Thursday, August 16, 2007

Anti-K99

Written and sent this morning in response to another of Boss's requests for the most recent draft of my K99 application he wants to put in again in November. And now I feel sick and will likely continue to avoid poor Boss.

Boss,

I don't want to resubmit it. I know we've talked about this before and I do understand your points, but I want to find another job and leave by next August. I think that will allow time to wrap up the projects that can be completed and to put things in a position for someone else to take over.

From a personal standpoint, as my parents get older and my brother and his wife are getting ready for their second daughter, I feel the need to be closer to my family. It wasn't possible to be there for Mom's surgery and while I was profoundly grateful to take the time and visit during her recovery, I hate not being able to pop in for a weekend visit without pretty extensive petsitting and driving plans. I haven't made many friends here, nor am I overly involved with my church. I just can't seem to settle in, so I feel it's time to take steps to move on.

I think Joe's leadership in [field] is strong, but we don't get along well. It's understandable after my quitting his project when I decided didn't like small animal work, but I still feel tense when I'm around him. The [Joe's] group is wonderful and I applaud his building an atmosphere of collaboration, but I feel increasingly isolated within that group. Apart from Joe, I'm doing the only clinical projects and feel the interest in them is marginal at best. I don't like asking SPB for equipment time - I know it's my perception, but it feels demoralizing. Though I realize the grant would provide support for my salary in the mentored phase, there would not be funding for experiment time, which means I'd be facing the same problems with lack of resources for 2 more years. As the den of polar bears moves increasingly to a pay-as-you-go system - with regards to equipment time as well as the computer lab they're building - I just don't feel comfortable doing work here without a bunch of money to pay for what I need. In addition, even for projects that Quiet Mentor will fund, Calendar Queen is openly hostile when I request time or need to accommodate patient preferences in scheduling. I spent the weekend feeling sick because I couldn't figure out what to tell my patient on Monday because Calendar Queen stopped responding to my email. In addition, despite considerable prodding, Dr. Icing isn't recruiting patients. So I have decreasing hope that I'll be able to do much with the icing project. While these certainly aren't insurmountable hurdles for some, they're not ones I have been able to tackle thus far and I don't want to keep feeling inferior because my progress has been slow.

From a scientific standpoint, [reasons I've recently learned that indicate our methods might work, but applied to a different different goal. And I'm not sure how exactly to do that.] So I'm not sure the grant should be funded, though the training component is impressive and could be done exquisitely well here. I just don't think it's right for me. And I don't want to ask people to contribute to something I'd likely turn down even if it got funded.

I would rather focus my efforts on publications and talks to build my CV. The work with VIMD is unlikely to result in any recognition for me, which is truly disappointing when considering the time I've spent on it, but I can do it for another year. I mentioned I'm worried about patient recruitment from Dr. Icing though I'm hopeful that a publication can result from the work I've done in Quiet Mentor's patients. I'd love to get the [Boss's pet project] work up and running on the new system, but have yet to hear about development time we might receive. In short, I think [current institution] is a tremendous learning environment and do enjoy being here a great deal, despite some problems I mentioned. I'm happy with my office and working with Ken. I love and deeply respect the [department] faculty members and feel completely comfortable asking questions and taking suggestions from all of you. I'm looking forward to the next year and hope we can do some important work. But I don't plan to be here past that and don't want to take time that could be devoted to someone who will continue to build the program after I leave.

We can definitely talk if you'd like, but I found I wasn't eager to say all of this out loud.

Thanks, Katie

5 comments:

post-doc said...

Because I work for an exceptional human being, he simply thanked me for my thoughtful reply and asked if we could meet to plan the next year so he could assist me in getting where I wanted to be. So all is well, though now I'm oddly disappointed to have officially announced my desire to leave a place that, though flawed, has taught me a lot. But onward we press, correct?

hypatia said...

Congratulations on doing something brave and on the results you achieved by being clear about what you wanted.

Kelly said...

This is going to sound weird coming from a complete stranger: I'm proud of you for writing this letter. I've been reading along for several months, and it's been obvious just how much you wanted to say these things to your boss. I think it's great that you've taken the initiative to write the letter.

apparently said...

How brave of you and how perfect a response from Boss. I probably just would have avoided it until the deadline and then said I was too busy. You took a much better approach and I'm glad it worked out.

JustMe said...

good for you for writing and sending this. i hope all goes well and that you find a nice, happier job close to your family soon :o)

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