All aboard!

January 20, 2005

Whee! This Friday, I’ve got an interview for the teaching job.  The course is going to be held on Tuesday mornings. This is good because it won’t cost me evening time, thus it would would theoretically be less stressful. It is bad because I’m supposed to be working on Tuesday mornings. I should probably discuss this with my supervisor before I go for my interview.

I had to reschedule my experiments because of the interview, and planned in some lab hours for Saturday. And since I’ll be there anyway, I might as well do A, and B, and a bit of C. Seems like I’ll be in all day. Sigh.

I also started my online course today. Can’t say much yet, it was all introduction. But it could well be good.


What I did on the weekend

January 17, 2005

I decided against applying for the German job. I will probably have one chance to go to Europe for job interviews and a family visit this spring, and I thought I’d better save that chance for something I really want. Like the Lay Science Magazine job…

I did send out an e-mail about teaching that course. And afterwards, got quite nervous about it. If I get the job, that would be very nice and all, but it would also conflict with our tentative plans of trying for a baby. This is true for any future job propects, of course, but this one is a bit more real than the others.

In an ideal world, Alexander would find a full-time job back home starting in the fall, and I would get pregnant somewhere in the spring or summer. This would enable me to take a year or so off, and to work parttime or freelance for a while after that. It would be nice to develop some skills / make some contacts in the meantime that would help me get further in writing/editing and keep me up-to-date in teaching. I am working on that right now with the editing course and the teaching job I applied for.

We don’t live in an ideal world, of course, and it much more realistic that I will look for a job and then take maternity leave. It’s just that I’d find it unfair to future employers who’d offer me a position,  only to be slammed with maternity leave right away. Also, I would like to have the chance to stay home as long as feels necessary, rather than putting a child in daycare too early.

But then we might not succeed in getting pregnant quite so soon, or not at all. It also puts a lot of pressure on Alexander to find a job, and I know that’s hard on him. I guess I’ll just keep looking and we’ll go with whatever happens to come up. Oh, and let’s not forget to enjoy life in the meantime!

Opportunities galore

January 15, 2005

I haven’t decided yet whether or not to to apply to the job in Germany. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t want the job (location, location, location), but I would like to know how I measure up. Plus, a job interview in Germany equals a flight ticket home! The problem is, they ask for two references, and I’m not quite ready to tell my supervisor that I’m considering these kinds of jobs. I think I’ll put together an application on the weekend and then see how I feel about it.

But there’s more! Today I was talking with a colleague who moonlights at College Y, teaching evening courses. I asked him how he got into it – connections, what else. He told me he had just received an offer to teach a summer course in a subject he wasn’t too interested in. It turned out to be perfect for me: well within my area of expertise, but it would require brushing up my knowledge, and I would have to develop the material. A nice challenge! Of course, there are some drawbacks: it would take a lot of time, and I’m not even sure I’m allowed to do this kind of work. I might have to get my work-permit changed. Still, I’m going to write an e-mail to say I’m interested, and we’ll take it from there.

And there’s even more! I still haven’t heard back from Lay Science Magazine regarding my application. I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to their shortlist, but so far, no news is good news.

And more! Next week my editing course starts, which I’m pretty excited about.


Parts of speech

January 11, 2005

I’m reading up on English grammar, and I find it surprisingly difficult. I’ve been taught Dutch grammar in school, obviously, but in English class we only got very rudimentary grammar. Most we learned was by reading, listening and talking. So now that I’m faced with the exact definitions of participal phrases and adverb clauses, I find it a bit daunting.

Therefore, lest I forget:

– like verbs in that they can have different tenses, can take subjects and objects and can be modified by adverbs
– unlike verbs in that they only describe action, not express it.
– 3 kinds: infinitive, gerund and participle

infinitive: (e.g. to write)
– used as a noun, adjective or adverb

gerund: (e.g. writing)
– used as a noun

– used as an adjective
– 3 kinds:
a) present participle (e.g. writing) show action going on
b) past participle (e.g. written) indicate action in the past
c) present perfect participle (e.g. having written) indicate past action extending into present time (This I remember from high school!)

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of definitions:
adjective: describes or limits a noun or pronoun
adverb: describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb

Get it over with

January 11, 2005

If I seriously consider focussing more on writing and editing, the very least I can do is finish that abstract. It’s only 500 words. I won’t have time for it tomorrow. It’s on a very familiar topic. And other people’s blogs will still be there to read when I’m done.


update: done! And I got an immediate reward: I found an interesting job opportunity. ‘Medical writer’ sounds attractive. ‘Germany’ not so much, though.


January 10, 2005

I’ve been working as a postdoc at Institution X for over two years now. Although I do like my job, these past two years have made me realize that I might not want to pursue a career in science after all. There’s just too much I don’t like about academia. The politics. The culture of publish-or-perish. The toll it takes on your personal life. And at this stage of my career, still the continuing frustration over experiments that just won’t work.

It’s not that I didn’t have doubts before. It’s just that during my PhD, I knew I was working for a degree I really wanted, and that kept me going. I have no regrets over doing a PhD. I am proud of my title, and it has given me the chance to do what I’m doing now: work in a good lab and live in a different country for a couple of years.

I work less hard now than I did during my PhD. And I like that. It has given me a chance to rediscover my other interests: literature, history, creative writing. Which again fuels my doubts about a future in science. Do I want to spend all my time and energy on my career? Would I be able to have a life beside my job?

That’s where I stand now. I’m as curious as you are to see what happens next.

I’ve been writing. I’ve been reading. I’ve been read.
I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been inspired.
I’m here now.