Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do Nothing Day

Hubby and I haven't had one of these days in forever. We're hardly ever home at the same time so today was a hang out in your PJs, watch crappy TV and listen to the rain come down kinda day. I've done a little laundry and heated up left overs for us for lunch.

Tonight we're headed to dinner (gift certificate from Christmas) and a movie. Just what we needed.

Oh, and while Hubby was sleeping I actually did some writing this afternoon. I'm hoping to get some serious writing done tomorrow so I can still meet my goal of submitting my dissertation manuscript before the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm about to start getting ready for my family's holiday celebration and then hubby and I are headed to nearby state tomorrow to visit my in-laws. Luckily we're only going for the day and then I have three days to relax. Really looking forward to some R & R.

I hope all of you have a lovely holiday surrounded by those you love, or substituted with lots of good alcohol.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tis the season...

I mentioned here that I had some really nice neighbors to go along with my new home. Well this week we've found out just how nice they are.

On Wed we got our first real snow of the season, I worked from home and went out in the afternoon to shovel our sidewalk before it all turned to ice... and it was done, plowed no less!

Today we got our first significant snow storm of the season, DH picked me up from my sister's house and by the time we got home not only was our sidewalk recently plowed but so too was the spot for my car in the driveway! DH's car was in the driveway or I'm sure they would have done that spot too.

To pay it forward, DH and I stopped for gas tonight and this poor man who was pumping gas was the friendlies and most cheerful attendant we had ever met. We gave him a $5 tip (I wish we could have given him more but that's all I had in my wallet) and offered to drive up the road and get him a coffee but he said he was already wired on energy drinks.

So although it's frightfully cold and snowy outside, we're just filled with kindness and warmth in our new home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

5 questions

PsychGrad over at The Blogging Wagon sent me 5 interview questions for this meme. If you want to play along here are the rules and the instructions.

1. You have to link back to the original post
2. You have to put these rules in your post

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I'm happy to play along so feel free to leave a comment if you want me to send you questions, or if you want to interview me, feel free to send me questions that PsychGrad didn't ask.

Here are the questions (and my answers in bold):

1. Knowing what you know now, would you change your decision to leave your post-doc for a non-academic position?

I feel like staying at my previous post-doc was not an option for a number a reasons, however, even if it were you might be surprised to hear (given my recent venting about ANJ) that I still would have chosen to take this job. It's not the perfect job for me but it is a very good one for right now. I am learning a lot, I've meet some amazing people, I make good money and it gives me time to figure out what I actually want to do.

2. After having recently turned 34, how do you feel about your current station in life (work, home, etc.)?

This is a really great question. I'm pretty happy in my current station in life. I am very happily married and I love my new home. I'm still trying to figure career things out but I'm okay with the fact that I still have stuff to figure out. Sometimes I wish I could feel a little more settled (i.e., having the career stuff figured out, deciding whether or not we'll have kids) but I try really hard not to focus on that stuff. I am much more settled now that I have ever been and so I try to just appreciate that.

3. I like Princess of the Universe’s question…so I’ll copy it. Imagine you’re planning a blog-meet for all the bloggers you follow (and who follow you). What city should it be in? What should we do?

My current favorite place in the whole world is Jamaica. I've been three times and am going back again for a wedding next year. We would sit on the beach drinking rum punch and eating jerk chicken. I can almost feel the sun. :)

4. Why did you decide to start blogging? Is this your first blog?

This is my first blog and I decided to start because I was really unhappy in my post doc and wanted a place to talk about it with people who didn't know me. I had been reading academic blogs for a while and thought this might be a good place for me to get some of what I was feeling/experiencing out while at the same time getting advice from others in similar situations.

5.Did you ever end up telling us about your new office colour? Can we see a picture?

No, I never told you. Not because I don't want to, but because the office is always a mess! Yes, I fully intend to show pictures. I have out of town guests coming this weekend so it's a mess right now but next week, I promise I'll post pictures. :)

Thanks for the great questions PG!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So much I want to say...

is unbloggable.

I'm feeling underutilized and the crazy work 15 hours in one day and then be bored for 2-3 days cycle is continuing. I'm waiting for things to change... asking for things to change... demanding in an appropriate manner that things change... while at the same time starting to give up hope that things will change.

So, I'm looking at post doc listings, and keeping my eye out for late posted jobs. I sketched out a grant proposal yesterday (I can't write this grant at ANJ, nor can I conduct this type of research here) and I'm going to spend some time this afternoon working on my dissertation manuscript which is oh so close to getting out the door for review.

I wish I could give details and ask for concrete advice, but I can't.

We got our first real bit of snow today so I'm working from home. I live about 11 miles from work and the roads were still bad when I got up for work so I decided to forgo the commute.

Then I realized... we don't have any shovels here. Left them all at our other house in grad school town and rented all last year so we did not have to shovel. My sister just picked one up for me at the store and will drop it off in a while so I can dig out the front sidewalk and driveway. But seriously, who grows up in New England, moves back, buys a house, and not a friggen snow shovel? What were we thinking??

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm back

The trip was not that great to be honest.

What I really needed was a relaxing weekend away, sleeping in, having some drinks, good food, getting some exercise, doing some shopping and sitting by the fire.

What I got was a not so relaxing barely 2 days away (got there at 5pm on Friday and left at 10am today)
Not sleeping much at all (the heating system in the house we rented was really loud and someone woke me up after just 4 hours of sleep this AM)
Having some drinks but they didn't seem to relax me.
The food we cooked was amazing but we had pizza while out shopping that was gross and so friggen hot that the top of my mouth is lacking a couple layers of skin.
No exercise as it was about 15 degrees out yesterday and so it was brutal to be out at all never mind trying to stay outside.
I did some shopping but the cool new sunglasses that I got for an incredibly $7 are a little too tight and gave me a headache.
I did some sitting by the fire but it was a gas fireplace and I really wanted the smell of wood burning.

I would not say it was terrible, but it wasn't great either. Next year we're going to do a beach weekend in the summer, I think that will be much better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Girl's Weekend

I'm headed to the mountains with 5 girlsfriends for a little R & R in front of the fireplace, along with a little rum and diet coke! :)

Be back Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm being stalked


Ever since Hubby and I moved into our new house we get mail from 3-5 different dentists per week. I've never seen Dentists work so hard to get new patients, we did not get dentist stalked when we bought our house in grad school town. Maybe it's something about the North East, maybe dentists in my state/town are hard up for patients. Maybe the economy is forcing them to branch out to get new patients (i.e., magnets, small calendars, coupons!).

Oh, and have I mentioned my pre-existing, uncontrollable fear of dentists? Yeah, being stalked by dentists does. not. help.

Words of Wisdon Part 2

As promised, here is a continuation to my advice for PhD's applying for non-academic positions.

Again, I'd like to start with this caveat: I was specifically looking for research positions, there are lots of other jobs out there for PhD's but I'm going to focus on research positions specifically because that is what I know. Second, this is based on my own personal experiences so take this advice for what it's worth based on the N = 1.

In this post I'd like to discuss the ways in which you can highlight the skills and opportunities that you've had in graduate school to sell yourself in the non-academic world. I compiled a list from the cover letters I wrote for jobs that showed interest in hiring me (and the one I accepted and current have).

1. Research experience: PhD students have a wealth of research experience, using different experimental and statistical methodologies.

  • Sell these as experience thinking creatively and being detailed oriented.

2. Collaboration: PhD students typically work with a lab full of people, research advisors, fellow grad students, undergraduates, post docs etc.

  • Sell these experiences as working well in a team. Successful interactions with individuals of various skill levels.

3. Conference Presentations : PhD students are encouraged to present their research at annual conferences.

  • Sell these experiences as perfecting your oral and written communication.

4. Teaching

  • Developing the skills necessary to discuss research and other professional topics for various audiences.

5. Lab Manager

  • Managing individuals and projects in an organized manor that allows you to be the driving force to move projects forward to completion.

These are the things I highlighted in my cover letters and that interviewers mentioned being impressed by during my interviews. I hope others find these helpful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Down to the wire

This is 2nd in the list of posts that I've had sitting in my drafts folder waiting to be written.

Last week I worked 15 hours in one day to get something written before a major, non-negotiable deadline because someone else decided (that morning) that what I had originally proposed was not what they wanted but that I had to turn in something completely new (and is not my area of expertise) by the deadline. To say that I was (and maybe still am) resentful and pissed off is an understatement.

I know that some people work well under pressure (or claim to anyway) or wait until the last minute because that is just their way. I know that sometimes things take much longer than expected and that's just the way it is and so one must work until the deadline because there is no other choice.

I am not one of those people and I avoid situations that put me in that position as much as humanly possible. Close to the deadline (as in 4 minutes prior) I was shaking, my heart was palpitating and really I just wanted to say screw it. But I had worked so hard all day that I couldn't just not do it. So I finished up what I was writing and submitted it at the exact deadline!

That night I didn't get to sleep until after 3am because I was so keyed up and the next day I was useless because exhaustion from the stress and late night the day before set in. I would never put myself in this situation so I found myself wondering why the hell I would let other people do this to me??

I've let me supervisors know how much I hated that experience and that it's not something I can really do again but they are not the one's who set up that situation to begin with so I don't think they'll have a tremendous amount of control over it happening again. So I guess what I'm saying is that ANJ isn't quite as awesome as I thought it would be and that if these sort of situations become a norm then I won't be here for long, which makes me sad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nice Neighbors

This is the first in a series of posts sitting in my draft box. I've had ideas for posts but no time to actually write them so I title them and put them in my draft box to get back to later.

Anyway... the week before Thanksgiving I had a neighbor stop by with a really nice housewarming gift. Neither DH or I had met these neighbors before so I was really touched at the thoughtful gesture. It was a really cool basket with a beautiful flower, a few different types of candles, hand lotion, dish towels, wine, diffuser kits and a kitchen note pad. Of course with the cold weather settling in we haven't even seen these people again to thank them ( I answered the door when she dropped it off and was appropriately gracious).

With the holidays coming up I thought it would be nice if we could do something for them but we know nothing about these people. Other than they're very generous and thoughtful... so I thought I'd ask for suggestions.

In the past I've made baked goods for neighbors (cookies or little cakes) and included gourmet coffees or teas, made up gift baskets for the kids with little games, bought them a movie w/ microwave popcorn and movie sized candy boxes for a night in at the movies, or gave them a couple of bottles of wine they liked. But I knew these people fairly well so I had an idea of what they would like whereas I would just barely recognize these neighbors if I saw them.

So, any ideas?? If you were them what would you like?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm 34 today. I don't get all caught up in getting older, for some reason it doesn't phase me the way it does other people. Although I know when I was 19 or 20 that 34 seemed pretty old, it doesn't seem that old now. :)

We celebrated on Saturday with a Mexican dinner with my family. It was really fun. DH got me diamond earrings!!

Today I'm at work and will just have a regular dinner with DH. I'm happy with that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I have not disappeared

I am just really behind in Blog posting and Blog reading. I have over 150 posts in my blog reader and I haven't posted anything myself in at least a week.

With the holiday preparation last week (feeding 11 people and hosting 4 overnight guests) and work stuff (that kept me working for 15.5 hours on Monday) I have not yet caught up. So don't be surprised when I comment on your posts from last week. Oh, and I have few blog posts I've been meaning to write as well so there will be more to come.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Small Rewards

I had an insanely busy weekend, an event Sunday night and last night and today I am just exhausted but have to work and plan for Thursday. So, I decided I was going to catch up on my blog reading as a reward for doing the really boring task I have to do today (proofing a gigantic spreadsheet). I am going to read one blog post in my reader after every column. We'll see how long my eyes hold up.

What rewards do you give yourself to help you push through when you're tired and the tasks are tedious?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

12 hours of meetings anyone??

Our "retreat" (we'll save the debating of whether a meeting in a conference room in the office down the street from our main office counts as a retreat), began today. We met for 4 hours today and we'll meet all day tomorrow.

So far it's been a good process. I really hope we're able to follow the work plans we laid out today for the rest of the year. If we can, I think this will alleviate many of the stressors we currently contend with. We can plan for our major projects, but it's in our contract that we'll take care of these other tasks that can appear at any time without notice, and most of them include a very tight deadline (i.e., "in 2 hours", "by the end of the day", when it came in at 2pm). As you can see those are very hard to plan for, but I think that having a solid plan for the things we know we have to produce will help us handle these other tasks with less stress and anxiety. Sorry to be so vague, it's hard to elaborate without spoiling my anonymity.

Tomorrow is mostly going to be a focus on quality control, which is necessary but could possibly be the most boring way to spend 8 hours, ever! I do look forward to the catered breakfast, lunch and cookies! Wish me luck for not falling asleep at the conference table.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Here is my Thanksgiving Menu so far: anything I'm missing?

Stuffing with cranberry, walnuts and cheese
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Chocolate Cream Pie
Pumpkin and Apple bread
Apple pie
Pumpkin Pie

Any favorite recipes that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time to grow up

Apparently, to my DH grown up = new, matching furniture. So, today he and I went to the furniture and bought a new couch and dining room set. Here is the couch.
The funny part is that although it's a sectional, it might just be too big for our living room so the chaise may have to be separated. He's always wanted a sectional and I thought this was really pretty so be it.

And here is our dining room table/chairs and server (I already have a china cabinet, much to DH's dismay I refused to buy the "matching one").

We bought 2 extra chairs so we'll be able to seat 8.

We also bought a new 8X10 area rug for under the table.

So, aren't you impressed with how grown up we are?

The best part is that we are picking it up next Saturday and not telling any of our friends/family that we bought the furniture. So when they come for Thanksgiving, it will all be here! I can't wait to see the look on their faces when all of our old furniture is gone. How fun.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

RBOC: I'm cranky

This is a list of the things I'm cranky about right now.
  • NFL football is for Sundays, not for Thursdays before Thanksgiving, it's just not right.
  • The contractors doing some work here at my office took up 4 parking spots in our tiny parking lot, with 1 friggen van.
  • I can feel a cold coming on... now is not a good time!
  • I am hosting* Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people (in 2 weeks!!), the plumber hasn't shown up in 2 weeks and my dining room is torn apart.
  • I forgot to bring my oatmeal for breakfast this AM and had to stop to buy something or I wouldn't have had anything to eat.

Now that I've vented, maybe I can get some work done.

* Edited, it used to say hosing which I found funny but couldn't leave there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Veteran's Day!!

Technically ANJ is closed for today but I will be working all day to build up comp time for the day after Thanksgiving. Since I am actually working from home I decided today is a good one for a little work/life balance so here is the plan.

8:00-8:15pm- eat oatmeal
8:30-9:30- go for walk/run (I don't run regularly anymore so I need to intersperse)
9:30-10:00- shower
10:00-5:00- work, work, work. (with lunch thrown in there somewhere)
watch House

I'm really trying to work exercise into my daily routine so I need to take advantage of these days when they come along. Plus, I realized that I barely know my new neighborhood (and I've lived here for 1.5 months now!!) other than my routes to work and to the grocery store. Walking/running will help me to get the layout a little better.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend Working

I did not get together with my WP this weekend, but that doesn't mean I haven't done any work.

I have acquired a new love and appreciation for my lap top. I know the weekend is keen writing time for me given that I have to work on actual ANJ work when I'm at work during the week but I hate the isolated feeling of working when everyone else is relaxing on the weekend. So, to ease some of those feelings I spent yesterday sitting on my couch "watching" college football while revising my dissertation manuscript on my lap top. Sure, I can't do some of the heavier thinking writing/revising that I'd be able to do in the office by myself but I have a fair amount of low level revising to do that is perfectly doable while listening to the game and hanging out with DH and any other friends/family who may be over. I spent a few hours and revised a good amount of the introduction (which really needed it!) and the methods of Study 1.

This morning I am again camped out on my couch. Just finished writing a letter of recommendation for one of my outstanding summer interns and now I'm going to either do some more manuscript revising or do some data stuff for Post Doc project. My NFL team plays at 1pm today so I'll probably work on the data stuff and save the manuscript writing for after the game.

I know that working endlessly is not even close to the ideal work/life balance but I'm getting there. I only work outside of the office when DH is working on the house and I generally do not work after I leave ANJ for the day. Oh, and if I take a weekend day off, I don't feel guilty. See, that's got to count for something right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Today was a strange day for me in terms of interactions with former (and therefore probably current) advisors.

First- I got feedback on my diss manuscript from my Grad advisor (GA) who told me to take their name off the manuscript. Before you think it's because they think the manuscript is shit, I should tell you that the feedback is actually very positive. They said they felt like this project (being my dissertation and not at all really related to other stuff they do) was/is my baby and I should be sole author on it. So I'll thank GA in the acknowledgements but take them off the paper. Now let's hope it gets published when I submit it. I'm thinking I'll go back to working on this manuscript this weekend rather than FYM, I am really anxious to get it submitted.

Second- I had a meeting with Post Doc Mentor (PDM) tonight about the projects that I was involved in and want to continue working on. PDM was going on about how they missed me and quickly it became clear to me why-- they've made no progress on these two major projects since I left. And the lab manager doesn't even know where to start because she's so overwhelmed with new projects that she hasn't even had time to go through all the notes and directions I left her with. Basically, I have to pick up where I left off if I want to move these projects forward, and I do want to move them forward. I'm a little disappointed that some important follow up was not done, it probably resulted in quite a bit of missing data. But at the same time I can totally see how it happened. PDM was out of the lab for a full month after I left and the lab manager only started about a month before I left. Without me there to take the lead, things feel through the cracks.

Also, while I was there lab manager was asking me a bunch of questions and then when I went into the lab area a new grad student (that I know from when I worked there) was asking my advice about her lab protocol. Um... I don't work here anymore. I have to admit that my brain felt really fuzzy when I was there. I haven't really thought about this work for 2 months and there is this bad vibe around my post doc experience so I feel off when I'm there.

In the end, both of them left me with a bunch of work and none of it associated with ANJ. So much for feeling disconnected from my subfield.

Should hope lead to productivity?

I worked a half day yesterday planning to go go vote and then work from home for a few hours.

I voted and then went home to read blogs and scan the web for info about voter turnout and preliminary polls. Then at 7pm I started watching the numbers rolled in and didn't go to sleep until the tears stopped falling at the end of Obama's speech.

I am thrilled about the election outcome. It's going to be a long hard road to get things turned around but I feel like the people have really come together and that makes me optimistic and hopeful.

Now, I've been at work for 2.5 hours and I've done nothing but read blogs and newspaper articles. Now that I've been filled with hope, shouldn't I also be filled with the motivation to get some work done??

Maybe I need a good nights rest given that I haven't really slept in a couple of days. Maybe the formula is Hope + Sleep = motivation and productivity.

I'll have to let you know tomorrow.

Monday, November 3, 2008


About the election tomorrow.

Optimistic.... but nervous. I was totally optimistic 4 years ago, so now I'm cautiously optimistic.

I was very upset for a long time after the last election, I really want this time to be different.

Get out and Vote all my U.S. readers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

InaDWriMo 2008: update 1

I decided that my InaDWriMo project would be revising the manuscript for my first year project. Thus, I didn't get any writing done yesterday but I did make progress. It's been 9 months since I received the reviews along with the rejection so I had to read through the reviews again and think about some ways that I might address some of their comments. Then I read through the last draft of the manuscript and made notes throughout about where I thought I needed to address various comments.

I'm not resubmitting to the same journal but the reviewers were amazingly detailed and supportive so I really want to try and address whatever comments I can before resubmitting. The topic of this paper makes it likely that at least one previous reviewer may get it again so I also want to show that we're respectful of their time should that happen.

Oops, just hit publish before I was done.

Today I hope to have some time to do an updated literature review so that I can start reading some additional articles. Given that ANJ is not academic I'm not going ot have much time during the week to work on this so it's going to be my weekend/downtime project.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today is HEAT day....

After 31 days of owning this house we will finally get heat!! You can read about our lack of heat here and here. I can't tell you how happy I'll be to get up in the AM and not see my breath when I breathe!

I am heading out soon to get my massage. I am really looking forward to it. I think I'm going to make it a monthly appointment. I need to start taking care of myself, and this is one step in the right direction.

After my message I am meeting my WP to get to work on InaDWriMo. I've decided to go with revising my first year project, it's closest to publication given that I have a complete draft and really good comments about revising. I have to think about how I'm going to make the word counter work for this project. Any suggestions I'd love to hear about it.

On a different note, yesterday was the shittiest day I've had at ANJ. I can't decide if I should blog about it or not. Something happened that made me really angry on behalf of other people but I don't know that I can post it here without giving away enough details. I'd love to blog about it as a way to vent so I'll think about it. Maybe once I have a little time away from the incident I'll be able to blog about it with less emotion.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was actually sent home from work today. I had the most blinding headache (not a migraine, I have the joys of them as well) a make my head hurt to the point I can't think headache.

I need to make an eye appointment, I think I may need a new prescription. I also need to make an appointment for a massage. I have been spending A LOT of time staring at the computer so I'm guessing the headache is either a muscle issue or an eye issue. Keep your fingers crossed it's one of the two because food/water/caffeine and pain meds are not working their regular magic and I can't keep leaving work for this.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I sent my dissertation manuscript to my advisor/co-author. I worked for a couple of hours this afternoon and finally felt good enough about it to send it on it's way. I'm hoping this is the last round of back and forth between her and I so I can send it out. I already have a journal in mind.

WP and I already have plans to meet again next Saturday. I have decide whether I want to start the re-write of my first year project (FYP) manuscript (which has been rejected by 2 journals previously but I have really good reviews to work from) or whether I want to finally write up my follow up masters (FUM) short report.

FYP is a good paper and will be published eventually, I just haven't quite found the right way to frame it, reviewers are generally positive so I just need to sell it a little better. It's been the manuscript that just won't go away and I'm not nearly as excited about it as I used to be because of that. However, having reviews to work from means it's one step closer to getting out the door.

FUM was a quick little survey study that makes a small (but I think important) point. It wouldn't be more than a short report so I don't have to do an in depth literature review, and it's related to both my MA thesis and my dissertation so I've been actively writing in this area lately. But I don't have much of an outline for how I want to present these findings and that is always the most difficult part for me.

Any suggestions on which one I should work on next?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting back to writing

Today I went to a local coffee shop and worked on my dissertation manuscript. I found a friend from ANJ who is willing to be my writing partner (WP), we were commiserating about how much writing we had to do and how we missed writing in coffee shops. So I asked if she was willing to get together and do some writing and she jumped at the chance.

Today wasn't that great. She was 1 hour late, which wouldn't have bothered me except I ended up having to pack up and move my car so I wouldn't have to feed the meter every hour. When I thought she'd be there an hour earlier I figured I'd take the good spot so I didn't have to drag my lap top and materials very far and that I'd just move it when she got there and could watch my stuff.

The second part that wasn't so great is that she talked a lot. I am at a point where if I got a solid 4.5 hours of writing (in the 6 hours that we were together) that I could send this draft to my advisor, but she wanted to talk a lot more than I thought she would so I really only got about 1 hour before she got there and 2.5 hours before we left.

I am hopeful that things will be better next time. In the future I'll know not to expect her to get there as early as I do, and she acknowledged that she talked too much this time (I was nice and did not agree or even make any sort of comment about this) and that she'll try to keep the chatter to a minimum next time. I like her a lot so I'm willing to keep trying. Plus, 3.5 hours of writing is 3.5 hours more than I've been doing. :)

My plan is to get the other 1-2 hours of writing in tomorrow and send this draft off to my advisor. I really feel good about this paper thus, I'm excited to get it under review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


New Kids' post today really hit home with me.

Having just taken a job outside of academia one of the things I'm struggling with is my feelings about the research that I did in grad school and in my post doc. I am committed to writing a number of papers that are in various stages with a number of colleagues. I want to write these paper and I will write them.

I also have two new projects that I'm collaborating on this semester. My collaborators are the leads on these projects but I am heavily involved (other than the actual data collection). I am also presenting a poster at my sub field's annual conference after the new year. I intend to go to that conference every year.

But what happens after I'm done with these papers? If I am fully committed to ANJ and I don't intend to go on the academic job market do I just stop? What about all the questions and ideas I have regarding my dissertation work? I will admit that even the thought of never designing another study, collecting data and writing them up for my field thoroughly depresses me. Thus, I don't think about it.

New Kid talks about how the guilt will eventually go away, but what if I don't want it to go away? I mean I don't know that I would even call what I feel guilt, for me it's more a feeling of longing to theorize, experiment and contribute to my field.

I can get some of these wants resolved at ANJ, but it's different and there is definitely no room for designing experiments and collecting my own data at ANJ. I knew this when I started, really I am just glad that there are so many opportunities for me to be a Psychologist rather than just an analyst or statistician (which what other non-academic positions wanted me to be) at ANJ.

This post may make it sound like I'm unhappy, I'm not. I really like ANJ, I'm still learning a lot and the people I work with are great, and I've been able to contribute so much already. To be honest, I wish I didn't have these longings to write and contribute to my discipline in the way I have always done. I wish I could be happy contributing in the ways that ANJ will let me. I wish I felt like my previous research was wrapped up in guilt rather than longing. Then I wouldn't have to wonder what this means for the long term...

I'm definitely not applying for academic jobs this year, but I guess I can't rule it out in the future.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Freezing my ass off

It is 56 degrees IN my house! I have a long sleeve shirt, a fleece sweatshirt and jean on. And I'm still completely freezing.

I mentioned when we did the house inspection that it needed some major mechanical work. Since we had to replace the heat system anyway we decided to convert from oil to gas. Well, we ordered our new boiler 3 weeks ago and it still hasn't come in and it's really starting to become a problem.

We're headed to my sister's house to watch some baseball this evening, thank god she has heat! I really, really hope the boiler comes in this week. I can't take much more of this!

I picked a color

For my office. We painted all day yesterday and just need to do some trim today and put down the new carpet. I also have to order curtains but that will probably wait a bit. I'll post pictures when we're done putting the carpet down and putting my desk back in. I'll leave you in suspense about the color until then. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Doggie Woes

He just finished his antibiotics last night. The lump on his neck is gone and he's been doing very well.

Tonight I'm petting him and realize he has a friggen tick on his neck. I got it out, head and all. But what is with him?? I think he's trying to drive me crazy. I told DH, no more unsupervised running around in the yard. They keep getting into these bushes that need to be trimmed back.

And people wonder why I don't have kids, my dogs keep me busy enough.

All moved in

We finished moving all of our stuff into the new house this weekend. It feels so great to know this place is ours.

Now however, I need to make some decisions about decorating and making this place our own. First order of business, my office. We're going to tear up the carpet (it is disgusting!!), lay down a new one and paint. The room is pretty large and has three windows. Right now it's a lavender color with white trim and a dark blueish/purplish carpet. There are already white shelves in there.

I know I want to keep the white trim. My desk and bookcases are all brown so I think I need a lighter trim to balance the furniture. But I can't decide what color I would like the paint to be. We've picked colors for the dining room (muted green) and the living room (yellow or gold) and we're leaving one of the spare bedrooms (baby blue w/ a simple beige carpet). Not that it really matters as the office is pretty separate from the rest of the rooms so it could blend in but doesn't have to.

I've been on the Home and Garden Television web page looking at home office remodels for the last hour to try and get some ideas but I've got nothing. Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How about a meeting?

If there is one thing that bugs me about ANJ it's the incredible number of meetings! Sometimes, we have meetings to set up other meetings. I wouldn't mind if I felt like they were productive, but most of them are not. Friends tell me that this is pretty endemic of non-profits but I hope as a member of the senior staff, to find a way to curb some of these meetings.

We're having a retreat (Note: Retreat = fancy word for extra long meeting) to talk about our plans, deadlines and goals for the next year and I am hoping to have a discussion about cutting out the number of meetings we have here. One of the complaints floating through the team is that we never have time to do our actual jobs, guess why that is... we are always in meetings. It's the worst for senior staff, one day my supervisor and I had 4 meetings together with other people... I didn't even eat lunch that day, and my supervisor had 2 more meetings than I did.

It all comes down to too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it. So for example, I'll write something up (let's say a research proposal) and it needs to reviewed by at least one other member of the senior staff. But instead of sending it to them and having them send it back w/ track changes or some other sort of comments, we have a meeting about it because they don't really have the time to both read and comment on the document.

We'll have a team meeting where we outline all of the projects we're currently working on but instead of assigning everyone tasks, they're told to let us know which tasks they want to work on (I've complained about this before). I've been trying to be a bit more forcefully organized over the past few weeks by actually assigning people tasks during these meetings (in a friendly/professional way of course) and checking in with people via email or stopping by their desk so I can get an idea of where they're at. At our retreat I am going to propose this model as a way to better organize our tasks.

I've noticed that members of the team now come to me when they have some free time looking for something to work on. I'm fine with that. I think they actually like the sense of organizaiton I bring to the projects and look to me to keep that going.

So although I've only been at ANJ for less than 2 months, I'm going to make some serious proposals at our really long meeting, I mean... retreat to cut back on meetings and bring some more organization to our work plans. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What kind of feminist am I??

As seen at The Grad Life

Your result for The Feminism Test...


You scored 83% Gender-Abolitionist, 60% Sexually Liberal, and 40 % Socialist

You are the Gender-Liberal. This means that you share qualities with both Liberal Feminists and Gender Abolitionists. Like the Liberal Feminist, you feel political change needs to be done on a small-scale level through legislative change, not necessarily through a massive destruction of class society through the adoption of an extremist socialist stance. You are also very concerned with sexual liberation, and feel that women should be free to do what they please sexually without criticism, just as men should be free to do. However, you differ from the Liberal Feminist culturally, because you see gender as a social construction that needs to be destroyed. Like the Gender Abolitionist, you realize that gender is often perceived as one's identity, when it should only be perceived as a small, insignificant part of that person. We shouldn't be able to say "This person IS a woman". Rather one should say something more akin to "This person HAS the physical traits of a woman". This way, we wouldn't be assuming someone's physical traits are a part of their identity, and we couldn't use this difference to oppress them or categorize them. In short, you advocate extreme cultural change through the destruction of gender roles, but politically you are less extreme, instead focusing on individual or legislative change as opposed to a massive change of ideology.

The other feminist types:

The Housewife

The Marxist

The Liberal

The Liberal Extremist

The Gender Abolitionist

The Radical

The Gender-Liberal

The Revisionist

Take The Feminism Test at HelloQuizzy

No time, no access

Sorry for the lack of posting. We are currently living between our two residences and we don't have Internet service at our house yet (I'm stealing wireless right now Sh... don't tell netgear49). :)

And work has been insanely busy so I haven't even had time to jump on and do any posting.

I do have a post in the works about work productivity and I know I promised some sharing my idea bout preparing for non-academic PhD level jobs. When my life slows down and my access is not stole I promise to get back to those.

As an update... I'm sleeping pretty well in the new houses, and it usually takes me a long time to sleep in new places so I take that as a sign that we're meant to be here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Doggie Update

He is OK!

The lump is inflammatory cells, not cancerous, not even a cyst. It could have been caused by any number of things like trauma, bug bite, infected scratch. However it happened I am just so relieved it's not anything more serious. So he starts his 10 days of antibiotics tomorrow and we'll just keep an eye on the lump to make sure it doesn't grow or start to bother him.

Thanks for the comforting posts everyone, I really appreciate it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stressful day

Well, we closed on the new house on Tuesday and have been going back and forth from our apartment to the new hosue since the closing. Except for tonight, we took a night off but unfortunately it wasn't for fun.
Last night I found a large (egg sized) lump in my male dogs neck. So we took him to the Vet this evening and we still don't know what's up.

Other than the lump he's perfectly healthy. A little overweight (but this has been an issue for years). His heart and stomach sound good and he doesn't have any swelling, even his other lymph nodes look good. He's eating, drinking and going to the bathroom normally. He's also full of energy just as he always is.
So the Vet did a biopsy and a blood test and we'll know either tomorrow or Saturday. I'm worried, he's my baby and I just want to know he's okay.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Working Weekend....

My deadlines have been pushed up to Monday. I don't yet know whether this is a common occurrence or not but the deadline was originally 10/14, then it was 10/9, then I set a personal deadline of 10/3 and my boss suddenly dropped the bomb that they needed it all by Monday. On top of that...the requirements project itself have become increasingly more professional. They started as just a few bullet points for each proposal (there are 4 proposals for this particular project!), then it turned into a narrative for my supervisor to read through, now it is a full on proposal for each that are "outside eyes" ready. They'll have to go through 2 reviews before my supervisor gets to present them. The good news is that I have a rough draft of each of the proposals so I'm not working from scratch. Two of them have been written by other members of my team though so i have to polish them all, reformat so they're consistent, and finish actually writing the main one that I've taken on myself.

S0...This is the first weekend that I actually have to work for ANJ. It's okay, it's actually good timing because we close on the house on Tuesday and this way I can take comp time rather than personal time.

But... I went out last night and feel hung over (although I didn't really drink, just a couple of beers) from the staying out late, dancing and screaming (concert) and not drinking enough water... so I've just been sitting at the computer not doing anything work related and letting time pass me by. I want to watch a football game tonight, tomorrow I have plans for brunch and another evening out so I need to get this stuff done.

I'm thinking that maybe I should work a little and then take a power nap. I think if I work most of the weekend I can get this stuff done.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nevermind singing in the shower

I do some of my best research thinking in the shower.

Last week, I started one of the research proposals I need to write before my supervisor gets back from vacation but I've been stuck for days. It's outside my area of expertise (most of what I do is), so I was struggling with the hook for this proposal. What is the hole we can fill? What makes this proposal unique and how can I convince our funders that this is the project we need to do?

This morning, in the shower, it all comes to me. Many holes we can fill, many hypothesis we can test and most of all, how very important an impact this research can have. I'm excited to get to work and get the rest of this proposal draft written today!

This isn't the first time I've had a stroke of brilliance in the shower, when I was dissertating almost all of my breakthroughs happened in the shower. I get stuck in my thinking sometimes and I need to just walk away, let it fester, work on something else and before I know it some morning while I'm conditioning my hair it comes to me. The best part is that I almost never even realize that I'm thinking about research!!

I don't know if it's the routine of showering that helps bring these ideas to the surface, or maybe I was actually working it out during my sleep, but there is definitely a connection between showering and idea generation for me.

So, fellow bloggers do you have any strange places that bring out your brilliance?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Need to get some motivation

DH and I swore that we'd start packing today. We close in 9 days!

But, I am so not motivated to even think about it. I went to my nephew's birthday party yesterday so I spent 4 hours in a car and just want to sit on the couch and watch football today.

I think DH is actively trying to avoid packing too, he mentioned big plans about the grocery store, and Target to buy a bed for one of our dogs, oh and he promised my mom he'd go there and take out her ACs.

I think I'll pack up our dinning room and maybe the books in our office. Then I can say I did some packing and I can relax the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who Am I?

As seen over at Meaningful Revisions

Your personality type:
Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it.

Careers that could fit you includes:
Business executives, administrators and managers, accountants, police, detectives, judges, lawyers, medical doctors, dentists, computer programmers, systems analysts, computer specialists, auditors, electricians, math teachers, mechanical engineers, steelworkers, technicians, (militia members).

The personality assessment fits pretty well, except for this line: Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. But in terms of the career options... I wouldn't want to do any of these jobs.

Also, as a psychologist and researcher I have to say I HATE the forced choice questionnaires, for many of these I want to say none of the above. But I tried to remind myself that it was for fun.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I think the temporary status of graduate school and then my post doc has made me a bit of a commitmentphobe. Every time my current supervisor talks about projects for next year, or future years I feel a little twitchy and uncomfortable.

It's strange because I was totally willing to stick around post doc for years if I got funding (wasn't that the whole reason I was applying for all those grants?). What's even more strange is that it's not like my supervisor is talking about 10-15 years, it's a plan for 1 or 2 years.

And I mentioned before how I assumed I'd go on the academic job market this year but now I probably won't be doing that. That doesn't bother me, I'm perfectly comfortable with not applying for any other jobs.

I don't have these problems in romantic relationships, I wonder why it's appeared in my work life. Weird.

I wonder how long it will take for the twitchyness to go away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Problem Solving Out Loud (or in text)

I am settling in nicely at ANJ. I'm enjoying the projects I'm working on and I feel like I'm making a contribution. Plus, I really like all the people I work with.

The one problem (um.. not really problem... let's call it difficulty) I am having is project management. I am used to a very organized, detailed work plan and when I am the project manager I am used to handing out assignments and setting up time lines for completion. When this happens I can check in at regular intervals, provide help where needed and have a general sense of the overall progress.

The precedent at ANJ seems to be a much more fluid process than I am used to. My supervisor feels really strongly about everyone working on things they're intellectually interested in, which is fine in theory but isn't working out so well for me in practice.

The last two team meetings we've had I have outlined what we need to do for the major project I am the lead on. This project encompasses work on 4 different topics. Thus, there are lots of options for people and I have said "my goal is to have 2 people working on each topic, just let me know which topics you are most interested in and then we can set up a game plan for how to tackle it". During or after the meetings some of the team members let me know what they want to work on and we talk about what steps they should take. I think things are going well, and then later they'll come into my office and ask me a question about a different topic. So, that indicates to me that they're jumping around from topic to topic. This doesn't really work for me.

I am not sure what the problem is. I think I'm being clear about what needs to be done and what I think is the most efficient way to split up the work. Then I tell them to pick their top choice.
  • Some team members never pick a topic.
  • Some team members pick a topic and go to work on it as I expect.
  • Some team members pick a topic and then seem to jump all over the place.
  • One person didn't pick a topic but did all this work (finding and summarizing literature) in a direction that isn't going to work for us.
Why is this happening?

I think that all of my team members are motivated and want to help with this project. So I don't think that is the problem. I think that I'm being clear about how I want to organize things (and how important it is for us to be organized so that we can meet our deadlines).

Is it possible that I just need to be more direct? Assigning topics to those who don't pick them, and giving more clearly laid out objectives so that people aren't jumping around? Basically coming out and saying "Hey once you pick/are assigned a topic, it's yours, only work on that one".

Any other ideas? Anything I'm not considering?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

RBOC: End of the week edition

  • I spent this morning at my nephew's soccer game and now I have a ridiculous sun burn on the right side of my face, y'know the kind where you can see where your sunglasses were. ugh.
  • Went to happy hour on Thursday with some of my co-workers. It was fun and I'm so glad they invited me. I am the only one on my team at my level, there are a few above me and quite a few below me (in terms of job grade) and I was a little worried that it might make things isolating. But nope, not at all. Everyone at ANJ is so friendly and welcoming. My team is actually taking me to lunch on Monday and I can't wait.
  • 16 days until we close on our new house. Then we'll take about 2 weeks to move. I can't wait... but does that mean we've started packing?? Um.. nope. We should start that.
  • Tomorrow is going to be a rainy Sunday full of NFL football. DH's team plays at 1pm, my team at 4pm. Looks like it might be a PJ day.
  • I am still having headaches, everyday. I think it's an allergy thing because I'm also really, really tired which is something else that happens to me when my allergies are acting up. I really hope it stops soon.
  • I haven't done any manuscript writing in the past month. This isn't making me happy but I've needed the weekends to relax. I am hoping once we move I can spend a few hours a weekend and get some of my papers out. I really love my dissertation work and I feel like I can make an important contribution if I ever get the manuscript submitted.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I love a challenge

My supervisor is going on vacation in 10 days, they will be gone for 2 weeks, two days after they return (to this country!) they have to fly to a really important meeting and present the project I'm currently working on. Oh, and they return on a long weekend so we won't even be in the office between when they get back to the country and when they have to fly out for the meeting.

In the mean time, in order for my supervisor to do this I need to...
  1. Write one proposal (for which we've just started doing the literature and data search for this week).
  2. Revise one report, decide what we want to do for a follow up to that report and write a short proposal for that follow up.
  3. Do a literature and data search for 2 other topics and write up annotated bibliographies for both of them.
I will have help from my team, but they are all busy with other tasks as well that take precedence over my project. My supervisor is also going to help me as much as possible before they leave for vacation.

I don't feel stressed. It will be tight and if I get all of this done then it is the ideal situation and my supervisor and the people that they are presenting to will be VERY, VERY happy. If I get most of this done, they'll still be content. My goal is of course to get it all done, and have most of it done before my supervisor leaves.

I guess it's time for me to start showing what I'm worth. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You can't scare me.

I really thought I'd go on the academic job market this year... but it doesn't look like that will be the case.

I have had my eye on the job ads as they come out through the list servs I belong to and on discipline or academic webpages but there's nothing that has made my heart jump. There is even a job that I applied for last year, the search was cancelled due to lack of funding, but I was encouraged by the search chair to apply again this year and it was posted a couple of months ago but... I'm just not feeling it.

I think I needed to tell myself that I could/would go on the academic job market so that taking a non-academic position would be less scary. Now that I'm in the world of non-academia, I wonder what the hell I was so scared about. So far (admittedly only 3 weeks), I am loving my new job. I am working with smart people, doing cool work, in a productive environment. I leave here at 4:30-5:00 every night without an ounce of guilt, I don't even remotely check my email. I know that if anything comes in I can deal with it in the AM or on Monday. I can't remember the last time I felt this secure. It won't always be this way, sometimes we'll have busy times with tight deadlines and I'll be working nights/weekends. But there is flexibility here that goes along with that, like comp time and working from home.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not scared anymore. I am settling in and really enjoying my life right now. Things are good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New favorite food...

Been having allergy issues that have lead to pure exhaustion, so mustering as much posting energy as I can come up with today I'd like to tell you about my new favorite foods....

Fresh Mozzarella and tomato salad, with a little olive oil and basil.

We're having it with chicken tonight. I had it for lunch the other day with some crusty bread.

Can't wait for DH to get home.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fall Traditions

The only thing that lifts my spirits about the ending of summer, is the beginning of FOOTBALL season. Baseball is still my #1 sport, but football is a close second.
I like College Football (well my grad school's football team anyway), but I love NFL football. Needless to say DH and I do not get very much work done during the Fall season as we spend Saturday's watching college ball and Sunday's watching the NFL.
Although DH and I are both huge football fans, we actually support opposing teams. He's a NFC guy and I am all about the AFC, so it's fine.... until postseason. Fall/Winter Sunday's have really become quite the tradition in our house. We both wear football jerseys, and in the morning we make a huge meal (typically it's something in the crockpot or some sort of soup) that will last for both lunch and dinner and then we sit in front of the TV and watch and eat and drink beer (has to beer when it comes to football!). When I was in grad school I used to go work at the coffee shop from 8:30am-12:30pm, just to do some work before the game started. Moving back home to the Northeast last year we started having Sunday's at my sister's house. We'd still cook the big meal (now even bigger), we'd just either make it at her house or bring it with us. I am looking forward to getting these traditions underway again this Sunday. And even more so when we move into our new house.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Not much to tell.

I've been busy with the house and ANJ so haven't had much time to write any thoughtful posts.

Things are moving along with the house. Settled on a mortgage person yesterday so all we're waiting for is the appraisal which should be in any day now and then we're all set to close on the 30th.

I was just given a really interesting project at ANJ. It's a two phase research project and I am basically going to take over phase 2. So I'll be spending the next few days getting acquainted with phase 1 and brainstorming ideas for how to tackle phase 2. The nice part is that this project isn't promised to anyone for another year so I can take my time and get to know it.

I have two on-going collaborations going on outside of ANJ that I have been moving forward on. One, we're in the process of gathering materials and writing the IRB. The other we are in the design stage. Yay for research.

That's all I have to report for now. I need to finish breakfast and get to work.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Long Weekend

We have tried to really make the best of the last long weekend of the summer.

Friday- we signed the purchase and sales agreement on our new house. Then we just hung out at home, watched some baseball and went to bed early after a crazy stressful couple of weeks.

Saturday- we slept in a bit. Went to my sisters so she could cut DH's hair, went to the grocery store and came back home and watched some baseball.

Sunday- we went to the beach and it was really windy! So we decided to head to my sisters house (with a pool) and spent the rest of the day there drinking rum punch and enjoying the pool. I overindulged in the rum punch and went to bed as soon as we got home.

Monday- we slept in again. We paid the bills and gave our landlord notice that we're moving out. Then we took the dogs for a hike at a local reservation. Finally, we went to my sisters for a labor day BBQ and we headed home early to relax a bit for work tomorrow.

YAY for 4 day work weeks!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

100 posts!

I'm going to waste #100 on venting. I am stressed.
  1. Mortgage broker was off on calculation of closing costs for new house. Said between 3K-5K, it's already over 5K and...
  2. We were looking over the good faith estimate tonight and mortgage broker forgot to mention 1 fee for 1200 that we have to come up with for closing... and
  3. We're pretty mortgage broker left off a 1.5% (of the total loan amount!!) upfront cost off the friggen estimate. They claim it's on the paperwork and included in the estimate but DH was on the phone with them for 25 minutes and everywhere they told him to look, the 1.5% was not included. This means that although we'll own a nice new house, we'll be eating ramen noodles for the next month or two while we get back on track.
  4. My car broke down tonight. It's nothing too major (just a radiator hose) but DH is stuck about 45 minutes away and will have the car fixed in the morning while I'm scrambling to find a ride to ANJ tomorrow.
It's not a great week. I'm ready to be done with this crazy house stuff.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Words of Wisdom...

I have had a couple of requests through comments on here and through email asking for advice about finding a non-academic job (both in general or specifically with a Psychology PhD). Here are some thoughts I've had brewing, they're sort of in an organized fashion but forgive me if it feels a bit like I jump around.

First, it's important to keep in mind that I was specifically looking for research positions, there are lots of other jobs out there for PhD's but I've always known that even if I did not go into academia that I would do research.
  1. I will readily admit that I think one reason I was lucky enough to land my job was that I live in a city busting with research opportunities. If you live in (or want to live in) a small town in the middle of nowhere, be prepared to have very few options.
  2. There were 3 non-academic jobs that showed specific interest in me, one of them is my current position with a non-profit doing program evaluation research. The other two were research organizations affiliated with universities thus, one piece of advice I have is not to rule out looking at Universities for relevant positions.
  3. I applied for another 20 or so non-academic jobs that I was either rejected from right off the bat or never heard from so I can't say whether they were at all interested or not but I can say just like the academic market it's a numbers game so the more apps you can put out there and the more flexible you can be the better off you will be.
  4. The CV I used for non-academic jobs (because I was applying for research positions) was not all that different from my academic CV. I made sure my research experience was highlighted and moved my teaching stuff to later in my CV (but let me touch on this later).
  5. If you need letters of recommendation, stay on your letter writers. The non-academic world is much less forgiving of missing deadlines. They don't give a shit that your advisor was working on a grant or writing a paper and forgot, if you stuff isn't in your application you miss out.
  6. I always sent my letter writers the job ad and the cover letter I wrote for any non-academic job and pointed out to them things they should include in their letters. You have to be careful how you do this so you don't piss them off, but my letter writers really appreciated this. They wanted to know how to help me and having only applied for academic jobs themselves, they needed me to show them the way.
  7. I primarily looked for jobs on nationwide job search engines, careerbuilder(dot) com and monster(dot) com. I searched for a pretty inclusive list of keywords (which I'm leaving out for some anonymity reasons), which gave me a lot of stuff I preferred weeding stuff out than having only a few jobs in my search.
  8. I checked the job search engines everyday and applied for any new jobs that came up ASAP (most of them do not have deadlines/closing dates). I also searched on the career pages of APA and APS, and the chronicle of higher education. Finally, I looked on the career pages of local research universities and hospitals.
  9. Try to think creatively about the skills you've acquired along the way. The things that make you a good graduate student, post doc or professor can also make you a success in other areas.
  10. I also want to point out that it took me pain staking hours to come up with a cover letter format that sold myself appropriately. People who I've showed my materials to all say how impressed they are because it looks easy, but it's not so don't be discouraged if it takes you a long time to write these things. It's not any easier for non-academic jobs, and I actually found it harder.
Finally, keep in mind that all of this is based on my own personal experiences. I do not know many non-academic PhDs so take this advice for what it's worth based on the N = 1.

This is my rather general list of advice. I will have future posts (as soon as I have some time) on selling your graduate student skills in the non-academic world, how to use your teaching experience to sell yourself, and finally some advice for what you can do while still in graduate school to make yourself more attractive in the non-academic world.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This morning DH and I decided to walk away from the house. The sellers responded to our request after the inspection with less than half of what we were asking for. DH and I just didn't think it was worth it so we called our agent to say forget it, we'll take a break and start over again.

I went to work this morning slightly heartbroken. I really wanted the house, but I agreed with DH that the sellers compensation was just not worth the amount of time, energy and money we'd have to put into the house. Not to mention the fact that many of these things need to be done before we could even more in.

Then about 3 hours into my work day I got a call from DH.... the sellers had agreed to the total amount we asked for!! They're no longer paying our closing costs but we have accepted their offer and we're getting our house!!

We'll probably close by the end of September and move in late October/early November. Yay for a new home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

RBOC: Exhausted edition

  • Getting a little board of reading and editing at ANJ (I know, I know it's only been 4 days but I'm a Sagittarius and I'm used to the crazy pace of grad school & post doc), I am glad my team's deadline is over, maybe I can start getting involved in real work.
  • I was so bored today I was working on my dissertation manuscript. So far, I'm not crazy about the way GA reworked the intro. She screwed up a bunch of the literature review, she doesn't know the literature and made statements, backed up with citations that are not true. I think I'm going to have to work with my old version and work in some of her ideas.
  • No word on the house. Seller still hasn't gotten back to us after we sent them to our response to the inspection. DH is out of town between Friday and Sunday, I was really hoping we'd be done with all this before he left. I am feeling frazzled and exhausted with the hole thing.
  • I'm exhausted and looking forward to another single girl weekend. Yay for sleeping in.

Quick research update

GA sent me back dissertation manuscript 1 yesterday. It is in really good shape and I will make my end of the month deadline on that paper.

No word from PDM about our paper and frankly I'm liking the distance right now so I won't nag her about it.

Received an email saying my poster was accepted for my Psych sub-field conference. This makes me happy 1. because my collaborator on that project is one of my favorite friends and 2. I know when I'll see all my psych sub-field friends again even though i just started ANJ which is not in that sub-field.

Was given actual work (i.e., not reading) at ANJ yesterday, did it well enough that they gave me a whole days worth of work today. Speaking of which... I need to get out of here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quick updates

We had the house inspection today and it went pretty much how we expected, which is to say that the house needs major work. Our agent is preparing a list of these things and a request for compensation for the major issues (plumbing, heating, & electrical all have to be completely redone). I have a feeling the seller is not going to want to budge and we'll probably have to walk away.

Day 2 of ANJ was better, I didn't meet any new people. :) Also, I was only there for 5 hours since we had the house inspection. Tomorrow is a full day and I hope they give me something besides reading to do, Thursday is my first staff meeting. Fun stuff.

I'm exhausted. DH and I were discussing the mental exhaustion that comes along with the house stuff, never mind the mental exhaustion I have from reading all these documents for ANJ.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the same page.

I have been reading blogs since I got home from my first day at ANJ, and I was surprised to read that both New Kid and Dr. Crazy both wrote about the anxiety and exhaustion they feel when surrounded by new people as this describes exactly how I felt all day today.

I am not introverted in general (I love being around lots of people I already know), but I am shy and self-conscious around new people and today was just new people overload. Everyone was really nice, I got some really friendly emails from team members who work remotely, and everyone who was in the office today stopped by to introduce themselves and let me know if I had any questions where I could find them or how to contact them. I spent much of the day reading reports and SOP manuals, but in between I met lots and lots of new people. With each new person I felt like I was deflating. I always want to appear friendly and say something witty but how many times can you make small talk about the report you're reading?

I was even taken out to lunch by 4 women who I just met today (one of them the president of my new organization). I am never quite sure what to say during these types of situations, never mind the fact that the lunch time conversation revolved around politics! If you know the nature of ANJ you know their political leanings and luckily my political leanings match up, but aren't you NEVER supposed to talk politics with new people? Maybe exceptions are made for people who do research funded by government contracts to write policy recommendations??

I'm not saying it was a bad day, I'm just saying I'll be glad when I know everyone so some of the pressure is off.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation Wrap Up

My vacation is just about over. I didn't get nearly as much rest and relaxation as I had hoped given that we decided to buy a house and the weather was nasty most of the week.

I did finally finish up the edits on my dissertation manuscript and sent it to my GA. I am waiting for her comments and hoping to still get that paper out by the end of the month. I also downloaded all the materials and looked over the notes for my collaboration with my grad school colleague (whom I've decided to call Marathon). I just need to read the couple of articles she sent me and then we can start designing our follow up studies.

I also found some time for fun, including a beach trip today. Although, I got a little too much sun and I'm not sure how given I tried really hard to keep up with the sunblock.

Tomorrow is day 1 at ANJ. Although, I could probably do with a few more vacation days, I'm excited to get things rolling.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First Day Jitters

Monday is day one at ANJ. I'm excited about starting and moving on with my new life.

At the same time I am really nervous about the first day. For those of you who have read my blog for any amount of time it should come as no surprise that I like to have all my ducks in a row. I like to know what's going to happen and when. To put it succinctly, I am a control freak.

So here are the things I'm worried/anxious about and I emailed the person who I believe to be my supervisor yesterday but she did not respond.
  • Who is my supervisor?? It wasn't on my offer letter even though I saw other offer letters they wrote that did say who the supervisor was. I asked during my orientation and the office manager wasn't sure. I have some assumptions about who my supervisor is, but I'd just like to know.
  • What time should I get there? I know I should expect an 8 hour day but I don't know what time to start. I know they're quite flexible, but for my first day I feel like someone should have given me some guidance so I'd know what time to show up.
  • Where should I park? They have a rather small lot and I know that the employees are welcome to use it as long as they're prepared to move a couple of times throughout the day. I don't know if there are any other rules that go along with parking, and I'm worried I'll park in someones space or too close or too far away so others can't get in.
  • Where do I go when I get there? Do I go see the office manager? Do I go see the person who I think is my supervisor? Do I go to my office even though they told me there is a chance that it won't be ready by the time I get there so there is another desk they'd put me at temporarily?

The only thing I'm really not worried about is what I'll do when I get there. My team is under a huge deadline this week so I know they'll be really busy so I'm expecting they'll either want me to look things over, or not really have much for me to do to help. Either way, I have some things I can do and still feel productive. They sent me documents to look over that I've had little time to do more than glance at. I also had a conversation with "my supervisor" on Tuesday about both of us taking a specific type of stats class and I said I would start looking up what was available.

It's like the first day of school all over again... where's my homeroom, where's my locker...

It's a deal

The home owners have accepted an offer on the house. We're now moving forward with inspection on Tuesday. We don't expect any surprises, we've been through the house rather thoroughly but if we find anything we'll negotiate again.

So if all goes as planned purchase and sales is on 8/25 and closing 9/30. So, we could be in and settled in our new house for Halloween. Wow did this all move quickly.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Baseball brings people together

During my orientation for ANJ yesterday, I was brought into the kitchen to get some coffee before I met with my team, and there was baseball paraphernalia for my favorite team all over the place. If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time now, you know that baseball is near and dear to my heart. I really think ANJ is the right home for me. :)

Plus, I'm getting my own office!! I've never had my own office.

Waiting for the phone to ring...

We were pre-approved for a mortgage yesterday morning, so DH and I met our realtor at house #3 last night and spent 3 hours during a thorough walk through. We made our offer early this evening, but it's pretty low.

The house has been on the market for over a year, and it will need quite a bit of work. We don't expect the sellers to accept our offer at this price but we're hoping they'll at last come further down. We're willing to negotiate, but not willing to pay full price. There is some major stuff (heating, electrical and plumbing) that needs updating/re-doing. We're not afraid to do it, but we want to make sure we're not paying too much for a house that needs all of that.

I thought for sure we'd hear from our realtor right away with a "no way" but no word so far and it's getting rather late here. They have until 12pm on Friday to respond to the offer. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Big Day

I have orientation at ANJ today. Then I'm meeting with my team for coffee/lunch (depending on the time).

I'm a little nervous. I tend to be a bit shy with new people and although I'm excited about getting to know everyone I am easily overwhelmed by meeting many people at one time. However, everyone I have talked to has been great! They've put me at ease almost immediately so I'm hoping that feeling permeates my meet and greet today and I can just relax.

In other news, DH and I are meeting our realtor at house #3 today. We were pre-qualified for the mortgage yesterday and we turned in all the necessary paper work this AM, which means we should have our official pre-approval letter by this afternoon! Perhaps, we'll be writing an offer tonight!! Still trying not to get too excited... but I'm kinda excited. :)

Big day here today!!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am technically on vacation. I took 1 week off between postdoc and Awesome New Job (ANJ) to relax and unwind from working 12 hour a days to finish up postdoc stuff.

So what is my plan for this week?

First, I absolutely refuse to do any work from post doc. I still have work on my 2 major projects from there (which should eventually result in at least 4 publications). My study will still run this week and then they'll be compiling the data and giving it to me, however I told them to only call me in emergencies and to save all questions/requests until after my vacation.

I still have the goal of getting out some of those first authored manuscripts listed on my productivity list on the left there. In the past two weeks I've helped submit two third authored papers so my first authored pubs have suffered. My plan is to write at least 1 hour a day for the rest of this week and see if I can get at least my first Dissertation manuscript to my co-author/grad advisor. It's in good shape, it could still go out by the end of the month if she likes it and/or doesn't sit on it for too long.

I have a planned collaboration with a grad school colleague. She sent me articles and ideas for it a while ago. I would like to finally take a look at that stuff and have a conversation with her about a real plan for this project.

ANJ sent me 3 documents to read/look over before I start. They were things I asked for so it's not as though they're a requirement but it would be nice if I read the stuff I asked them to send me. One is a research proposal that they'd like me to take over so I really, really should read that. I have orientation at ANJ tomorrow, I'll get to meet the rest of my team and probably have lunch with them.

I also really, really need to clean my apartment. DH and I have been working our asses off and the apartment is really looking neglected. Especially with two dogs that shed a third dogs worth of fur every week. Plus, my office needs to be cleaned out. I brought home files from post doc office that need to be organized into my home office... and I still haven't finished organizing my grad school materials.

I do have some fun stuff planned.
  1. Getting a pedicure today. OMG do I need one
  2. One of my favorite friends from grad school is coming to visit tomorrow night. We'll hang out and we already have lunch plans for Wed.
  3. I would like to go to the beach (today is crappy weather, maybe Th or F)
  4. Possibly go see friend who is pregnant and needs to be resting.

So, does that sound like vacation? Probably not. I'm not very good at this whole vacation thing when staying home. I am good at limiting or doing no work when I actually go away but not when I'm surrounded by the same people/spaces as when I am not on vacation.

The good news is that DH gets a weeks vacation next month, and at ANJ vacation time begins right away, so I'm hoping we can plan a real vacation sometime this fall.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

House Hunting Recap

Well, it's not going to be either of the houses I posted pictures of in the previous post.

House #1 is too small, it looks deceptively large in the pictures but the rooms are all tiny.

House #2 is already under agreement but they still held the open house to get back up offers. We suspected and were correct about the fact that it was a flip. It looks pretty but there were a lot of short cuts taken when they remodeled which were apparent when you started to take a closer look.

However, all is not lost because surprise, surprise we ended up liking a house that we weren't seriously considering before we took a look at it. It's an older house (built in 1900), but that is what we like. The house we own in grad school town was built in 1890.

So here are a couple of pictures.

The side view which shows the front of the house.

The back view with the 2 tiered deck and a closer look at the deck.

So we're going to contact a mortgage broker to start the pre-approval process tomorrow. I'm not sure how long that will take or how long the house will be on the market so we'll see what happens. We didn't bother with the pre-approval previously because we were really just looking but we like this house enough and it's about 10K below our general budget that we're going to move forward. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

House Hunting

Today, DH and I are open housing (is that a verb). There are two houses that I love, love, love. So let's hope they're as great in person as they are on the web.

Here is the kitchen and backyard from house #1.

And then here is the kitchen and front view of house #2.

Both of them are 30-40K more than we wanted to spend, but they're also in much better shape than what we were originally thinking we'd get. I'll update later today with our experience.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Last Day

Tomorrow is my last day as a post doc. I can't wait for it all to be over. I've been busting my ass to get things to a place where I feel comfortable leaving my projects in other people's hands. I think I'm close to that place.

I can't wait for my vacation. I so need it.

Also, FYI I have been a bad blog reader, I have over 90 posts in my blog reader and I'm about 3 days behind. I'm trying hard to catch up though so do not be surprised when I'm commenting on old blog posts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RBOC: My life lately edition

  • 2 more days left at post doc (PD). today was 12 hours, tomorrow will be 12 hours as well.
  • PDM won't be back in town before I leave, I haven't seen her in 3 weeks.
  • I have been rocking out on all my PD projects and I think I have moved them much further along that my PDM was expecting so I am much less worried about getting screwed out of my well earned authorship.
  • Awesome new job (ANJ) sent me my official offer letter. It's so nice to have that in my hand.
  • I have 1 week off between PD and ANJ, but I've been too damn busy finishing up to plan for my week off.
  • ANJ also sent me a bunch of reading material (at my request), and I'm excited to get a better feel for what my new job will entail, this is how I will spend some of my week off.
  • One of my favorite friends from grad school is coming to stay with DH and I for a night. I can't wait to see him, we'll have a blast.
  • To go with my ANJ, I bought two pairs of ANS (awesome new shoes of course!!), what do you think? The heels on both are a little higher than I would usually go with but I loved both of them and I will have to drive to ANJ so I won't have to walk too far in these.

  • DH and I are going to open houses together this Sunday. It should be interesting, we seem to have very different opinions about what our next house will be.
Ok, there is my catch up. I promise to post more often when my life slows down a bit.