Love of science minus the misery…

…of the more unpleasant aspects of the job.

Did I mention that I am going to another meeting next month? In my current state of paper and grant rejection, going to a meeting doesn’t sound very appealing to me at exactly this moment. Plus, it just sounds like kind of a detour from all the paper-writing I could be hiding in my office doing during this time. This I-wanna-stay-home attitude is very unlike me- I usually really enjoy meetings, they are science camp (without the crafts but with nifty live demos)- and for me they play on everything that is best about science. Talking about new ideas with a bunch of smart people, seeing colleagues and collaborators from all over the world, thinking about my own projects in new ways and seeing what new cool technology people have developed since last time- I totally dig this. I relish sending daily meeting reports to my close collaborators who didn’t attend- and the discussion continues from yet another aspect…. and I’ve learned to ignore some of the over-the-top politicking that goes on at these things.

This meeting is a big important meeting… with all the right initials and held in secondary schools in the northeast in July, you know the kind I’m talking about. The meeting roster is the who’s who of my subfield, and the larger field that encompasses it- so it is a little intimidating. All my previous mentors will be there, plus many colleagues from various stages in my training. Two of my colleagues (you two know who you are), convinced me that I MUST go… good for my career… yada yada yada… They are COMPLETELY correct, it is good for my career, and when things are not going exactly as I would wish the last thing I should be doing is sitting home pouting. Plus, as I have posted about previously, there are not that many assistant professor level people getting funded in my area… so from this perspective it is totally useful to go and chat about great science with would-be-review-panel members. Sigh… but I don’t feel excited about it.

That is, I didn’t until yesterday. I was letting all the stupid details of deadlines and the grant rejection I was so not expecting things not going perfectly, let me get bogged down. I was mentioning this to a trusted senior colleague… who uttered these wise words….

You will enjoy this meeting if you uncouple your love of science at your justifiable misery at not being allowed to flourish.

So right, I love what I work on. I’m working on this grant and I think the project is so cool now if only someone else would, I could talk about it all day. Walking into the lab to talk with my ‘people’ and seeing what’s new in their experiments is the rush of my day. And after all, I want to finish those three manuscripts I have sitting here and send them out… because the work is done, I think it is good (though reviewers may say otherwise), and it should be out there! As for everything else, I am going to take the days grants one at a time ….

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16 thoughts on “Love of science minus the misery…

  1. This is just the time when meetings are the most beneficial. You’re feeling crappy about work now, but when you come back from this awesome meeting you’ll be all jazzed up again. Looking at it that way, the timing couldn’t be better.

  2. I’ve learned to ignore some of the over-the-top politicking that goes on at these things.

    I hope you are just kidding around. You should, at a minimum, be paying very close attention to the politicking in your field, so you can understand how high-level decisions get made and who makes them. And, ideally, you will be engaging in as much politicking yourself as you can, with the goal of exerting as much influence as possible on your own behalf.

    Finally, if you are going to Salve Regina, I feel your pain. What a fucking miserable venue for a fucking Gordon Conference. One of my subfield GCs is going to be there next summer, and I will be getting a room at a local hotel rather than stay in that fucking hovel. And the food in the cafeteria is what I imagine prison food to be like. The last time I was there, I kept expecting Shefiff Arpaiao to jump out from behind a fucking shrub and fucking pistol whip me.

  3. Dude, I had to look that Salve Regina up, I thought that was a joke. Does that mean something interesting in Latin?

    Anyhoo, doubledoc said “secondary schools” of which Salve is not.

  4. >looking up GRCs, July, hmmm, MFO… MFO….<

    oh yeah drdrA, the “secondary school” you are going to ….SUCKS!!!

    /arch rivalry

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  5. Shamefully, I have never been to a GRC.

    This summer is a bust, so much traveling while looking for a job.

    next summer though…the current problem is that I see 4 meetings that appeal to me!

  6. Ecogeofemme- You are so right. I’m going, even if I have to be dragged onto the aircraft.

    PP- I put that in there just for you.

    Drugmonkey- Not Salve Regina- but I do prefer Newport, RI to the actual venue where I am going. Let’s just say it’s stickier than Texas in july without A/C and so many mosquitoes…

    Bikemonkey- Ah hah. I know. I’m familiar with the northeastern secondary school scenario. Let’s just say I’m so sorry that I missed an alternate meeting in PARIS this past spring.

    Pinus- I like the small meetings- … you’ve been traveling to look for a job… a break to set up your lab might be in order. Don’t let yourself get out of the loop though, very important to go to meetings as a junior person!

  7. Let’s just say it’s stickier than Texas in july without A/C and so many mosquitoes… Let’s just say I’m so sorry that I missed an alternate meeting in PARIS this past spring.

    aah. I see I misjudged.

  8. “Dude, I had to look that Salve Regina up, I thought that was a joke. Does that mean something interesting in Latin? . . . .”

    Sure; it means “Hail, holy Queen.” This name signals Catholic affiliation of the institution that bears it. It’s also the title of a song some 500+ years old. That a song has lasted so long tells me it means something to some; to wit, and to wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salve_Regina

  9. Actually, the one good thing about the Salve Regina venue is that the college’s gym is beautiful: very big spacious workout space with lots of cardio and strength training equipment, and very empty during the summer.

  10. PP-

    I’ve been working 8 am-10:30 pm on my grant non-stop every day for the last two weeks. My regular workout schedule-which one of the only things I try to do religiously- is SHOT. Maybe tonight I’ll get there…

  11. Uncoupling love of science from the misery of whatever the current FUBAR is…I like that a lot! Good luck with the grant.

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