miss you! . . .Read More
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I signed my termination notice yesterday.

Now, I knew this was coming, and really my boss was incredibly generous to extend my stay into December (and benefits through Jan 1), but it's final; my last day at work is two weeks from tomorrow.

There is no immediate plan in place. With the SfN meeting and Thanksgiving taking up basically all of November, nothing has been settled one way or the other from my interview at the end of October. I have a different post-doc interview next week, and of course, my upcoming faculty interviews as well. I even took action on a Plan B, so it's not like I have nothing going on, but still. It's crazy to know that there's a day in the very near future when I'll just wake up and have nowhere to be. More meaningfully, I will not be doing The Science, for the first time since I started grad school over 10 years ago. It is heartbreaking.

I have only ever been unemployed once before, for about a month after college when I moved to the Bay Area and promptly sprained my knee. It was pretty miserable, but then I was alone--a solo invalid in a new city. Here at least I have J, and my friends, and the physical means to leave my apartment.

Still. I'm so sad because I love my lab and because the time I've spent in it has been so rich and so...formative. I have a lot to be grateful for. I can't let myself get too mopey, though, because for the next two weeks, I also have a hefty to-do list:

1. Polish and practice my job talk
2. Find out how much everything in my lab costs so I can have a ballpark budget ready for TT interviews
3. Revisit my grant proposals so am prepared for chalk talks
4. See if dentist and ophtho can squeeze me in before benefits expire
5. Find a way to get 6 years' worth of crap from lab desk to home (note to self: hire someone? other note to self: pay in....what, cookies?
6. Do something with the brains in the fridge
7. Bake cookies
8. Download as many papers as possible while institutional access still valid 
9. Buy presents for people? PI? Lab Manager? Input, please 
10. Not cry (too much) at going-away party

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damn. that really sucks Frown

As for your list, 1, 3, 4: YES! Don't worry about what stuff costs (2). Money won't come up until after you have an offer, and then there will be new lab startup and reps to negotiate with. DO, however, walk around lab and make a list of EVERYTHING that you use. With catalogue numbers. Take pictures of really important stuff in case you need to show a rep and say "I want this. exactly!" As for 5, good luck. I made several trips, but I had a car. 6: WTF? I hope you mean the fridge at work.

I don't think you need to worry about getting others going away presents. Normally (IME) it is the person leaving that gets presents.

I know it doesn't help much, but you can always ask me (and the rest of the twitterverse) for papers after you are locked out.

good luck!

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re 6 & 7.  Interesting juxtaposition.

I mean my mother made me a cake in the shape of a brain (with anatomically correct gyri and sulci carved in frosting) for a birthday once, but...brain cookies? um...

But seriously - keep breathing. Don't worry about crying - it will happen, or not. Do what feels right. Something's interviews.

(I know that doesn't make it easier now)

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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So sad :( And it's even harder not kynowing what is next! I wouldn't worry so much about papers. You have friends :) I also still have VPN access at Iowa and graduated almost a year ago. Maybe your current institution will be just as lazy. That's another option for paper nabbing!

Prof-like Substance
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You have a lot of other things on the go, so fear not. Concentrate on the potential opportunities and see the short time off as a vacation. Imagine, being able to enjoy the holidays without thinking about the experiments you should be doing, the papers you should be writing or the cultures you are not taking care of!

Genomic Repairman
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I can get you whatever papers you need through institutional access or inter library loan so don't sweat that.  Just email some PMID's and I'll make it fucking happen.  As far as stuff you need in your lab, you ought to make a post to see if you have everything and maybe folks can add some things in you didn't think about.

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You know, this could be the best thing that's ever happened to you. I find that people work too much in the lab and don't focus enough on career development.

A few months away from the bench can be exteremly well spent by networking, writing reviews/grants/papers and figuring out exactly what research you want to do.

Since the beginning of gradschool we're taught to slave away at the bench, but that's not always in our best interest.

Another perspective is that you really someplace to be beside the lab. You actually have MANY places to be. IIRC, you're in NYC, so you should be having a lunch every day with a colleage that you haven't seen in a while (3+ months). In one month, you'll have had 12+ lunches and really have the network humming knowing that you're looking for another position. In addition, you should be trying to find cool/interesting/hot sceince in you immediate locale (shouldn't be too hard) and trying to convince that PI to take you into the group in case the TT options fall through.

In reality, by not "working", you doing a lot much more important things, and after a few weeks, you'll wish that you were back doing the "easy stuff" at the bench.

Remember, this is an opportunity, not a burden or failure.

Lycka till!

Dr. O
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Agreed with PLS - enjoy your holidays this year!! It sounds like you have lots of good things in the pipeline, so give yourself a chance to breath a little bit (I'm one to talk ;). On gifts for the lab, I'd only go there if there's something cute/funny that goes along with a running joke in the lab, something they can keep around to remind them of you - a small stuffed animal or the like. I know leaving the lab is sad, but I've learned the only constant in academia is change. Whether it's your postdoc lab or your own future lab, people come and go. You'll find ways to keep in touch with them all - one of my favorite parts of going to big meetings!

Also, love #6. :)

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6. Do something with the brains in the fridge
7. Bake cookies

Combine this to make yummy brain cookies! Problem solved and high protein food for when/if funds run short

8. Download as many papers as possible while institutional access still valid

Meh, Twitter will get you multiple copies of any paper, and stick it to the man, in less than 5 mins!

9. Buy presents for people? PI? Lab Manager? Input, please

LUL whut? No, no, no, you GET the pressies!


I love expatGL's take on this too. Use this time to your advantage. You have to remain upbeat and positive, or else the unemployment zombies come and get you. You do not want the unemployment zombies coming to get you. This i know.

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Thanks, guys! I like your upbeat attitudes. Lots of good ideas here, esp expat (power lunches) and Tideliar (BRAIN COOKIES)!


27 and a PhD
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Oh my .... this is SO helpful .... you have NO idea how helpful it is. In a few months this may be me, but I'm not going the TT way.That's not important now.

Like Dr. O said, if there's a running joke or something like that in the lab, by all means get it. Do get a thank you card for the PI or labbies or tech(s) who've helped you the most. I think that a heartfelt thank you card is way better than a single gift for each person. But, if you want to get something for the peeps, maybe the lab's fave candy or an "expensive" brand of coffee that the lab doesn't usually get ... those would be cool (IMO).

Sounds like you have a solid plan, and expat summarized it perfectly, sometimes all we do is live in  the grinder and we don't take a break to focus on other tasks that could prove extra helpful in the near (of far) future, like networking, volunteering, consulting.

Even though I mostly lurk and am not well known around here, I still want to send you a big warm hug from my toasty-Canadian office. I feel that great things are coming your way. Take a well deserved break, enjoy the time outside the lab so when you go back you do it roaring like a tiger :-). Best wishes :-)

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Well, I feel like I am in better company now, so at least there's that!

I'm going to be in a weird limbo of grad student but not stipend-receiving next semester. I am able to look forward to it, but am still quietly freaking out about not having a source of income.

Dub C Med School
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Seconded on expatGL's networking suggestions.  As for gifts for the lab, I've always been a fan of "thank you" cards for the people you've worked with.  I don't think you should get everyone an individual gift, though.  The coffee or candy suggestion are pretty good.  Or if you can swing it, shots?

On the topic of brain cookies, you could use them in the place of butter in mixture.  I remember this thing an NYC pastry chef friend did a few years back where he used calf brains in "biscuits" for Fergus Henderson.  They were pretty fucking tasty.  If you want, hit me up on twitter to remind me and I'll go looking for the substitution ratio for you. Tongue out

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I just wanted to sneak one more idea into the discussion that I previously forgot about ... don't be in a rush* to take a new position. Really figure out where you want to go (industry/RU-VH/SLAC/medical writing/sales/etc...) and then take the next position based on that decision. In addition, during the "networking" phase, be sure to talk with non-academics even if you're dead-set on an academic career. It's really good to understand how the different possibilities function and to let other people know that you somewhat interested in alternative avenues.

My gf is in a similar position and she's begining to tap into her network of friends that are patent lawyers/chemists/scientists in R&D/PD/supply/production and it's been extremely valuable. Therefore, even if you don't think that you want to go non-academic ... it's really good to meet with these people to see what options are available.

Good luck and have fun with the entire experience.

*I'm not so naïve as to think that people don't have bills to pay, but this is one of the few situations where I'd really run the accounts empty before taking just any position for salary.


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It's surprising but in hindsight I think I wasn't far off from being similarly unemployed.  I was just in denial about it.  Funds were running out, my advisor might have been able to work it out but never actually said so...but we got some supplemental funding, and then a major grant, so it all worked out.

Can't your PI make you an unsalaried, non-employee 'visiting researcher' position or some such, so that you have access to institutional resources?  And a darn desk, if you are still writing up your projects? I realize you probably don't want to spend a lot of time in the lab where you no longer truly work, but surely this is least he/she could do.

Good luck on your interviews. Sometimes things turn around on a dime in this business.

Candid Engineer
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Love you, Dr. B... something will come up.

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