Monday, May 18, 2009

another monday

I've been quiet. I know. There's a lot of stuff going on, but I'm just not too sure what (if any of it) I can share on the internetz.... I was going to write that I'm pretty down at the moment, but really, it's just certain (granted, important) things that have me disappointed and confused. Most of the rest of life is pretty darn ok. Summer has (nearly) arrived in PhD city. I even (stupidly) got my first sun burn yesterday during a great 10-or-so-km walk in the country side with Husband. The major mess comes in my professional life.

I officially informed the administration here at Research Institute last week that I am indeed expecting my first child... for "safety" reasons I've been kicked out (by the administration) of the lab and am forbidden from entering all lab-related areas of Research Institute. I'm officially not allowed to work with anything considered hazardous, flammable, poisonous or toxic (have you checked the contents of a molecular biology lab lately? There are approximately zero things in there that are "safe"). That makes it a bit tough to do experiments. I'm confident that we'll manage to work something out. But it still sucks to be banished from your lab colleagues and stuck alone in a little corner by yourself. On a more positive note, I got a super cool and promising result last week that I want to follow up on ASAP. There are a ton of new experiments just waiting to be run (or finished - I got new samples for 2 experiments last week and should have a few more for other experiments this week) and I think this is a critical point in the project. I just hope I get to do them....

But looking past my current situation and to the future, I also have to take action about those currently postponed postdoc interviews... I just don't know what to do. My PI is pushing me to go interview this summer and negotiate a moving/start date for a very flexible "sometime next spring", but I just don't think I can make those kind of decisions now. And we have some savings, but I don't think a year of two people in the household being unemployed is a great idea. Husband and I have discussed this endlessly, and the consensus we always arrive at is that he will find a job, we will move there and when I'm ready I'll look for something. But I don't want to be the trailing spouse (although, secretly, some days, I think I'd really like that). And what if I regret not going to visit these incredibly awesome places? What if I go and I love them so much I resent Husband and his job for being more important that mine and taking this opportunity away? What if I go and realize I don't want to go there anyway and then feel relief that the what ifs are gone?

So, I have all these thoughts and worries running around my head all day and I just don't know what to do. I think if I knew Husband had a good job somewhere it would help, but I kind of feel like I'm giving up a fairly safe bet for an income (it's not so hard to get a postdoc position, relatively speaking) for the unknown (Husband finds a job doing something non Academic (since he's already tried that route), someplace).

On top of those things, what if there are some complications or the little one arrives needing extra health care or treatments and we can't move on time? I just keep picturing this situation where I take a postdoc job... our housing, health care, etc is all tied to that job and whatever start date I give. And then I figure out I can't start? We'll have given up our apartment in PhD City. Have no income, no health insurance, and a few months old infant to look after. I have nightmares about it. I just don't think I can do it. I feel like such a drip from the pipeline, but I really just can't deal with this right now.

But what if I cancel everything now (with an honest explanation) and if Husband hasn't found something, I re-apply next spring, when I have a better idea of how things are going, what a reasonable time line might be, and where in the world our family will be based (if Husband does find a job in the mean time)? Will I remember anything about the project to be able to give a great interview seminar? Will it just be old news that no one cares about anymore? Will no one want to hire someone with a career gap on her CV? My PI has said he will support my application now or anytime in the future when I want to apply. But I'm worried I'll be letting him down. But I'm more worried that I'll be letting myself down. What if I never go back? What if this is the killer to my career? What if I don't care about a career after all?

This post has been one giant mess. I'll stick it out there anyway, but might need to come back and revise it in coming days. Internetz, I'm confused.


  1. I feel like I could have written this (minus the being PG of course) - I have all the same worries you do about finding a job/DH finding a job/etc.

    I guess I don't really have any advice for you besides try to just take it one step at a time. You can go and visit these places and see how you feel. If you like them, then try to work something out with them (be that lining something up for next spring OR telling them you'll reapply when you're ready). If you don't like them, then your DH can look for something in the meantime while you decide what to do.

    An important thing to remember is that post-doc jobs are really flexible. So, if you line one up now and find you can't move on time, I'm sure they will allow that. As long as your honest with them about your situation.

    Good luck! I'll be reading with great interest :D

  2. Thanks for the comment Mrs CH. I updated today... still not 100% confident I did the right thing, but now at least I acted instead of remaining stuck.... Hope it's much more straight forward for you and your DH! How is his job search going so far? Have you looked into more teaching training options in places he's applying? Or will you wait until he has something to look?

  3. DH's job search is slowly ramping up. He's now applied to four job postings. He will probably just do that until we get back from our trip in August - then he will start contacting people at specific companies and ask about opportunities.

    As for me - I'm not going to do anything much until we know where we are going. I have been looking at job postings in areas where he as applied, but there is no reason for me to apply to anything until we have a better idea of where we are going (and when!).