Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It was predictable, I told myself after reading the flurry of mass emails from powerful men. Hiring has been frozen for two months. New job postings are nonexistent. We've taken a 'wait and see' position, but - as people like to do - hoped that all would right itself and those people we'd like to have around could be brought on board.

Meetings have been ongoing to determine resources for next year. Industry has a number (so many I'm not sure of the exact quantity) of businesses and allocates money to each of us - like an allowance - so we can produce the things we sell. We may scale back, people warned, and I winced at the thought. I'm here! Have ideas! So let's do cool projects and release kick-ass packages!

"So you'll come to London in January?" a collaborator said on the phone before dawn today. A delightful man I badly want to meet, he complimented my proposals, noted I have a lot to offer and said they'd welcome my visit to their lab. I blinked rapidly and tried to focus, forcing myself to listen and think despite shuddering through fever and pain.

"I'd love to," I replied sincerely, for I love London very much. "I'll see what I can manage," I concluded and winced at the pain in my head and memory of how many excellent research sites I've deflected when they invited me to come. I'm desperate to meet people, examine projects, evaluate ideas. I have a call tomorrow to define a shared vision on a different topic - one I feel passionately is important and deserving of attention.

A Reduction in Force means my particular business could be asked to lay people off. Though logically I feel reasonably safe - I work in a team that should be staffed by 7 and has only 4 - I remain afraid. For even if I keep my job, I'm helpless to manage projects that can't be funded. Ideas matter little if they can't be integrated.

I've had Jello to eat over the last 2 days. And I'm growing despondent about the future.


Anonymous said...

But it's much better than the vicious competition in academic science for publications and positions and funding, and where everyone's an asshole, right? At your huge multinational corporation, it's a motherfucking care bears tea party and everyone is on the same team, right?


Psych Post Doc said...

Sorry your sick. I hope the jello is helping.

Industry, academia, non-profits, government... we're all feeling the pinch. We can do our jobs well and hope to scrape by until things turn around.

I know my job is safe for 1 year (we already have the funding for that time), after that.. who knows?

post-doc said...

If you must be an asshole, I really wish you'd do it silently. You don't deserve to know what a Care Bear is.

Psych Post Doc:
Jello is helping - thanks. I think my fear is that we're not sure when things will turn around. I'd like to take a few chances and push projects that are moderate risk/high reward. It's discouraging that areas like that are going to get ignored.

Job security isn't great at Industry. I think I'll be protected for this round but as management changes, so do priorities and the consequences can be severe. So, yes. Who knows?

H said...

I love your photo of the Winter Sunset Sword. Every winter I marvel at them as they spike up for a few minutes. I have never gotten a good picture of one. Yours is beautiful. I imagine a fierce king of winter cloaked in sunset sword aloft at the horizon.

I never saw sunsets like that before I moved to Ohio.

Feel better soon!

post-doc said...

I can see the sunset from my living room - it catches my attention when the colors change. I smiled because I made a mental note - that I promptly forgot - to ask Friend to ask you what caused that line of light. I'm very happy to know a fierce winter king is making pretty patterns in the sky.

Seeking Solace said...

My husband's company just axed half of his division in our city. He was lucky to survive, but I doubt if the company will keep Husband's division much longer. It going to get tougher before it gets better.

Hope you feel better soon.

The bean-mom said...


Sorry to hear that you've been sick. And still working while sick--ugh.

I'll keep my finger crossed for you. Yes, it just kinda sucks all around these days. (My position is guaranteed for one year, and then I'm already assuming that I'll have to find something else!)

I hope you feel better soon.

H said...

Actually, they are called Solar Pillars, a phenomenon caused by ice crystals from thin high clouds reflecting light.

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