Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Has it really been nearly 2 months again? I admit, I have been avoiding this blog at all costs. Rather ashamed at my lack of progress in the job-finding department, rather annoyed at myself for the total lack of motivation I've been experiencing, rather ticked off at life's pace and the bumps along the way, I'd chosen to just pretend it didn't exist.

In the last 2 months I have applied (and been turned down, again) for multiple positions.

I also had 2 interviews.

One potential future boss (for a clinical postdoc position I applied for in JANUARY) called in a frantic rush on a Wednesday and wanted me to come visit on Friday, then called 2 days later to change our interview appointment, and was supposed to let me know 2 weeks after the interview what hir decision was, ignores and fails to return my messages and as it has now been more than 4 weeks since the interview with no contact, I am assuming that door is slammed shut. Would it kill hir to at least send a 1 line email? Even "I haven't made a decision yet, sorry, I'll get back to you at some point" would be better than nothing. Why do some people just have no manners? Jerk. I wouldn't want to work for you anyway so there! (Wow, I sound so mature here, people, don't you think?!)

The second interview was much more professional, though, bizarrely, scheduled 6 weeks in advance (see my last post). I throughly enjoyed discussing with all the people I met on my visit to the company, and a quick thank you email the following day was answered with a job offer.... the job and salary are not necessarily what dreams are made of, but, quite frankly, it's the only opportunity anyone has been willing to give me in the last nearly 8 months, I really liked many aspects of the work, especially the people I would be working with, and so, I decided to accept the position. The contract is not yet signed, there are still some details to work out, so I'm not really willing to celebrate just yet, but I am looking forward to a fresh start.

So that's my update... some days I'm still wondering how this is all going to turn out, but I guess there's only one way to find out :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An interview (maybe?!)

I was standing in the dairy section of our local super market last Thursday when my phone rang.... I didn't recognize the number and decided to answer anyway. (Would you have answered or let it go to the message box when you're not in a situation that allows you to have a conversation professionally?) It was a company I had applied to for that sales position back at the beginning of March... they had some questions for me and would it be a good time to talk? um, no. Not in a crowded supermarket with my nearly 18 month old grabbing at my phone from the shopping cart. So I was honest and said no, and could I call them back in the afternoon. We set a time and hung up.

A job call - someone actually was interested enough in my application to CALL ME. Albeit after more than a month, but hey, just when you've assumed you didn't get a job.... I did a happy dance, called Husband and raced home to feed LittleOne and put him to bed (praying he would still be asleep during the planned phone call) and I went to work researching some background info about the company and its suppliers. Turns out it could be interesting. Among other things, they sell very cool live cell imaging equipment (right up my scientific alley...). I was glad I took the time because when I called back, though the conversation lasted a whole 3.5 minutes, I was able to anticipate their questions, already have knowledge about how my experience fits with their company's goals, and fill that time with interesting things to say.

And the next day - I got invited for an interview - in another 6 weeks. This is a LOOOOONG hiring process. Nearly 3 months between date of application and date of interview. Problem being: Friend is visiting from out of country for just 3.5 days and is leaving the day of the interview. I would have to abadon Friend and Friend'sKid early morning to drop LittleOne off with the InLaws and make it to the interview location (we're talking 3+ hours of travel one way...). Plus, when would I have time to get ready? Prepare and practice my interview question answers? Freak out last minute? I wrote to see if it was possible to move the interview to another date, but haven't heard back in more than 24 hours. I'm hoping it's a case of part time workers, holidays around Easter, or something similar that accounts for the delay and not that they were pissed I asked for another appointment (I just said I had a conflict that day and was it possible to set another date). I could make it work (I could make Husband take the day off work...), but I'd really like to be at my best for my so far one and only shot at a job in this crazy place. And I can't tell Friend to cancel her trip. Why, when I have no plans for MONTHS on end, do 2 things have to happen at exactly the same time?

Anyway, it's a chance. Is it my dream job? No, not by a long shot (at least, I don't think so, there can always be pleasant surprises in life...) But, it's the one and only thing I've had a chance at in nearly 6 months. Now, to find something to wear... :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fresh applications....

Sent out a few more in the last 2 days, including one for a sales position I never would have considered, but found somehow strangely attractive yesterday...

Also contacted a life science recruiting firm to try to make an appointment to meet with one of their recruiters so they can get to know me personally.

Also signed up with another recruiting agency that I found out hires for a big pharma in the region.

Will anything actually work out? Probably not, but at least I did more than sit on my butt. I really hope the recruiting firm is willing to set up a meeting with me. Maybe they can shine some light on the black hole that has become my job search in this place.

A side note - reading lots of blog posts these days through google reader, but therefore not often commenting. Thanks to everyone who still pops in here every once in a while and gives me their encouragement. It helps!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

quick check in

Been sick, nasty stuff (nothing too serious, and improving daily), also been very lazy.

FINALLY re-did my CV (again!), modeled after a former co-worker (we finished our PhDs in the same building about a year apart, her a year AFTER me) who just got her first pharma-related job (sales manager)... It's now much closer to my academic CV, much more detailed (and hopefully not too crowded with excess info to be attractive?!). I feel like it better represents me to future employers, but I'm not so sure if they're going to like this version of "me". Then again, they obviously didn't like the more recent versions of "me" either since I haven't had a job interview since last Fall and NONE in NewCountry. So... it's a gamble. Meh, at least I feel like I tried something different.

My new cover letters are also more detailed, and tell more about ME and my past rather than generic future employee they are looking for. We'll see

I sent out 4 (I think?!) different sets of applications today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OK, a more positive post

OK, so with the last post, I got a second (third? thirtieth?) wind (and a nice swift kick in the pants) to DO something about this not working thing again. No more waiting around. Be proactive dammit! So I finally sent an email to my former colleague's contact in industry, and wrote to volunteer my services to a cool company I found locally that runs camps and parties for kids to discover science. It's something small, but at least it's SOMETHING. There's also the nature reserve we visited a few weeks ago that apparently looks for biologist volunteers from time to time... I think I'll look up their website and see if I can find an address to write to. I guess sciencey-type Volunteer activities are better than a gaping hole in a CV right?

Not even the right kind of immigrant...

...yup, finally heard back from the mentoring program to help immigrants integrate into the work force in NewCountry. And I'm not the right kind of immigrant, so they can't help me. What's one more?

I haven't posted in a while cause I've been under the weather. Have this strange headache and dizzy all the time thing going on. Guess this is my initiation point into NewCountry's medical system? Some days I really just want to go home...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Having a down day...

Actually, until a few hours ago it was a pretty great day. Husband, LittleOne and I went for a long walk to a nearby nature reserve that I hadn't yet found the time to visit. It will be so pretty in the spring/summer/fall... right now, it was mostly wet, muddy and bare, but was still a nice change from the same 3 streets of our small town that I see on a daily basis.

Right now I'm super tired and should be in bed (though it's not even 10pm yet, nice huh?), but somehow I can't get myself to turn off the computer and go. I hate that feeling when you're exhausted but you know it's useless to go to bed cause you won't sleep anyway. At least that's what I've been doing for the past few nights. Husband was feeling crappy and went to bed a while ago so I also don't want to disturb him tossing and turning.

A friend from the lab in PhDLand just defended her PhD and is starting to apply for postdocs. She asked me if I still had copies of the emails I sent to apply to labs so I just fired up the old computer, dug them up and read the whole series... damn it, I was good once. People wanted to pay for me to come visit. They used words like "impressed" and "excited" when talking about when we had met at conferences and about me coming to visit their labs. Did I make a huge mistake canceling my visits to all of them? They were all a very long way away... and my doctor asked me not to go because they were planned for the same time frame when I miscarried before. Her logic was that if something happened again while I was away, I would blame myself and that trip forever. I think she was right. Fortunately, nothing did go wrong and LittleOne was born about 6 months after my scheduled postdoc interviews. I could have rescheduled once it became clear that the pregnancy was progressing, but I had a hard time imagining interviewing with a belly, and trying to come up with starting dates and the thought of making a huge international move while apartment hunting, insurance obtaining, daycare searching, and writing funding applications with a newborn made my head spin. I chose to withdraw my applications until further notice and take advantage of the maternity leave I had available to me in PhDLand, while waiting for Husband's job search to come up with something in the mean time... and ended up here in NewCountry (incidentally, NOT home to a single one of the labs I had applied to). Unemployed with with a career break of 16 months and counting on my CV, and no prospects of a job (or a daycare spot) anytime remotely soon.

I don't regret having LittleOne for an instant, and I'm so fortunate that I was able to spend the time in his early life focused solely on him, but I'm pretty pissed about my life some days. I feel like such a loser. I'm almost 31 and have zero years of professional work experience. 31. And nobody wants to hire me now, not even the academic lab job I applied for. Even the grocery stores in town wouldn't hire me because I don't speak NewLanguage well enough to interact with customers. How the hell did my life end up like this? What did I do wrong? Was wanting to be a mom so bad it hurt really such an awful thing? I used to be "impressive". Now, I'm just feeling pathetic.

OK, this was definitely not the most positive, uplifting post ever, but it does feel better to write it out somehow. I feel like I can't talk to Husband about these feelings very easily, because, let's face it, he's 36 and in the same position (except that he found academic postdoc #2 after 16 or so months of unemployment) so whenever I complain about me, he takes it as I'm bashing him. And the stupid thing is, I'm not, in any way. I think he's amazing. I love that he likes the work he's doing now. Sure, we both realize that our finances haven't been in this much peril since our double grad student days nearly a decade ago (and even then it wasn't so bad...) and the future alternates between being a big black hole sucking us closer and closer in and that heady feeling of approaching the end of a long long climb up a mountain where you don't know what's on the other side, but you know for sure there will be some kind of an awesome view that was worth the effort to get there. But in those moments when I can get past that and just enjoy the day, today, for what it is, give LittleOne an extra big squeeze or a energetic tickle and drink up that laugh for all it's worth, stop to listen to the wind in the tree tops or see the birds bobbing in the water at the lake shore, then Life as I know it doesn't look so bad after all...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


...........REJECTED again. This is getting hard on the ego.

Update: Pulled up my socks and re-formatted my CV again, including references so it's now up to 3 pages (I liked it much better at 2 pages). Then I re-wrote (again) a cover letter for spontaneous applications and sent to a promising company I applied to back in December with no response. Maybe the revised version of me will be more interesting?

No response from the mentoring program yet.

I seriously considered applying for a lab technician position this morning with a recruiter for an unknown employer. But damn, if I'm going back to the bench, I could do it as a postdoc at least. *sigh* They'd never hire me anyway with a stupid PhD when they're looking for a technical school graduate. I've had 3 different people tell me in the last 48 hours that they think I should just give up on finding a "real job" do an academic postdoc. I'm starting to think they're right.

And on a totally unrelated note, I got a massive bill from the postal service in NewCountry for import fees on a package I received a few weeks ago.
Value of the package: about 25 PiecesOfLocalCurrency
Amount of taxes I need to pay for that (based on weight of the package! Not even on the value!): 0.45 PiecesOfLocalCurrency
Total bill: 59.55 PiecesOfLocalCurrency

WTF?!?!?!?! I have to pay more than twice the value of the package just to get the package into the country?! Thank you Customs Clearance Service, Import Administration and Commission fees. Fuckwads. Remind me why I moved to this place again? Oh yeah... Husband dearest. He can pay the bill.

Monday, February 7, 2011


So, I looked into this mentoring program for immigrants in my part of NewCountry. Basically, it's a volunteer-based program where they match you with someone in your field who has experience and contacts in NewCountry with the goal being to have advice on how to fit into the job market here and expand your local professional contacts list. So with Husband's help I sent in my application for the program last night. Now I'll have to wait and see. The automated confirmation email said they hoped to get into contact with me within a few business days one way or another. Other progress on the job hunt: none!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Just saw this over at Girlpostdoc's blog. Woah. I think this is what I'm afraid of about taking an academic position. That when the doubt is already there NOW, I should just get out NOW.
Kathy Weston's Story

I think it also fits nicely with this post from EcoGeoFemme.

Update on me: Husband read about a new mentoring program for professional immigrants (that is, immigrants who are highly-trained professionals, not those who make their living moving from country to country...) and sent me the link... sounds really interesting. I will sign up and see what happens. Would be a great help to have a mentor in the business to help coach me on the local lay of the land...

Otherwise, besides my usual (unsuccessful) read through of the job announcements, I've not done much the past few days. Except play on the swings and the slide in the sunshine with LittleOne at the playground. And a bazillion loads of laundry.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another PFO...

Well, I didn't get another job. Another file in the jobs I didn't get folder...

But I updated my CV again... I had taken off my publications list because I thought only academic jobs were interested in them, but then NewMentorScientistLady (who, keep in mind, is a TT academic) convinced me to put them back on. They're no longer in their own section, but just entered under the appropriate job, like this:

2004-2008 PhD Thesis in Molecular Biology, OldInstitute in PhDLand, Lab of OldSupervisor, from PhDLandU
Publication: Jenn, PhD et al. (2009) SuperAwesomeJournal Reference.

Is that ok?

Here in NewCountry, it is also common to put info on a CV that I was taught to NEVER EVER NOT EVER put on a CV, things like marital status, date of birth, country of citizenship, a photo of me etc... But I used to have this:

Married with one child (born 2009)

and this:

10/2008 - 01/2010 Postdoctoral Research Position, OldInstitute (on maternity leave since 09/2009)

so I removed the references to when LittleOne was born, I guess maybe hoping that they would think he was born more recently and I haven't been on maternity leave so long? Gah, I hate hiding LittleOne, I'm so proud of him, and I want to find a job with an employer who doesn't demand that I hide him all the time, but I just have a feeling that potential employers aren't even making it past the first half of the first page!

I found an interesting job ad today too - but it's in NewCountry Language. It would be my first application not in English. I will try to start translating today and ask for Husband's input tonight. I'm scared...

Monday, January 31, 2011


....was a big part of why I re-started blogging. So, here goes.

I haven't done anything productive for a job hunt since my last blog post.

I unpacked 1.5 boxes, together with husband during the entire weekend (that's not nearly enough).

I met a new scienc-ey contact over the weekend, who seems to me, to be THE very definition of professional career woman (academic) scientist mother. Four years into a Tenure-Track position, married to another TT scientist, with a house and 2 kids... Finally, someone to look up to, to show me that you CAN have it all. And it left me feeling like a huge failure. Not only am I not like her, I don't want to be. And that's hard to wrap my head around. She COULDN'T WAIT to get back to her job after baby #2 was born 10 months ago. She gets so BORED at home, she needs MORE in her life than just that. She has more IMPORTANT things to do with her time. She would never subscribe to the equivalent of NewCountry's Martha Stewart Magazine (It was one of my favorite Christmas gifts) or waste her time reading grocery store newsletters for new recipes. She knows what she wants, she goes after it, at work and at home. Me, I thought I knew. I thought I was a "professional career woman (academic) scientist mother" but I want MORE than that. I WANT to spend my time making a home for my family. I ENJOY domestic-ey things like sewing and baking. I get all excited inside when my new magazine appears in my mailbox. And if it's at the expense of my career, well, I'm not happy about it, but there's only 100% of me. I can't be 200% of a person. I guess in order to make room for the non-science-y things that make me smile inside, the % of my time devoted to science-y things has to go down. I wish that didn't make me feel like a failure with no ambition, no life goals, nothing important to talk about. And, in walks more demotivation... It's a slump, a rough spot. I'll get over it. Writing helps. How do I learn to accept the "real" me and stop idolizing the ideal I've been holding up for so long?

Friday, January 28, 2011

A new contact!

So, my former colleague who also comes from NewCountry gave me the name of someone he used to work with that is now in industry. So I gained a new contact. Yeah! Now I need to figure out what to put in an email to NewContact. I want it to be short, with direct questions, but I'm not sure what to say. I have a feeling on a phone call it would be easier, but all I have is an email address. Any suggestions?

That's all I've got though... No interesting job ads in the last few days again, no time to work on any spontaneous applications either.

On a different note, this week/weekend I'm determined to empty the rest (or at least a good chunk of the rest) of the still unpacked boxes from our move at the beginning of November (yes, that's 3 months of living around boxes and I'm soooo tired of it!). I'm tempted to just trash them or put them up in storage because if we haven't needed the things inside by now, do we really need to keep them? But it's a lot of books (we love books) that I just need shelves for, and some summer clothes that I know we will go looking for in a few months time. LittleOne is napping now so I'm hesitant to make noise and wake him up moving stuff around, but really I think that's an excuse...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A not so productive day ( at least not work wise...)

So it's mid afternoon and I've yet to do anything "work" related, besides the daily check of my Reader updates for the local job listing websites I check (how did I not discover Google Reader until this month?!)... I re-visited a job posting I had marked last week and realized that I missed the all so important "Must have at least 10 years experience" section of the job description. Blah.

BUT!!!! I took myself out to lunch today. Alone! I never do that. And it was ok (and delicious)! And then I finally took the time to visit a shop having a huge January sale and scored a pair of jeans and a pair of nice gray pants for 70% off! AND a package I ordered back when I was still living in PhDLand (yes, it's been a long time coming) finally arrived today. It was my first full non-Mom day since LittleOne was born and it was great. Though I'll be pretty happy to see him when he arrives back home at supper time. Apparently he slept in until 9:30am for Husband's mom. He NEVER sleeps that late at home. Guess he's happy there :)

Katie had a great suggestion in the comments on yesterday's post. I'm off to send a few emails and see if I can work some connections. Thanks blog friends. I've missed you!

UPDATE: I did do something work related after all!

1. I searched through part of a database I found containing local biotech companies

2. Drafted a cover letter for spontaneous applications (this will obviously be tailored to each company)

3. I sent 1 spontaneous application

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comment Clean Up

Just a technical question:

Does anyone know how to delete comments from spammers faster than one at a time? If I'm going to revive this place I thought I could at least do some house cleaning first...


Feeling low....

It's been a long time, again.
Yet, I'm still pretty much in the same place in life, only with a new language(!), a new address(!), a longer gap of unemployment(!), and less desire than ever to return to the bench.

Husband, LittleOne and I packed up our home from the last 6 years in PhDLand and, on LittleOne's 1st Birthday, flew to a new (to me) country (NewCountry) where Husband could start postdoc #2 (after an unsuccessful tenure-track job hunt and a loooooooong 16 months of unemployment). One main attractive feature though: it's Husband's home country, where his family still live, and where he is a native speaker. This dramatically simplifies important things like immigration and housing applications. My abilities in NewLanguage are pretty decent, at least on the social level, but I've never had professional experience in a NewLanguage environment. I'm hopeful that my NewLanguage skills will improve with more time spent here, but as it stands, I spend 90% of my time home alone with now 15 month old LittleOne, who is (not yet) the greatest conversationalist. Husband and I speak English together, and I don't yet know any NewLanguage speakers in our new town, so my progress is pretty limited to food ordering and shopping skills and short chats with the sweet grandmotherly lady who runs the little grocery store down the street.

On the job front, I was pleasantly surprised when my work visa arrived much faster than anticipated and immediately started applying for any and all industry jobs I thought I was remotely qualified for, plus numerous spontaneous applications with local pharma and biotech companies. And... after 3 months, I haven't had a single interview. Most haven't even replied that they filled the job with someone else (at least form PFO letters allowed me to close the door on applications and slide yet another folder form the "Open Applications" folder to the "Jobs I didn't get" folder on my laptop. How much longer can I keep this up? I was initially giving myself 6 months, but at the half way point, I'm already feeling pretty low.

Husband's parents took LittleOne for his very first sleepover at their house tonight to give me more than the usual hour-long bursts of job hunting time while LittleOne naps, in order to re-work my CV and re-think my job hunt. Trouble is, I don't know what to change. I don't know how things work here in NewCountry. And until now, I've only replied to job postings in English, and not those in NewLanguage. So at least one way to start is to make a NewLanguage version of my CV.

Why why why does this have to be so hard? A lot of days I love being home with LittleOne, but one crappy postdoc salary is just not going to cut it in the long run in stupid-expensive NewCountry, and I'm getting desperate for some non-mom aspect to my life.

So... I decided to try to revive this blog, if nothing more than as an outlet for job hunting frustrations, and, in an effort to motivate myself more, a place to record my job hunt progress so that I feel accountable for my time. So, bear with me. I'll try to post each time I apply to something new or make some sort of progress in Project GetAJob, and maybe some other stuff in between.

Today I applied for a position with this job title:

1. Regulatory Affairs CMC Specialist (limited 1 year contract)

And I did these job hunting tasks:

1. Updated my English CV for January 2011

2. Re-designed a cover letter template with a more active voice, shorter, more concise sentences, and bullet form lists showing I understood the job posting and how I fulfilled each point

Now, to enjoy a baby-free evening with Husband (whenever he gets home from the lab). There's a little pub down the street from our new place that I've been wanting to try out since we moved here. I'll try not to miss LittleOne too much (and maybe call to check up on him after bed time...)