The Plight of the Post-Doc


Come on, get happy!

Arg, again I am a day late for the Scientiae Carnival, but I'm doing a post anyhow, dammit!  This month's theme is celebration, and it's a great way to start the summer.  I feel like we so often focus on the trials and tribulations of being scientists (and with good reason, as the trials and tribulations of scientists are many) that we often forget (or worse, are afraid/ashamed) to allow ourselves a little joy when things go well.  So, what do I have to be happy about?

When we last checked in with each other, I was reeling from the realization that I'd soon have to leave my lab and struggling against a bizarre but deep-rooted discomfort with success.  Since then, I've been working hard to get a plan together for September, and it's actually all been kind of......awesome.

The obvious choice for a new lab is a Famous Dude at a different NYC institution with whom I've recently done a little collaboration.  I met him in his office a couple of weeks ago and said, "I'd really like to continue the work I did with you last year, studying the effects of A on measure B, with a general focus on brain region C." He said, "Well, A might be OK, but we don't really do measure B anymore, and I'm not all that interested in brain region C." At that, both my jaw and heart dropped what felt like a mile. But before the waterworks could begin, he went on: "Look, the lab is pretty full, but I'd like to help you out.  Why don't you try to come up with some ideas of things you'd like to do that fit within the current focus of the lab, and we can talk again in a week or two?"

Believe it or not, at first I was devastated.  The thought of having to leave my pet project--my pet brain region, even--behind made me super sad.  I mean, what if someone else did the experiments while I was off being unfaithful, messing around with brain region D?  MY experiments?  It was then that I realized how head-over-heels in love I'd been with my own ideas, and how monumentally stupid that was (more on this in a future post, probably).  I got a grip and said to myself, "Self, we have a chance to work with Famous Dude, who pretty much sneezes Glamour Mag pubs.  Let's think of some sexy new experiments and make it happen!"

So I had some thoughts and I wrote them up in a little 1-page specific aim-type proposal, which I nervously sent off to Famous Dude one Sunday evening.  He got back to me within the hour with a response that included the expression "home run."  Not to brag or anything!

Now of course, nothing is set in stone (there are, as always, money issues) and thus part of me thinks we shouldn't dare start celebrating just yet.  But another part of me says, you know what?  Go ahead and bask in the glow of that tiny bit of validation--heaven knows we don't get that too often.  

So as things progress on this front, I'm allowing myself to feel cautiously optimistic.

In the meantime, I'm headed to two meetings this month to present some cool new data.  I finished my poster last night, and as is customary in the Dr Becca household, I made myself a cocktail in celebration.  It's called a Bijou, and it may be the most delicious potable on earth.  Equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse, stirred with ice until very cold and then strained into a cocktail glass, it is elegant, balanced, and the perfect accompaniment to just about anything.  Garnish with a homemade brandied cherry if you like (I like).


PS: Lots of other current events of note, but I think trying to squeeze it all into a single post may be ill-advised.  Stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! Look at that booze shelf in the background!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Definitely pat yourself on the back. Home runs aren't a commodity. :-)

Anonymous said...

Very cool - a "home run" from a respected scientist ain't nothin' to sneeze at! Enjoy the celebration, and the booze. ;)

Comrade PhysioProf said...

That motherfucking bar is fucking mind-blowing!!! JEEZUS FUCK!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy for your sciency researchy run homing glow basking. Really. Yay you, & all that, but I can't stop staring at your wet shelf.



Becca said...

We take cocktails very seriously here at Chez Dr Becca. As a matter of fact, J recently took 2nd place at a cocktail competition one of our favorite bars hosted. His drink will be on the menu! For more boozy fun, check out one of the early posts here, A Boozy Interlude

Anonymous said...

Ok, your bar and drink mixing style has got my, um, dopamine receptors seriously doped up. (Just trying to keep on science point, here, though failing.)

"Can you imagine if your job were simply to drink fancy drinks and write about it?"

Yes, yes I can. I imagine it often, repeatedly. & I do my best to live that way. Minus the writing and getting paid part.

I'm thinking it would be fun to see photos and inventory lists of all of our drink cabinets of curiosities. Mine right now would be the sad interior of a hoary freezer and the lonely 99% empty bottle of Bombay Saphire within. I am so ashamed.

Candid Engineer said...

Awesome re: your "home run". Nice to have someone respond that way to your ideas, esp. Famous Dudes.

And honest to god, I almost crapped myself upon looking at that picture. You have taken cocktails to an entirely different level, my friend. :)

Mike said...

I'd never heard of a Bijou before, but after reading this, I made these for our guests this evening (we regularly sip green chartreuse) and they were DAMN TASTY!


biochem belle said...

It's always nice to get a little validation... especially from Drs. Famous.

I can only aspire to have suck a kickass bar one of these years ;)

Becca said...

@hectocotyli et al: If those of you green with home bar envy would like my rec's for must haves as you start your collection, I'm happy to oblige!

@Mike: So glad you tried the Bijou! I seriously haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like it. It's a real crowd pleaser :)

Anonymous said...

Next time someone says my alky collection is over the top I'm going to show them that pic.

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