I think it's safe to say that I've probably eaten more Baja Fresh in a 30-hr period than any normal-sized person ever should. But it was that or Sbarro, so... .
Anyway, carnitas overdose aside, I had a very nice trip to Anaheim. When I wasn't compulsively checking the PC-compatibility of my Mac-designed presentation or arguing with my circadian clock about what time it was, I bounced around the exhibits and talks, spending a solid amount of time in the Career Resources Center. And I gotta say, the EB CRC kicked the SfN CRC's ass so much it wasn't even funny! There were at least 3 or 4 workshops going on at any given time between 8 am and 4 pm, plus a job board, plus a private area for interviews, plus people who would critique your CV. In addition to the expected topics like "how to write a great cover letter," "the NIH peer review process," and "how to give a dynamic talk" (hot damn was that one packed! You'd think it had never occurred to anyone to label their x- and y-axes before, the way they were all scribbling furiously), there were some unconventional (and, it should be noted, poorly attended) workshops as well.
I went to the "social media and career development" workshop because I am kind of a crazy social media junky, and was curious to hear how all of my internet friends could help me get a job. Sadly, I was not impressed. I mean, here was this guy, trying to explain Twitter to people, and he hadn't thought to put a screen shot of a Twitter feed in his presentation? People (especially in the scientific community, it seems) are absolutely clueless about what Twitter is for besides reading about what Ashton Kutcher ate for lunch, and hearing nothing but "well you see, you follow people and see their tweets, and people who follow you see your tweets" is not all that helpful.
Oh, how did my talk go? I think it went pretty well. I was a little nervous, and kept saying "channels" when I meant "receptors," but I think in general I was clear and told a good story. I'll admit, though, it was not the easiest thing in the world to present my former advisor's data. It's not that I didn't know it well enough or anything, it's just that on a certain level I couldn't own the work the way I can my own. There was a mediated discussion after all four parts of the symposium were finished, and I pretty much completely BS'd my way through my answer to what was, frankly, a not-all-that-answerable question (DrugMonkey, I truly hope you'd left by that point!)
The best part of the whole meeting, though, was a long chat I had after my talk with one of my contemporaries, a post-doc who left my lab for a second post-doc just before I arrived, and who's just accepted a TT job offer. We talked lots of science, and then some jobby stuff, about which he had some interesting things to say. First, he's currently in one of the departments that had an opening I applied to, and he said that they got 1200 applications for that position, and that the people who got interviews had 7-8 years of post-doc experience. So I'm thrilled to hear that the 7-8 year post-doc is the new 4-5 year post-doc--just like 35 is the new 25, yes? Along those lines, he also said something very wise. He said "Look, if you get a job tomorrow, it's not going to be as good as the job you'd get in a year or two." This is totally true, and made me feel significantly better about my situation. Do I want the job that awesome-ish me could get now, or the job that super-awesome me could get after a couple more fancy papers? Door number 2, please!
Finally, when I asked him how he thought I fielded that discussion question, he said "I think it was an appropriately verbose and evasive answer, given the question." Hahahaha!! I am going to be such a good scientist!!
The Plight of the Post-Doc