I hope you are all having a good holiday. I have been feeling a bit depressed lately because of my never-ending job search and a few health issues. This morning when I got up and went into the dining room, I saw this:
A table full of presents!
Seeing this put a smile on my face and lifted my spirit. Admittedly, I put 7 of them on the table last night because they were from me to my husband. Four more were from family and the rest were from my husband to me! This is what we got:
Good books, music, a movie, a computer game, candy, and a story that my husband wrote for me. Wow!
I have been very busy at work for the past several weeks. I have been working about 65 hours per week which is way too much for a post-doc position. I can see working 45 hours a week; even 50 hours wouldn't be too much, but 65 is not okay with me. Usually by the time Friday comes around, I feel sick from fatigue. But I just keep on going and I work on the weekends, too.
Anyway, that is mainly why I am not posting much on my blog. When I have the time to post something, I'm just too wiped out to even think of anything to say. The only reason, I am able to post something here tonight is because I only worked 6 hours this weekend. That was all that I could take. If the boss gets mad because certain things did not get done, then so be it.
My job search is ongoing. I applied for a position several weeks ago and made it to the interview stage, but was not selected for the position. That is the story of my life since I got this Doctor degree. I'm starting to think that I made a big mistake in getting this degree. It cost me too much money and I'm not getting much in return. It doesn't help that the economy tanked the year before I graduated, but I really thought that my education and degree would be valued and that I would have at least one job offer by the time I graduated. At least that is the propaganda that I was given before I entered the degree program and that I heard throughout the entire time I was in the program.
Most of the other graduates of the program have found permanent jobs, although there are a few (maybe one or two) that have not. Those that graduated after the economy tanked have found jobs (with the exception of the one or two). I can't help but compare myself to the other graduates, so I have been wondering why me? Not enough experience? I think that might be true for the industry positions that I have applied to and for the one position that my former co-worker and I both applied to and he got it because he had 30 years of experience. For the rest of the positions the "not enough experience" excuse is bullshit. I suppose all of the other graduates of this program had enough experience? The majority of positions that I have applied to have required either my complete work history since I graduated from high school or all of my college transcripts or both. They can't ask me what my age is, but they can sure figure it out by looking at my work history and my transcripts. I think I am experiencing age discrimination. So, there you have it; I've said it. Can't prove it, but I think that's it. Is there any employer out there that is willing to prove me wrong?
or is it "De-conditioning"? Due to insurance changes and going without insurance, I've had about 6 different doctors over the last 11 years. When I tell them I think I'm out of shape, they have all said it's de-conditioning. Why are doctors using this term rather than just saying to their patients that they are out of shape and need to exercise. Are they afraid of being politically incorrect?
The following is a conversation between my doctor and me. It doesn't matter which doctor; it's been the same conversation every time.
Me: I think I'm out of shape.
Doctor: It's de-conditioning.
Me: I think I need to exercise more.
Doctor: It's de-conditioning.
Could the failure of doctors and other medical professional to talk about the issue with their patients possibly be contributing to the increasing numbers of Americans that are out of shape, overweight and/or obese?
Well, I'm not waiting for a doctor to tell me I need to exercise. I don't really need to lose more weight; I lost 20 lbs during my last year in my doctoral program and I have never gained it back. But I am very out of shape. So, today I started walking around the building where I work. I walked around the building three times for a total of 15 minutes. The hardest part about doing it is just getting up from my chair and getting out of the building. But, once I'm out there, I don't want to go back inside.
I am not going to be applying for any more jobs right now. Most of the jobs that I have had throughout my life have come to me from people that I either knew or had some connection to. I should have at least gotten an interview for the most recent position that I applied for; the people there knew me. But I didn't even get an interview. It could be my age or my varied work history or who knows what. While I work to figure out what is wrong and what I can do about it (if anything), I will keep an eye out for job opportunities, but will not actively apply for anything for now.
I made the decision a couple of weeks ago that I am not going to get a laptop for now. At the end of August, I will lose my health insurance, so I am going to use the money that I saved for the laptop, for my asthma medicines instead. I have enough money to get 2 months worth of medicines and I will just keep saving to have enough for 3 and 4 months and so on until I can get insurance.
I am also working on cleaning up my blog a bit. There are a few posts that I don't like and will most likely delete them as I have done with a couple already.
There is an additional thing that I have to do that I forgot to put on the list in my last post...I have to write the content for a website describing my research project. The PI wants the content to look like a journal article with an introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion. It is due tomorrow. I worked on it for about 2 hours on Friday. About 10 minutes after I started I realized that it would be impossible to write a "journal article" in just a few hours. So I am trying a different approach. I will instead put up the title of the grant with the project description, project introduction, research objectives, brief summary of materials and methods, and some results (maybe a few tables). Unfortunately, the project description, introduction, and objectives will all be copied and pasted from the work plan, but that will have to suffice. I have so much data, that it will take hours just to put some of it into a form that can go online. I told the PI that I was uncomfortable with putting data and results online before it has been published, but she said it doesn't really matter. Maybe not to her, but it does to me. Anyway, that is what I am dealing with this weekend.
I was hoping to leave work at 5:00 pm today, but 10 minutes ago, the boss came in and made a request. She said "Make a list of all of the ornamental host plants that are susceptible to TSWV and then go to Lowe's and see which ones they have and buy some. Do this RIGHT NOW, TODAY". OMG....
...to calm down. She came into the lab this morning in a panic, saying that we needed to spend $50,000 by June 30. She told me to stop what I was doing (my data analysis) and start ordering stuff immediately. She started shrieking and circling the lab bench and saying that today, right now, I had to order a laptop, a water shaker incubator, a refrigerator, 5 cases of petri dishes, and whatever else I could think of.
I am having some problems with high blood pressure because of all of the stress I am experiencing due to stuff like this. Every day there's a crisis over something. So, this morning I took a deep breath and told her to calm down, have a seat, let's do the math, we've already spent a lot of money, I don't think its $50,000. I got out our budget and went over it with her. As it turned out the amount that we had remaining to spend was $6000. So she calmed down and then went off to her other lab. And I was left to deal with trying to calm myself down.
I shouldn't be doing the ordering at all. I am suppose to be doing my research 100% of the time. But she asked me to take on most of the lab management duties because the person that she hired to do that isn't fit for the job. So, now I'm practically doing the work of two people. I work every day. Monday to Friday, I work about 10.5 hrs a day and on weekends I work about 6 hrs a day. I don't take breaks and I don't get paid for overtime.
I need to get out of this job. A person can only handle stuff like this for so long. One post-doc in the lab is leaving after only having worked for a few months and another one that hasn't been in the lab very long is actively searching for another position. I wish I had the time and energy to conduct a job search, but I don't. I feel stuck.
This experience hasn't turned me against doing scientific research. I love science and I love doing research. I just need to be doing it somewhere else. It will be very interesting to see what the future brings for me.
It has been a long time since my last post. I have been super busy and have been doing some traveling for my job. I enjoy the traveling; it seems to help reduce the stress of being in the lab. However, either my job is not as stressful as it was or I am learning to handle the stress better. I have been doing yoga, so maybe that's helping.
A major reason that I haven't been posting here is that I don't have access to a computer at home. Notice I didn't write that there is no computer at home. There is one at home, but it belongs to my husband and he is always using it. I can now afford to get a laptop, so I'm starting to look for one.
I'm still at my post doc position. I haven't applied for any jobs in the last several months, but I'm going to have to start looking again. I stopped looking for several reasons: I got too busy with my post doc job, I got tired of fighting for the computer at home, and I just got tired of looking for a job.
I have things on my list that I would like to blog about, so I hope I can find a laptop soon. Thank you for continuing to visit my blog even though I haven't been posting.
My job is so stressful that I have been thinking about ways to decrease my stress, especially at work. Today I had lunch in my car. I parked it at the end of the parking lot facing a grassy lawn area with pine and oak trees. It was quiet and peaceful; nevermind that the grass was brown because it's dormant.
As I sat there eating my lunch, I remembered another time long ago, that my sister, my niece (who was a toddler then), and I had a picnic at a park. It was a beautiful Southern California summer day. We spread a blanket out on the grass, got down, and started to eat. We were soon joined by birds; maybe about 6 of them. They wanted some food of course.
I've never thought it was a good idea to give human food to wildlife, but on that day, I threw them some crumbs from the biscuit that I was eating. There was one bird in particular that seemed like it was looking at me a lot. I decided I would see how close the bird would get to me, so I put a crumb not too far from where I was sitting; maybe about 1 meter away. The bird hopped closer and took the crumb. I kept decreasing the distance between me and the food, and within 5 min that bird was eating out of my hand!
A few more crumbs and that sweet little bird had its fill. It looked at me and flew off. A few minutes later it came back, landed very close to me and dropped something on the grass right next to me. It looked at me again and then flew off for the last time. I looked down at what was laying on the grass. I picked it up. It was a piece of pink yarn; about 6 cm in length. It was in perfect condition; it wasn't frayed or anything. What a gift! And from a wild bird! Wow!
I kept that piece of yarn for a long time. I wonder what happened to it...
I am working my way towards accomplishing my New Year's Resolution. I knew that I would not be able to all of a sudden start going to bed at 11:30, so I have been gradually going to bed earlier and earlier. I think I will be successful with this resolution.
I still haven't heard anything about the job that I interviewed for, but I think I will not be selected for the position. This is not negative thinking; this is realistic thinking. I am basing my realistic thinking on several things, most of which involve the fact that I was not at my best or even close to my best on the day of the interview. It wasn't just an off day for me; it was a stressful day following many previous stressful days and weeks. Things that were causing me stress on the day of the interview are as follows:
1. I had just started a new job and it was/is a very stressful job. The PI is a self-acknowledged Drama Queen and so our lab is either always in crisis or recovering from a crisis.
2. There was a lab crisis on the morning of my job interview that I had to deal with before the interview. I dealt with it, but my blood pressure shot way up and I could not get it down.
3. The interviews for most of these positions are phone interviews and so I had a phone call to make. I had planned to make the call from the lab using the lab phone, but I knew that if I did, my phone interview would be interrupted by the recovery from the morning crisis. So just an hour before the interview was scheduled I had to find another place to make the call from. I didn't have enough minutes on my cell and I couldn't afford to get minutes, so using my cell was not an option. So, I did the only thing I could think of which was to go to the office that I used to work in when I was on my graduate assistantship. But I didn't have the car that day, so I ran there even though my blood pressure was sky high.
4. I had just had surgery a few days before the interview and unfortunately, I was having some complications and some pain. Running did not help.
5. I knew one of the other applicants was for the position. He was a co-worker in the same department at the job that I just left. There we were working together and didn't even know that we were both applying for the same job. His phone interview was scheduled the same morning just before mine. I found this out 4 days before the interview. And he has 30 years of experience in the field and I in comparison as a recent graduate had very little experience. I had considered canceling my interview, but decided to go through with it because I didn't want to give up.
So I was a mess during my phone interview and it affected my ability to do well. I did not feel confident during my conversation with the interviewers knowing that they had just interviewed someone that is an awesome person and is superbly skilled in the field.
So that's the way it was and that is why I believe I will not get that job.
Do you make New Years Resolutions? I haven't made any in a long time because I never keep them. But I made one this year. Usually I stay up until 1:30 in the morning playing facebook games, but I really can't keep doing that because I have to get up at 6:30 am. So my New Year Resolution is to be in bed by 11:30 pm. That will be harder than it sounds because I am a night owl and I just get stuck playing games and it's hard to stop. So, we'll just see how well I do at keeping this resolution. I'll keep you posted.