You know the scene.
It's The Big Game. Our protagonist sits on the sidelines in street clothes, a deflated look on her face. Though she trained all season with the team--countless times up and down the bleacher stairs, suicide drills until her thighs cried out in agony, and damn but all those practice penalty kicks/free throws/etc--she didn't make the cut for the championship this year. Late in the final quarter or half or whatever, the game's tied. Suddenly, the home team's star player is down! Her ankle is twisted; there's no way she can keep playing. The coach turns to our protagonist. "Hey!" he says, tossing her a spare jersey. "You're in. Go get changed." A smile, followed by a look of intense determination appears on her face, and she dashes for the locker room.
Yesterday I got an email from my thesis advisor that read, "I'm meant to give a talk on Your Area of Research, Broadly Defined at upcoming Giant Meeting, but I've hurt my leg and can't travel. Would you like to give it for me?" (I am not even kidding, she really hurt her leg. It is too much!!!) Naturally I replied, "YES! YES! YES! Oh, and sorry about your leg!" She promised to send me her PowerPoint, to which I could add some of my recent relevant data.
I am really excited about this, folks. I feel like it's my Big Moment. I checked out the meeting program, and I'll be following one of the country's absolute top people re: My Area of Research, Broadly Defined. It's scary, but also an amazing chance for me to really strut my stuff and get my name out there.
And so, we all know what happens next, right? Seconds are left on the clock. Without warning, our protagonist finds the ball in her hands/at her feet/against her field hockey stick, with no one between her and the basket/goal. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and just as the buzzer/whistle goes.....
The Plight of the Post-Doc