Saturday, February 14, 2009


I placed the folded cardstock between my hands, not really thinking about the seminar series it advertised as it perched atop a lunch table. Instead I considered the inherent opportunity the folded paper and printed graphics represented. The free exchange of knowledge. The ability to sit in a room to learn and question and understand.

"No," I answered immediately. Upon arriving last weekend, Mom asked if I could work for Industry forever. I paused after I spoke for the plan had always been to move and grow within the company, finding new challenges and opportunities. But I'm absolutely exhausted and mostly demoralized. I can't continue to function at this level and expect to stay sane.

The week away offered a bit of perspective. I preened when someone told me this was the first visit where they'd actually learned something from an Industry representative. I curled into an airport chair and tapped out messages that would later get sent, trying to address concerns and answer questions that had been greeted by my automatic reply. I did get a summary sent before I forgot details, attaching a five page document full of notes and insight to relevant colleagues.

I returned to questions from various people, some more important than others. I replied immediately to the man who leads the business, thinking him rather good at his job. But I thought about returning in another week - to problems and incredible amounts of work, to pressure and disappointment and problems I simply can't solve - and my stomach knotted in dread.

While that hasn't changed considerably, I did get weepy upon reading an email from the man atop my organizational chart. He mentioned that he's heard from multiple people that I'm doing an amazing job - having an impact with customers and colleagues and taking charge of what has always been a difficult role. He hoped the transition from research had gone well and asked if I'd stop by to talk when I was back in the office so we could catch up.

Then I did my taxes and realized my income slipped above six figures and I've only worked here six months. I thought about how hard faculty members and post-docs and grad students worked and that I am, at least, pretty well compensated for my work here.

I was halfway to some sort of epiphany, I think. Trying to balance pros and cons of academia versus industry, working out my plans and goals despite the chaos that reigned since the invasion began. Then Sprout brought in a live mouse, prompting shrieks from Brother's new girlfriend (who does look 40, by the way - she's pretty, but you can decidedly tell she's not his age, despite Dad's assurances otherwise) and Mom while we scooped up Little and Smallest Ones. The mouse is no more but so went my thoughts. I'm left with the vague plan of continuing to work as hard as possible since that appears to be making a good impression and attempting to find some sort of balance.

I'll let you know when I make some progress.


Psych Post Doc said...

I can so relate to what you're saying here.

I have done some things lately that solidify my position at ANJ despite my overall feeling that I can't stay here forever. Now, I'm starting to think that maybe... if somethings change and I can have influence over the direction of my career I might just stay.

I feel like we're living parallel lives. :)

Psycgirl said...

I'm so glad everyone loves your work - but feel bad that you are feeling so stressed at the same time :( I hope you find the right balance between both (I'm sure everyone would love your work, regardless :)

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