Sunday, February 20, 2011

Staying Positive

I was talking to my good friend Maggie recently when I finally came to terms with some things that are having a pretty strong impact on my overall happiness right now. Being in 'professional limbo' this year has really put a dent on my attitude. I am in a position that leaves me rather powerless, in a bad job market, and I am playing the most epic waiting game ever while I wait to hear back about applications. Ugh.

For those of you who are new to this blog, I earned my Ph.D in biochemistry last spring, and I'm in a temporary position as a postdoctoral researcher this year. I am supposed to have another year in the lab if I can't find another job, but our lab is having some money troubles. Right now it'd be safer if I could get a new job...and one that at least gets me back in the classroom. The ultimate goal: Professor of (Bio)Chemistry at a 4 year institution, primarily working with undergraduates.

Because of this waiting game, I feel like I can't move forward on anything in the near or far future. I am constantly distracted and overwhelmed, and I release stress in unhealthy ways (ummm...too much wine and chocolate, not enough running!). This is seriously so hard for me!

Instead, let's focus on the good news:

1) I had a great interview at my top choice school. They will let me know sometime soon. I was one of four finalists. If I am #1 or #4, I should hear really soon. If I'm in the middle, I will have to wait until the higher choice(s) make their decision. 

2) Of the Biochemistry positions, I have 100% success on at least getting a phone interview. I am considerably less successful on the Organic Chemistry positions that I am also entertaining. I have three more applications for biochemistry positions to go out, so the options aren't at their end yet. 

4) At this point, the game is about availability and 'fit'. I am confident in my research program (which is REALLY cool and teaches undergraduates critical thinking and chemistry techniques while developing more efficient methods for making new antibiotics!). And, in Chemistry, I'm confident that I have enough experience/expertise in teaching. This is coming down to things like age, personality, gender, and other preference based items. I can only show up and be myself. 

I hope to have good news to share with you soon, but in the meantime, I am trying to do a better job of taking care of myself and staying motivated at work. I'll let you know as soon as I know!

Anyone else on the job market? How are you managing?


  1. There was a three, but I deleted it, creating the 1,2...4 progression :)

  2. I'm a PhD student (going to finish it next year I hope) but my partner is finishing his postdoc. It was 3 years, and of course it is over in oh, a week, but he hasn't gotten another position yet. Like you, some interviews for jobs/postdocs, but no success just yet. It is sooo stressful, because he wants an academic position so badly. I on the other hand would probably take any job (I'm doing some interviews for private industries) because watching people go through the academic rat race is stressing me out already. (Oh yeah- we both do research in biology/paleontology, so not as useful as biochem ;-)) Good luck!!!

  3. Oh and by the way- we might be exactly the same person!! I graduated college in 3 years, and will finish my PhD in 4!! Everyone always goes on about how young I am to be in PhD program (I'm sure you can relate)!!

  4. Life is, at times, nothing but a maddening waiting game. I always think good thoughts for you and your job situation. Yes, you need to get back in the classroom (may be the only thing keeping me sane atm) You deserve it! :)

    I am *almost* on the job market, but I rarely plan for anything past the end of 3 months anymore. I am brainstorming flexible means to earn cashflow, so that I can take care of my health as needed and also be a productive member of society.

    I will win the lottery and pay you to make me a robot body--Win-Win! :) LOL