Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Freaking out about job stuff

As I mentioned in my first post, I don't have a job for the Fall.

I applied for 2 grants to stick around my current position.
- both were not funded (one was a NIH NRSA, which was scored but not high enough to be funded).

I applied for 2 post-docs
- received 1 rejection letter and although I know the other position was filled and other people who applied received a rejection letter, probably lost in the mail

I applied for 2 faculty jobs
-received 1 rejection letter right away without an interview, and haven't heard anything for the other although it's been 2.5 months by now. Expecting the rejection letter any day now (or maybe I'll never receive one), this one was not a great fit so I'm not surprised. I only applied due to pressure from my post-doc mentor.

I have applied for 4 non-academic jobs.
- I received one rejection email (no interview, pretty sure I didn't make it past the HR phase of the process).
- Heard from the HR person at another job that they have closed that hiring spot right now while they "re-evaluate" and they'll be contacting candidates for interviews when they re-open the search. I assume that really means "if" they re-open the search.
-I have 2 others that I haven't received more than a "thank you for applying" email from their automated application website.

I have one more post-doc that I'm going to apply for.

Even though I know it's only April (well okay, May), and my current contract doesn't end until Aug and my mentor said they'd be able to float me for a couple for a couple of months if I needed them to, I am freaking out. I'm worried about not having a job, about not having health insurance, about how my husband's salary won't be able to cover our rent and allow us to eat.

I could probably adjunct next year but I'd have to do a lot of it in order to make enough money and a lot of places are advertising now for the Fall & Spring and I'm just not ready to go that route. I think I'd feel a lot better if I was at least being interviewed.

I meet or exceed the needs expressed in all of these job ads. I've had lots of people read my cover letters, I have great letters of recommendation, I've published a fair amount for someone at this stage of their career, I have a post-doc at a top 5 program in my field. I look great on paper, I could totally understand if I was getting rejected at the interview stage, with fit and all that being so important but I'm baffled why I can't seem to even get a second look.

And of course I keep telling myself that it doesn't help to freak out. But that doesn't help either. :(

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The joys of psych research

Today I collected some pilot data for this major project I'm working on in my lab.

I ran 4 participants and it was less than a success.

-Each one is supposed to take 1.5 hours. Every single session ran late (almost a full half hour late) even though we cut some of the tasks we worried about piloting.

- My RAs did not memorize their scripts which are the MAIN manipulation in my study, if it comes across as artificial we might as well not even bother. I can't even tell you how many times I've explained how important they and their performance is to this study, but alas it's the end of the semester so it's not eve worth it to read them the riot act.

- All 4 participants were totally suspicious, of course it is the end of the semester and after participating in all their psych required studies they can't help but wonder what we're really looking at.

- Some of our equipment wasn't working, it just all of a sudden quit so we missed a lot of the most interesting data.

- My post-doc mentor was being interviewed for some PBS special right when my first participant was scheduled and had to throw us out of the room we were scheduled for.

Tomorrow I'll have to sort out this whole mess and figure out what is worth saving and what needs to be overhauled. Gotta love data collection one day and data analysis the next.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Changing my mind

I am giving a graduation speech on Thursday for my undergraduate department and I'm a little nervous about the dinner afterward. The faculty who asked me to give the speech said I should talk about my experiences in undergrad, what I've done since graduating, where I'm at now and what I would like to do in the future. I have stuck to this request, except for the last part about what I would like to do in the future as I have recently had a change of heart... or at least have decided to look into various options.

I have been working towards a TT position for as long as I've known I wanted a PhD. All of my previous advisors know this and have encouraged me to do just that. They've written me letters of recommendation, talk about what a fantastic teacher I'll be and how much I'll love having a permanent position. I went to R1 (or Research Intensive as they're now called I think) schools for undergrad and graduate school so my training and the expectations that surround me all lead to a TT research intensive academic job... but I have recently started to look into non-academic positions.

Although I've been thinking about this for a while it's taken a while to convince myself that it was okay for me to look into non-academic positions. Because it took a while to convince myself I haven't really spoke to other people about this decision. I've started to talk about it and although everyone I've told so far (collaborators, my post doc mentor, my grad advisor, fellow graduate students in my old program) has been really supportive, they all have think it's a sudden departure from what I've always wanted. It really is not sudden at all, as I mentioned before I've been thinking about this for a long time, just wasn't ready to admit to myself that I may be happier in a non-academic setting.

I don't know why I'm so worried about what my undergraduate mentors will think when I tell them. I could avoid the question about what I'm doing about a job next year (they do know I only have a one year contract here, and about the difficulties of getting grant funding right now), but I want to talk about my options. I want to not be worried about these things. I want to be able to share my thought process and get their advice.

Instead I feel like I'm not living up to their expectations, that they'll be disappointed and that somehow even the thought of stepping out of academia may be seen as a failure.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My first post

I've been reading blogs for a while now and decided that I would like to have a place of my own to share some of my thoughts and experiences as a Psych Post Doc.

I finished up my psych PhD last August, started my Post Doc (at an elite institution where I don't belong) in Sept and now that I'm finally starting to know what my job is and how I fit into my lab I'm stuck without funding for next year. I've been applying for grants but NIH isn't too keen on funding psychologists (especially in my sub field) right now so I'm waiting to see what happens over the next few months.

My mentor may have a grant funded in which case I could stay here, I applied to 2 faculty jobs (rejected from both without interviews), a few post-docs (so far nothing but rejection...I'm sure there will be another post about this), and most recently non-academic research positions (ah yes... yet another topic for a whole new post). So this is the most likely topic of this blog for the next few months... where in the world will Psych post doc be working next year?