Monday, January 17, 2011

The year in review, 2011 edition

2011 is off to a fantastic start. I've been working on this post off and on for several days now. Somehow it always devolves into me ranting like a raving lunatic. It's in the spirit of sharing my experiences with kindred spirits in the blogosphere. Since I haven't found a proper outlet for venting yet, here it is:

I stayed in academia to try to balance the world. I encountered so many brilliant, slave driving, malicious, egotistical faculty during my Ph.D. at top tier research U that I decided I had to do something about it. Otherwise I would just be another whinny Ph.D. student that complains for 5-6 years and then goes off and takes a pretty well paying job in industry, never to care again while the system continues to degrade. (I apologize here to all of the non-engineering readers out there that by comparison struggle immensely to get jobs.) Now I feel like I'm turning into this snobby professor, just like what I was exposed to. I do want to mention though, that I don't find my current colleagues to be such jerks. To their credit, they at least appear to not be bitter and evil. That being said, here are some more of my annoyances thus far in 2011.
I already posted about the accounting error, so I won't revisit that here.

I finally managed to find one adult on campus that does something more than the StairMaster at the gym. So now, I'm routinely getting my ass kicked at a racket sport by a guy that's about my dad's age. That's apparently what happens when one stops exercising for 4 months and gains 15 pounds in stress related weight. 

I think my lab is finally running out of things that can go wrong. The first lab I was promised does not have the proper ventilation. So I'm stuck going into a temporary lab space, less than half of the size of the first lab. To free up space, I had them move the safety shower. The plumbing wasn't reconnected well and the lab was flooded. Luckily there was no equipment in there. Next, they found hazardous chemicals in the drains and had to shut down my water supply and spent several days cleaning it. Not from my lab BTW. Just about ready to go now.
Two Friday's ago, I didn't exchange a complete sentence with another person all day. I leave my door open, but no one stops by, not even my own students. One day I may miss this peace and quiet, but right now I don't care for it. To add to that, I received an email that my grant was rejected about two weeks after I submitted it. Turns out, as I suspected, the email wasn't real. I was told by a tech guy that the email was sent by mistake because they are testing a new system. Of course, I couldn't reach anyone official from that department all afternoon so I didn't know for sure. I finally got an apology on Monday for the screw up.

I asked for a support letter for a grant and got it...with two mistakes. The first is forgivable, my personal education was wrong, which you expect the department to know, but hey it's not their own information. The second mistake was that the name of the grant was misspelled.

The bookstore didn't order enough copies of the book for my class. This is after they first had listed the wrong book for the course, which luckily I caught by checking on my own. Now I have students bothering me about what to do about their homework. What amount of responsibility should I put on the students for waiting until the last minute to buy their books?

Today I'm sitting at home, trying to work on a grant proposal while having a bad case of diarrhea from eating too much pizza over the weekend.

This leads me to thoughts of maybe I'm in the wrong profession. Is it worth the sacrifice to do this? I enjoy science and teaching, and the hope of job security, but common. How screwed over would everyone be if I just threw in the towel? Would I be happier as a therapist, sitting around, getting paid to listen to other peoples' problems. Or for fucks sake, as an Internet marketing analyst. My buddy is making more money and gets to drink with hot shot CEOs for a living.

Oh, and I just got a paper rejected this morning from the 5th journal attempted. More on that later.


  1. For those of you only reading this post about how my lab is running out of things that can go wrong, suck it. We're running experiments and getting awesome data.

  2. Welcome to academia bro :)

    great innit?