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.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Katie tagged me for this award last week and I just figured out what I was supposed to do with it. I'm sorry it took me so long Katie, I'm really flattered, I'm just still new to this stuff.

So now I have to tag 5 blogs that I think are beautiful.

Of course Katie is my number 1. I love her pictures, they always make me think and I can't wait to hear the stories she tells to go with them.

Lanqui is my number 2. Um.. have you seen YO? What is not beautiful about that amazing baby boy.

Hope is #3. Although I love her purse :), I'm tagging her blog for her words, I love to read her posts, she's a wonderful story teller.

Princess Pointful
is #4. Check out her camping pics, you understand why.

is #5. Her Thailand pictures are amazing and make me want to hope on a plane immediately.


Seeking Solace nominated me for this amazing award. Thank you so much SS, it's such an honor!!!

Now, here are the rules.

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

Now, for my nominees and I must say this is a REALLY hard decision as I truly enjoy all of the blogs that I read. So, I made my decision based on wanting to thank a number of you for the really great advise and support I've received during my short time blogging.

1. Katie
2. Mamabeek
3. Di Di
4. Sassymonkey
5. New Post Doc
6. Fishy
7. and last but certainly not least Seeking Solace (don't worry you don't have to choose another seven, I just think you deserve it right back.

Summer Reading

Based on a post by Seeking Solace over at Thoughts From the Waiting Room, I thought I would share my summer reading list.

So far I have read.

The Deathly Hallows for a 4th or 5th time. What is a summer without some Harry Potter, before the summer is out I'll probably read all 7 again.

Something Borrowed and Something Blue, by Emily Giffin. I loved Something borrowed and liked something blue. They revolve around the same characters which I thought was great, something blue ended just a little to tidy for me but great beach reads!

Now I am reading Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand, I'm only 100 pages or so in but so far so good. My mother and sister both read it and loved it so I'll have to keep you posted on my thoughts.

So, what have you read this summer?

New things

As I'm winding down my post-doc job and starting to think about the new me, I decided to shake things up around here.

I changed my layout and blog description and added a new picture of a place I love .

I also changed some things about me yesterday, chopped off about 6 inches of my hair and got funky red highlights. You can kinda seem them in this picture here. I'll see about getting a better one that I can share with you.

I'm sure over the next few weeks there will be more changes to come.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Baseball cures all things

Got surprise tickets for tonight's game. Sat in row CC (that's 3 rows from the field) in right field. My team won and I drank too much beer. Plus the company was great, lots of laughs. It was THE perfect ending to a hell of a week! :)