Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The thought of having my own lab

When I think about moving back to the home country (which we are planning to do in 1-2 years from now) I think about finding a house, finding a daycare for BlueEyes, shipping our stuff from here, unpacking boxes that we have stored in my parent’s house, helping BlueEyes adjust to living in a different place, etc etc. So it seems comforting to know that I will probably be working as a post-doc in a lab with people that I know (from conferences and from writing a grant together) with equipment that is already there. Dr. BrownEyes and I will be working in the same city, so we can live close to the university. It all seemed to work out perfect (that is, if we find money to support our own salary). But, as I said previously, now there is this TT job in the homecountry that I am applying for. The deadline is Friday and today I am struggling with writing my research statement, after one of the faculty members in my department (not my PI) who I asked for advice gave me lots of good advice, but that meant that I basically am rewriting most of it.

Because there are so few advertised TT jobs in the homecountry, I feel like I HAVE to apply. However, the thought of actually getting the job scares me shitless. Because it would mean that on top of moving an entire family and stuff to the home country, it would also mean finding myself in an empty lab assembling an electrophysiology rig (I have never actually done that!!) and teaching, which I have also never really done by myself. On top of that, this job is in a different city from the other job, so either Dr. BrownEyes or I would have to commute. The idea of having my own lab is fun, but if I actually think about what it would mean I freeze in sheer panic. How on earth do other people do this?


  1. Heh - I know what exactly what you mean. I applied for a few jobs this round because I knew I should (and I really gave it my best shot). Then I felt bad about being faintly relieved to not even make it onto the short lists :-/ [NB I have figured out a different position so was not relying on these jobs working out for employment.] But it is still important to feel like you tried, and to learn from the experience.

    Good luck with your application, and if it *does* work out, I'm sure the actual "doing it" won't be as bad as the "panicking about it in advance". And Dr. Becca is wonderful inspiration!

  2. You are not alone! I only just started the third year of my Postdoc, but also have the issue where we're considering jobs in a different (smaller) country. AND there are two of us, so what is 'best' for one might not be great for the other.

    My husband has started to apply to some of the jobs in his home country, just because he feels compelled. But he has so far been relieved not to make the short list, and these positions are often open for 2-3 years. So maybe next year we'll *feel* ready???

  3. How do other people do this?


    Or, as Po said in Kung Fu Panda, “There is no secret ingredient.”

    The commute, I can't say anything about. The setting up a lab and teaching, though, I have experience with.

    All you have to say to a vendor is, "I'm starting a new lab" and you're their new best friend. Sure, they want the sales, but they have worked with people to set up new labs and can have good suggestions.

    My question is, "How did people do this before blogging and Twitter?" I didn't have those when I was starting, and I think if I'd had, things would have been much easier. There are so many sources of advice now; tap into those.

    It's just... you work at it. You buy stuff. You make decisions. Some of them will be good; some won't. Oh, well. It's a whole new game. But it's a game you can learn.