Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Job Search 2008: The Possibilities

Today, I slept. I went to bed early and must have suffered through a nightmare. I woke just after midnight and hurried down the hall, calling softly for the cat. I had this strong feeling that Sprout had gotten outside and was freezing in this wintery weather. But he blinked at me sleepily when I found him sleeping on the couch downstairs.

“Hi,” I greeted him as he regarded me with some suspicion. Normally when I actively seek him out, I want to clip his claws or trap him in the car to travel. So he stayed out of my reach. “I was just worried about you,” I informed him and headed back upstairs.

The initial worried search had awakened me too much though and I found myself flopping on the corner of the couch to check email. I’d sent a note to the group of students I met that thanked them for their time, complimented them on personality and ability and invited them to friend me on Facebook so we could keep in touch. (And so that I could increase my feeling of self-worth by adding people to my friends list.)

As I confirmed New&Political, New&Fashionable and Sam, I smiled fondly that they’d responded. Then I shook my head when I noticed that the guys had upwards of 200 friends. I’m pleased that I broke into double digits.

“Hey, buddy,” I said as Sprout wandered under the coffee table and leaped onto the cushion by my side. “Did I wake you? Are you doing OK?” He purred, the loud sound comforting as I stroked his coat, wincing when I’d shock us from the overly dry conditions inside the house. Once he’s aware that his presence is desired, he generally makes his way to you in good time.

In thinking about these jobs, I’m growing almost frantic with indecision. I keep thinking of all the possibilities and future repercussions and it’s making me rather ill.

“I don’t know that there’s one good way to assure you end up in a good situation,” I said thoughtfully to YoungerStudent as we talked on Monday. “I guess my advice would be to focus on the next step. If there’s a fellowship you want or a project you love, head in that direction. Learn and meet people and do good work, and future opportunities will present themselves. If you find you’ve gone in the wrong direction, there’s time to correct and do something different. So don’t worry so much, my dear. Just educate yourself about your options, make the best decision you can, and don’t think past your current options so much that you're paralyzed by fear.”

In some attempt to follow my own advice, let’s review my current options.

Faculty
I loved the group. They’re growing their research program and struck me as positive, supportive people. I enjoyed talking with them.

The problem is that they want a skill set I don’t have. So the question has been what kind of risk we’re both willing to take that I can pick this new concept up and be happy doing it.

The current status - officially - is that I'm waiting to hear something. When I write, Director replies within a couple of days and let’s me know they’re still thinking. Unofficially, Advisor spoke to them and noted that they liked me a lot, but aren’t sure I’m right for that specific position. The goings-on now are, according to Advisor, involved with moving money around to see if they can find a way for me to come and do what I do best. Which is lovely and I’m thrilled, but it’s not guaranteed to work out.

Industry
I’m not at all surprised that I haven’t heard from my contact again. I decided to take a cue from Sprout and stop pestering him for a little while. He knows I’m interested and he has my information. The only time he’s been responsive is when I’ve waited 6 weeks between emails. So I’m in a state of waiting here too. If they offer an interview, I will absolutely take it. As far as the job, that’s more complicated.

I wouldn’t do science anymore. And while that thought isn’t abhorrent, it a scary departure. Stepping away from research would make it tough - in some sense - to return simply due to the nature of this particular job. I would, however, develop new skills, enjoy a higher salary and not have the funding worries the faculty job would entail.

Pseudo-Academic
Then there’s this new one and while I’m relieved and very pleased they’re interested, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel. With a vague worry toward offering too much information, it’s directing some technical aspects for a research center. I read the description and thought I would be absolutely brilliant at the job. I love documentation and training and talking to people about projects. I’d love to collaborate full-time without having major projects of my own, fill out forms and deal with schedules, come up with more efficient ways to manage money and time.

Two students who graduated from Advisor’s group have worked with the current scientist who might hire me and say very good things about him. He replied to my email expressing my pleasure at being invited to interview very quickly and said he looked forward to meeting me. There are a couple reasons I’m not the ideal candidate - so this too isn’t at all assured of working out - but given that it’s a funded position (and therefore not dependent on grant money) and I like so many facets of the description, I’m getting excited about the possibility.

And I’m trying to remind myself that the next step is the only one I can really control. So I’ll take the pseudo-academic interview and try to impress. Then, if things are still up in the air, I’ll bug the industry folks in another month or so with the thought that they might be like Sprout. In need of a reminder that I’m interested and available, then requiring their own time to think and decide if they’d like to come close enough to interact.

Job searching is hard. But writing this out made me feel less sick about the whole thing, so I appreciate your patience in this difficult time.

5 comments:

CharlieAmra said...

Hang in there. The job search can be a weird and frustrating ride. But sometimes, when you least expect it, opportunities will present themselves. You just have to be mentally prepared when they do.

I am sending you happy thoughts and good karma.

phd me said...

Good luck with all this. The job search...ugh. It's just tough. Sending you good thoughts.

JustMe said...

yes, good luck with everything.

dolls like us said...

You will find a job when you least expect it . I got a job sorting magazines one time and I didn't know what they hired me to do only that they hired me I got all dressed up and got filthy . Everyone dressed down their I was so excited when they hired me that I didn't ask what the job was.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Good luck! As someone who's in a similar searching but who is stuck between I can tell you it's still going to be okay. So just breath and keep your options in the air and eventually something will come through.

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