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.