Saturday, May 31, 2008

Job Interview

The job interview is Wed AM. It's a phone interview at a non-profit research institute that is not university affiliated. They are local (in the same city I work in now) so we would not have to move if I took this job.

I am excited about the interview but will be interviewing them just as hard as they'll be interviewing me. It's a research institute that is doing cool stuff that I think I could be happy doing temporarily, I'm just not sure I'd love it. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Working on my diss ms over the last couple of weeks makes me re-think this leaving academia stuff. I really love my research, but there aren't any research organizations that will let me do exactly what I want, exactly in the area I've been doing research. So leaving academia really does mean giving up some of the stuff I've done and have an interest in continuing.

But I'm jumping the gun, first I have to get offered a job (any job). I'm trying not to stress until I have to (but if you read through my blog you'll see I'm not all that good at that). I'm hoping that I'll hear from the "we got your materials late" job this week as they said they thought that they would be done with their first round of interviews by the end of May. I hope they contact me even if they hire someone else, it's just nice to know where you stand.

So there's my job update. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later this week.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Big News!!

I have a job interview!

I also have a really nosey lab mate who is probably looking over my shoulder as I write this so more to come later!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

RBOC: thoughts from my day

* Taking a cue from DC I want to find a nickname for my husband so I don't always have to call him "my husband" or DH, so I'm up for suggestions. You may wonder why I would ask all of you (who do not know my husband) for suggestions, my answer is that I think it will be fun for me (the one who does know him) to try on the nicknames that you suggest.

* I had an annoying exchange with one of the office staff at work today. I had to take a departmental advance from my advisor's grant to pay participants a month ago. I'm supposed to settle this advance in 30 days but I've only spent 1/5 of it and was told that they really don't like to take back $$ (since they give us a check). So I write to the person in charge and explain that I've only spent 1/5 of the money but will be running participants for the next two weeks and will spend much more of the money, could I have a two week extension. I got an email back with a friggen lecture about how it's important to reconcile these things in a timely manner. I was so friggen annoyed. 1. I'm contacting you before the 30 days is up. 2. I explained exactly why I was asking for the extension. 3. It's pretty damn stupid for me to give them cash, so that I can turn around and ask for another friggen check (which I'll have to go to the bank and cash) in order to pay my participants for the next two weeks. 4. Everyone who has been around forever told me this was no big deal and that the office hates to take money back so just tell them you'll reconcile in two weeks! Ugh.

* Manicures should last longer than 4 days! Got mani and pedi's with my sister to make up for the one I got on Saturday and was chipped to all hell this AM. I'll let you know how long this one lasts. I got my last pedicure from the same place I went to today and it lasted over 3 weeks.

* I need to find some good beach reads. I'm going to FL for girls weekend with my sisters in 2 weeks and I intend to sit by the pool and read/nap continuously. :) Any suggestions?

* One of my RAs came in today unexpectedly. She was originally not going to be in town but instead she came in and helped me kick ass on some data management stuff I've been bogged down with. And she's coming back tomorrow!! Yay for help.

*Started working on diss ms based on the comments from my undergrad mentor. Didn't get very far at all but it makes me feel good to even do the tinyest bit. If it rains this weekend (last I heard it is supposed to on Saturday), I'm heading to the coffee shop to write, write, write.

I think that's all my random thoughts for today. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Job Market Woes

I haven't applied for a job in 2 weeks.

There are just not any new postings out there at all. And I haven't heard from any of the jobs I've applied for. I'm stressing.

I've started to compile a list of schools that I can send applications to for part-time adjunct positions. This scares me, I don't have any idea how I can teach enough adjunct classes to actually live and still make progress on my research.

I have been thinking about contacting an I/O psychologist I know who does consulting on the side and sometimes needs assistance. I have no idea if they have any consulting work coming up but it can't hurt to ask. I am not an I/O psychologist so who knows if I even have the skills this person would need if they did have consulting work.

I need to do something though. Not sending out applications is worse than getting rejection letters.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If you apply for NIH, DOE, or NSF funding , you should read this.

Federation Stakeholder:

Last week a much anticipated supplemental funding bill was voted upon in the Senate. The bill, Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (H.R. 2642), provides supplemental funds for domestic programs including NSF, NIH, DOE and others. The Senate passed the bill 75 to 22.

The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives, who are expected to vote on it after the Memorial Day recess. President Bush has vowed to veto any bill that includes domestic spending that exceeds his cap of $108 billion. The Senate’s vote of 75 to 22 makes the bill veto proof. We call upon you to encourage House members to do the same.

It is particularly important that this bill pass because it is the only additional funding that these agencies will get until spring, 2009. It will allow the agencies to fund many current research proposals that have been recommended for funding but for which there are not sufficient funds under the current appropriation. It could mean that your or a colleague’s proposal can be funded!

Please contact your member in the House of Representatives and ask them to support H.R. 2642 as passed by the Senate. To identify your congressional representative, visit and input your home zip code. Once you have identified your representative call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to their office. Tell the person in the office that you are calling to encourage Rep. ___ to support H.R. 2642, as passed by the Senate. Make sure to give your name and address to confirm you are their constituent. Please encourage other colleagues, friends, supporters to call their Representatives and voice their support.

Thank you,


Meghan McGowan
Policy and Program Specialist
The Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
750 First Street, NE
Suite 905
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5922
(202) 336-6183 - fax <>

I am so excited

that tomorrow is Wednesday!! Yay for 4 day work weeks.

I received comments from my undergrad mentor on Diss MS 1 today. Overall she said she really enjoyed my paper and that it was very well written. As I've mentioned in other posts, I find writing really hard so I was thrilled to read her comments, especially because she is the consummate editor so her standards are really high.

Now, I just hope I have time later this week to get to it. I have a ton of post doc related work that I need to get done this week. I'm running participants again next week so I won't have much time at all to write then.

I haven't had a chance to type up the letter to the editor regarding my reviewing post. But I will post a follow-up when/if I get anything from the editor.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I have been asked to review a paper for a rather low ranking journal. I am not knocking the journal, it serves a purpose for a popular sub field in which I've done some research. The reason the editor asked me to review was that I co-authored a paper that was published in said journal and cited in the paper I've been asked to review.

I pride myself in being a very conscientious reviewer. With my shiny new PhD, I'm only asked a few times a year and I want to be known as a good reviewer, especially by editors for the journals in which I'd like to publish. I also REALLY appreciate well written reviews that obviously indicate that the reviewer took the time to read and evaluate my work (even if it's not a positive review).

I am struggling with this paper that I've been asked to review in a way I have never struggled before. The author is obviously not a native English speaker. The grammatical, word choice, and sentence structure issues that make it clear that the author is a non-native speaker are also making it nearly impossible to get through the article. I want to make it clear that these writing issues are very serious. I have to read and re-read each section trying to figure out exactly what the author is trying to say. Sometimes there are words missing from the sentence so that I have to figure out what may be missing to make the sentence make any sense at all. It's an incredibly frustrating process, as it really clouds the science which is what I'm trying to evaluate.

I haven't even finished reading the article as it is taking me 3x longer to read each section that I would have expected. So here's my dilemma. Should I even write a real review for this piece?

On one hand I want to send the editor a note saying that the writing issues make it impossible for me to evaluate the science and therefore I can't do the review. On the other hand, I do not ever refuse to do a review and feel guilty for even wanting to do this. When I agreed to do this review I had no idea the time and energy it would take and I feel like it's such a waste of time trying to figure out what the author is trying to say. Even if I write a full review my #1 comment has to be that the paper needs to be completely re-written to ever appear in the journal.

As another issue, I am also wondering whether the editor even read any of the paper. How could they have missed the major writing problems with this paper? I suspect that this journal never triages any of their papers (not many in my field do, almost every one of them send out every paper to be reviewed), so even if the editor noticed the writing issues perhaps they still have to send it out via journal policy.

So I'm interested in hearing from all of you.

1. Would you write a thorough review or just let the editor know that it's unreasonable to review the manuscripts current state? I am also curious to hear whether you would do the same thing if the paper was just really poorly written but it was not clear that it was a language issue (i.e. you knew the person was a native speaker of the language or it wasn't as clear cut as it is in the case of this particular manuscript)?

2. Do you this (or if you are an editor, do you) editors should read at least some of the article prior to sending it out for review?

3. Do you think that editors should send out papers even if they know there are major writing issues with the paper?

4. Does your field do any triaging? Are you pro and anti this process?

I'm really interested in hearing what other have to say.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Morning Laziness

I starting this morning by sitting on my deck, with a cup of coffee and my computer basking in the sun. I love when days start off like that. Reading blogs and email and just relaxing without a care in the world.

I decided that this was a no work weekend and it's just what I needed.

I got my massage and manicure yesterday and they were "eh". I was spoiled in Oct by a girls weekend that included a spa day at the most luxurious, professional and expensive spa I've ever been to. So yesterday could just not live up. I still have some $$ left on my gift certificate so I think I'll give them one more try but I have a feeling I'll be holding out for the more elaborate spas in the future.

We're off to my sisters to help them out with some yard work. I have a profession issue I'd like to blog about, it has to do with reviewing articles, but that will have to wait. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Extra Long Weekend

I decided today that I'm taking tomorrow off! And I already have Monday off for Memorial Day so I get a 4 day weekend.

I've been working really hard to move forward a number of projects for my Mentor. Which has meant a lot of time doing data management tasks that basically have me chained to my desk staring at my computer for hours on end.

SO... during my time off I'm going to have an hour massage to ease my aching back and shoulders and I'm getting a manicure too. I really wanted to do it tomorrow but they didn't have any appointments open so they put me on a cancellation list but I also have an appointment for Sat if that doesn't pan out.

I am very excited about my spa afternoon, the best part is that my husband (who I have to come up with a cool nickname for) bought me a gift certificate for this spa so my luxurious afternoon of pampering will cost me NOTHING. yippee

Help Me Interpret, part II

Post doc and the annonymous commenter on my last post confirmed my suspicions about the post doc job I received an email about yesterday.

I was interested in hearing other's opinions on it before I gave mine because I am SO incredibly pissed off right now. When I sent this email to my current mentor she said "did you not find out about this job until long after it was posted?" So the consensus is that it's a timing issue and not one of qualifications for the job.

As it turns out this job was posted end of April, I wrote my cover letter and emailed my recommenders on May 2nd asking for letters (mailed my CV and cover letter that afternoon). Recommender 1 sent letter May 3rd, Recommender 2 sent letter May 5th. On May 15th I emailed Recommender 3 (my graduate advisor!!) to say "did you get this email about this letter I need" and they responded that they did get it but hasn't sent it yet because they had been swamped!

Guess what that means? The post doc job got the most important letter!! 2 weeks after the other two letters and all my other materials arrived (which means they got it yesterday or the day before) and they contacted me immediatly upon receiving it.

This is the 2nd job opportunity where I've gotten a "too bad your letter was so late" email. The last one was not my grad advisor, so at least it's not always the same person but I really feel like they're screwing me here! The letters are written-- all they have to do is change the contact info, I try to give them as much notice as possible.. how fucking hard it is to find the time to print it out and give it to the department secretary???

So here's to hoping that they hate all the first rounders and I actually get the chance to interview.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Help me interpret the email I just received

Hello Psych Post Doc,

Thanks very much for your application to the post-doctoral position at the really cool place that you'd like to work. We are still finishing our first round of interviews this month, which should be completed by the end of May. I will certainly be in touch after that to let you know whether we can invite you for an interview. In the meantime, I do have your reference letters and CV, and I appreciate you sending along these materials.

Best wishes,
Person Running the Search

I won't share with you what I think until I've heard your unbiased opinions. Interpret away...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Huge Pet Peeves

People who back out of things at the last minute, or who change the plans to the point where it's just completely inconvienient for me.

So frustrated right now. Was supposed to go look at gyms with my sister, she backed out yesterday because her boyfriend was going to have their computer fixed.

Talked to her this morning and again this afternoon we're going to go, make plans to look at 2 gyms when we talked 1.5 hours ago. Just called to say her boyfriend needs to have the computer fixed (apparently didn't do it yesterday), can I meet her at the gym instead of her picking me up and she's not interested in the second gym anyway.

Well, I'm not super interested in the first gym so I just said forget it, go without me. If I had known this, I would have just stopped at both gyms on my way home given that I drive right past both of them!!

I'm so pissed off.

Alone in my office

I am the only one here this AM. I've been here for 2 hours and it's amazing to me how productive I can be when there isn't anyone else here to disturb me.

I am hoping my mentor gets around to reading the paper I sent her. I am anxious to hear her thoughts. I have a feeling that her making me a deal to stay here hinges on whether this paper goes over well or not. YIKES.

On the job front, another one of the jobs I applied for has been canceled. Again, it's nice that they let me know but it's making me nervous about my job prospects. I did get a confirmation email for a third job that said they were looking over their applications and would be getting in touch to do interviews in the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random Ramblings

* Who the hell weedwacks at 8am on a Sunday, shouldn't you be at church so I can sleep!

* My throat is still scratchy, but it hasn't gotten worse so I'm betting on allergies over strept again.

* Grad Advisor (GA) wrote back to say they're going out of town so I sent my paper to my undergrad mentor (UM) to read in the mean time. I'm annoyed about this but really don't have a right to be. I'll get good feedback from UM and then hopefully GA can make minimal changes and we'll get this paper submitted.

* It's beautiful out today, I'd like to get some exercise but the scratchy throat may pose a problem.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm a rockstar

Well, as close to one as I'll ever get.

Yesterday I sent Post doc ms 1 to mentor, today I sent Diss ms 1 to my graduate advisor, I have been a writing rock star. And I'm looking forward to starting to look over the reviews for rejected ms so I can get to work on revising that for a new journal.

On a not so happy note, my throat is scratchy and I'm scared. I had strept throat a couple of months ago for the first time since I was like 13. It was horrible and I'm scared it's back. It could just be allergies and probably is, let's hope the allergy meds I took kick it in the butt.

And my ear is still ringing a bit but it's much better than this AM so hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow.


Yesterday was a great day at work. I got my paper to the point that I felt comfortable turning it over to my mentor (fingers crossed that she likes it!). I also did a bunch of data organizing on the project that will become post-doc paper #2, which I know will make my mentor very happy.

Then last night I went out with a couple of girlfriends to a bar to listen to an 80's cover band. It was really fun! But I am so paying for it today, I woke up with a terrible cramp in my right calf about 4am and now I can barely walk. My right ear is still ringing from the noise of the band (I tried to stay away from the speakers but it was really loud there!) and I am exhausted from not getting home until after 2am and waking up around 9am. I think today is going to be a low key day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

writing, writing, writing

I find writing incredibly hard. In the end my writing is quite good but I have never had a good role model for writing, my grad school advisor finds writing really hard as well so that wasn't helpful.

My advisor also never works on more than one paper at a time so it sucked to be their grad student when they were co-authoring papers with other students.

I'm getting better. When I put my mind to it, I can get into a groove and really make progress. Today I spent over two hours working on the paper with my mentor. I think I might actually be able to turn it over to her after a few hours more tomorrow. I hope she's happy with it (actually, I'm hoping she's more than happy with it!), but I'll settle for feeling as though I did enough to help her move it forward.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and I applied for another job today.

And I received a letter from the last TT job I was waiting to hear from. They canceled their search for this year but they're hoping to get the funding for next year so they said they'd keep my materials and I just have to let them know if I want them reactivated. All in all, I was just really impressed they contacted me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I love sleep

I've known this for a long time, but woke up at 3am this morning and was so delighted that I could still sleep for hours that it hit me again just how much I love to sleep! I don't ever really sleep in, but just knowing I can makes me happy. Of course it is allergy season and my allergies just make me want to sleep all the time so that could be influencing my thrilled about sleeping feelings.

Ok, I really need to get some work done today. I want to turn this paper over to my mentor on Friday and I've done nothing with it this week.

Must get back to work... I know, I'll work for a bit and then go to Starbucks for a coffee break that should motivate me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Over the last two days I have gotten nothing done at the office. I'm too busy thinking and planning my vacation. Everything is booked now hotel, flights and rental car, guess I have to get back to work tomorrow.

Sh... don't tell anyone but I have a tooth ache, and a terrible fear of he dentist. I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to ignore this for much longer.

My fear is quite rational though, I had a REALLY horrible experience at the dentist as a pre-teen and I have been petrified ever since. I chocked on a piece of tooth when it broke and the dentist was screaming at me for being upset about that. Nice huh? So I'm always afraid that I'm going to choke and picture that jackass screaming at me whenever I go.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Going to miss my RAs.

Today was our end of the year lab party so it was a long day of work followed by trekking out to my mentor's apartment for the party. It was a nice get together, we gave out funny lab member awards which I think went over well.

My mentor told me today that all of my RAs wrote about how much they adore me in their final papers. Apparently I have them convinced that they completely designed the current study we're piloting! :) I really do value their feedback and hard work so I guess that comes through in my interactions with them.

So now we have a little down time before our internship program starts and so I'm planning a long weekend away with my sisters. Just a girls weekend of laying by the pool, drinking fancy alcohol drinks and getting massages and pedicures. I can't wait!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Not everything is better on-line

As I've mentioned, I have been applying for a bunch of jobs this week. All except for one asked for the materials to be submitted on-line. Which in theory should be so much easier and quicker than printing out all of one's materials, finding an envelope and then heading to the post office to mail it off. But they so ARE NOT EASIER!!

Here's my reasons why...

1. If they want you to apply through their on-line system there is never a person involved, I don't know who to address the cover letter to, who to contact to make sure they got it (some of them don't even bother with the form email to let you know your application was received), or who to contact if their damn system won't let me upload my materials.

2. Each one makes it sound like all you have to do is upload your CV/resume and cover letter and you'll be done, but in actuality MANY of them have have you also basically fill in all of the information on your CV electronically. Um.. if you're going to have me fill in my work history and education information, why bother having me upload my CV?

3. Some systems don't allow attachments, so that means I have to take out all of the formatting from my CV (which I specifically put in for ease of reading) before I can paste it into their stupid little box which doesn't even let me see what it will look like when they get it because it's really just a 4" X 2" rectangle showing a paragraph at a time.

4. They all say that due to the number of applications they receive they regret to inform me that they can't contact me if I don't get the job. So I spend all this time uploading materials, writing very specific cover letters, filling out their stupid forms that ask for all of the same info I have in my CV and then they can't even send me a friggen form email to say sorry you're not getting the job. what the hell??!!

Of course, if some of these places start calling me for interviews I will be a lot less bitter about the application process.

Whoa two good days in a row.!

Yesterday was yet another good day. I spent the day finishing up some analyses from the day before and working on the paper that data is going into. I made really good progress, and the data rock! So I am excited about getting this paper out. It's just my mentor and I, with me as first author and she is currently working on a paper with each of her grad students but wants my paper at the end of next week. I am sure it will move quickly once she gets her hands on it and I'll be well on my way to meeting my goal of 3 first authored submissions this summer.

I also applied for another job yesterday - non-academic research institute. I really hope they call, it sounds like a really great fit. I'm going to send out two more applications today, both of these are academically related research positions. I'm amazed at how many relevant jobs I'm finding right now, but underwhelmed by the lack of contact from any of them after I send in my materials.

Let's hope things turn around soon. I'm trying to be patient and remind myself that they don't necessarily begin contacting people as soon as they get responses to their ads. They need to wait and see who applies. Right? Right???? :)

So my plan for today is

1. Submit two job applications.
2. Work on dissertation manuscript (#2 first authored summer submission).
3. Get cards for mom and grandmother.
4. Have some fun later, maybe take the dogs for a walk and spend some time with my sisters.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Today was a good day...

I applied for 2 new jobs. One academic (basically a post-doc) and one non-academic.

I inquired about adjunct positions for next year at my current institution.

I also had a really great morning, I did a bunch of follow up analyses on a paper I'm working on with my current mentor and the results were fantastic. And I had a meeting with her about another project that I've been running pilot subjects for and that was fantastic as well. I finally convinced her to drop a condition which will make it much more streamlined and more controllable.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I might be wrong

I checked the NIH deadlines today and realize that I might have been a bit paranoid. It looks like my mentor won't know about the grant until later this month or early next month. I do have reasons to be a little paranoid but I wish I were better at keeping those feelings in check.

I applied for another job today and there are two others I'll probably apply for as well. I feel a little more control when I'm getting applications out, even if I'm not hearing anything back.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm pretty sure I'm not wanted...

So I was thinking today that I'm pretty sure my mentor should have heard about one of the grants that she listed me on. If she didn't get it, I don't see why she wouldn't tell me that we struck out again.

But.. I'm starting to wonder if she did get it and is hoping another job will come through for me so she doesn't have to give it to me.
1. Because we have a weird relationship and I'm not sure she's 100% happy with me even though I try to do exactly what she wants and
2. Her lab is already so tight on space, if I were to leave it would make things easier with the new post doc and grad students coming in.

I guess the other option is that she heard but the funding score is borderline so she doesn't want to get my hopes up until she knows for sure whether it will be funded or not. I hate feeling not wanted and yes, this could be paranoia... but you know how sometimes you just know something isn't quite right. That's how I feel right now.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I gave the speech at my undergrad alma mater on Thursday and it's really helped to inspire me to get back to work. All of the faculty at my alma mater were so welcoming and proud of my accomplishments. Even parents of current undergrads were coming up and congratulating me and telling me how proud I should be.

I've been so consumed with the job search and freaking out about not having a job in the fall that I haven't been able to write or do any of the stuff the things that are actually going to help me get a job.

But, since my speech I am feeling better about myself, more optimistic and I actually did two hours of writing today! I probably have another 3-4 hours of editing to go on my first dissertation manuscript before I can send the new draft off to my advisor (who is my co-author). Hopefully, I can keep up the momentum so I can get some more papers out and get things rolling in the right direction.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who Needs an Office??

I really miss working outside of the office.

In graduate school I shared an office so I was only in there between classes to check email, when setting up experiments or when holding office hours. Thus, I got used to working at home or out at coffee shops. I analyzed and wrote all of my dissertation at a local coffee shop. It was great to just grab my lab top and my headphones, get a super sized latte and crank out chapters for hours on end.

My post-doc mentor wants me in the office all the time. On one hand, I get it. The studies I do here are way more intense than in grad school and I am literally in the lab for every single participant. Also, this is a training post doc for me so it has been really helpful to be in the lab and have a graduate student or my mentor to turn to whenever I had a question about the new techniques and research I'm learning.

However, I feel really confined by the fact that I have to go to the office every day. I'm not getting nearly as much writing down as I would like and I feel resentful. I had so much freedom as a grad student, when I wasn't on campus nobody was looking for me. Now, whenever I want to work from home (like today as it's easier to get to my undergrad from home than from post doc institution) I worry my mentor is going to get mad. It's almost like I have to call in to let them know I won't be around.

I've tried appealing to my mentor by saying I write better when I'm not in the office I share with two other people but they just don't buy it. Apparently, they always write in the office and have always written in their office even if it meant sticking around after everyone else when home so they don't get it that I'd be way more productive if I could take 1 day a week as my writing day. Instead they think I should just learn to write while I'm at the office. It's so frustrating. It's impossible with the constant stream of RAs and other personnel streaming through my office. Not to mention the other two people who talk and play their music (granted, they try to be considerate, but they're in the office > 40 hours a week too so they have a right to want to have it be conducive to their work habits).

I have shifted my work schedule so I get to the office 2 hours before anyone else does so that I can get some writing done but how I long for the days of working in the coffee shop for hours on end without interruption.