So, the great merry-go-round has completed yet another 360˚ turn, and the the carousel horse I cling to goes up and down and up and down.
The ride stopped just long enough to catch breath and eat more candy floss, but before I had chance to think about maybe going on the tea cups instead, the old pipe organ started up with yet another rendition of the Colonel Bogey March and the whole thing set off in motion again.
That raher tortured metaphor (tea cups = alternative careers, carousel = of my scientific career, not sure what the candy floss is), indicates that we got the grant, and I can stop worrying about money and start enjoying science again (for a year or two).
It also means that I wasted the opportunity to blog more, but the truth is I was too busy (or lazy), and I also started as a temp tech for a couple of weeks. Still the intention is still there, and hopefully my navel gazing rants will be read by literally TENS of people all over the world.
I found this when clearing my bench.
Obviously it dates fro a number of years ago; observe the iBookG4. I stopped using this pretty much 3 years ago TODAY (this may not be true).
The timer is set for 10 minutes and I have some scissors ready. Who know what I intended to be doing. I can only assume an in situ hybridisation as that’s pretty much I was doing at the time.
The other night I had an enjoyable evening last night with a pal and his pals who are artists. Specifically, one of the number practices via the medium of etching. Now his guy, let’s call him Philbert, was passionate about the processes by which he created his art as much as by the works themselves. I was so impressed by Philbert’s love his process that it got me thinking about the relationship that we scientists have with the process of the eperiments we do.
Many, if not most bench based biology or biomedical scientists are highly technically skilled as well as being smart, dashingly good looking and frightfully witty individuals. When you looks at specific disciplines, and electrophysiology springs to mind, the skill involved are, for want of a better word, beautiful. And yet, by and large, most of us won’t wax lyrical about the day to day physical job we do at the bench.
At the moment I don’t know if this is due to the fact that a) many scientist don’t have time or the inclination to stop and think about the experiments other than what it will tell us, b) we don’t give a hoot about such wooly thinking, or is it that c) many of us don’t have the vocabulary to express ourselves eloquently. I suspect that all three apply in different cases. I probably fall between a) and c).
Of course, maybe many scientists do talk in such ways, but just not around me…
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Welcome to the abyss, take a seat. Fancy a cuppa? I’ve got normal, oolong, gunpowder, Russian caravan and a couple of bags of red bush some where at the back of the cupboard.
Last Thursday my contract as a postdoctoral researcher finished, and despite the offer of further funding until June I am currently sat at home, contemplating leaving the house to go to the British Library to resurrect my reading pass. I’ll go via the bank. It’s a busy life.
Many (most?) postdocs will be wondering why the hell I haven’t chosen to keep on in the lab, especially since I intend to stay in science. Some I hope will understand the need for a break. I have produced one first author paper, currently under review, and a couple of other second to mid-authorships during the past three years, all the time trying to get to grips with subject area that I have not exactly massive love for, not have a great deal of experience in. I have learn that I need to love a subject to study in depth. The irony of this being that I am generally known amongst my colleagues for having rather catholic interests. However, I have learnt that, unlike many scientists in my field, I actually have a poor eye for detail, preferring broad ideas to tinkering with the details. Suffice to say my former PI was of the inverse mindset, and despite their being a lovely person, couldn’t easily understand how I thought or went about my work. I’m sure she is right in her approach, after all who is it with the successful lab? However, I have could no longer try and think in a way I find difficult, and so am now cast adrift between jobs.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. I have a grant in which, if I get it, I will be able to work on the stuff I like. Further more, I am exceptionally lucky to be able to afford the time off, thanks in part to a decent redundancy payment (the morals of which I don’t like to think about too much. I did sign a fixed term contract…). And so I have a minimum of three months to do some things I’ve been putting off, or have not had time to do.
Later today I will go the BL, and as I say, resurrect my reading pass. Prior to my PhD I worked (temporarily) at a small London medical museum, and so visited the library as part of my work. This allowed me a long term full access reading pass, and so even though I currently don’t have a position, I should be able to get the same privileges as I have before. Not that I will end up using everything, but it’s nice to know I have the option.
I will also begin to read. I will read to catch up with what I’ve missed during my hiatus out of the field of my PhD. I will read to flesh out some ideas I’ve been having. I will read for reasons I don’t yet know. Should be fun.
Now, how about that tea?
From an awesome biologist friend of mine.
Despite my last rant, I am still working as a postdoctoral researcher. Just.
My current contract comes to a blessed end at the end of this very month, and despite my boss asking me to stay for a few more months, I am leaving to enjoy a period of unemployment whilst I await the decision on a grant in March.
Despite my unemployment, I aim not be idle. For one thing I hope to get back to regular blogs on here. Yes, I will be joining the ranks of people who say they will blog more. Let’s hope I don’t join the near comparable ranks of poeple who say they will blog more, then give up after 4 weeks or so.
My blogs will be about science, unemployment, London, music and pies.
With any luck, I will be back in the science saddle by early summer, riding evolutionary developmental biology hard (this analogy is crap, best stop). By then I will be at full writing speed, and I hope to be able to blog some of my research too,
Stay tuned. or don’t. Whatever, I don’t need your validation. Honest.
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