Another Monday

Dear Readers, 

Yes, another monday. I can not describe the feeling I have but I am going to try. Overwhelmed. Angry. Unfair. Well, today my PI gave out to me after I spent my weekend applying for other jobs. He demanded that I was working for him and I needed to focus my efforts on that. A little bit unfair, since he can not promise me or has not told me that he could pay me until the end of my contract. I believe that he is completely in the wrong here, I am being sensible so I am applying for jobs during my weekends because it is the right thing to do. None of his business what I am doing during my private time. So I have decided to disregard anything that my PI says. It is my life after all. 

Again, rejection from Cooley. I decided to reply to the email and state that I was determined to get a job with them, so please could you tell me what was actually wrong with my resume. I know, I am only a postdoc with experience in 3 different bioscience fields (Chemistry, Biochemistry and microbiology) but what is missing? Not expecting an answer from that one at all. 

Remember, “Thoughts, only thoughts.” 



When your 100% is not enough for someone’s 50%

Dear Co-PI, 

About 5 months ago, you urged me to take another job in another lab. That would mean that I would be working 50% for you and 50% for another person. In a normal job, that would also mean that I would give my 20 hours/week for you and 20 hours/week to the other supervisor. Ok, lets be realistic…it is academia after all-25 hours/week for you. And since you have assigned my to 2 projects, that would mean 25% for each project or again lets say 12 hours/week per project. 

This is how you are failing as a supervisor. a) You want weekly reports every friday and you want to have two meetings every monday, one with the group and then a personal meeting. Since you have absolutely no positive or useful feedback, this is a waste of time for me. Especially since I need to explain to you every week what my projects are actually about. 

b) Last 3 weeks you wanted me to work on project A since there was a deadline for submitting preliminary data this week (tuesday). Today, you tell me that I need to supply you with a weekly report and a progress report for Project B. How is that fair…ok let’s leave justice out. What do you expect the progress to be when a person is shifting between 25% here and there? I wonder if you have ever worked in a laboratory. 

I wonder if you realize how this is affecting your student or staff. Speaking for myself, this makes my feel inadequate, not worth working, cutting my confidence and lastly hating the job that I once loved. I am dreading every email from you because it is like getting a curveball every time. 

As I see it, your job is to be a mentor, to be a guide. You are neither. I can not wait until I get out of your lab. It will be one of my happiest days yet. I sincerely hope that your laboratory runs out of money because you have waisted enough research money and you have destroyed enough souls and their future.

I will not let you take mine so easily, I will not give in and will not make this affect my life outside these bars. 


Another application, another day!


Hi Readers,

Have you ever been so swamped in work but still not working? That’s exactly where I am at now. After i was told that I would possible be let go in june, the only thing that I have been doing is WORKING on FINDING ANOTHER JOB! Is that so weird? I mean, nobody tells a person on death row that he needs to get up and work?! Or do they, I don’t really know but if it would be me, I would say “heeeellll no, I am staying here in my cell, working out and doing everything else than doing whatever you want me to do!” Or else what?!
Anyway, applied for a job today in a law firm that has an opening for a technical advisor/patent agent. I decided to change my approach in terms of the cover letter, wrote a bit upbeat letter, referencing people from the company and their reputation and also mentioning the fact that the company has a ping-pong tournament every year (Thanks Google). I will let you know how it works out. I also added QR codes to the bottom of my cover letter, with my contact info as a vCard and a link to my linkedin profile. That way I might get lucky and notice if someone scans in the linkedin code. Smart right?
Lets hope so!

Introverted Postdocs

Dear readers,
I think PhD students and most postdoctoral research are introverts, even if they are not outside of work, I think that our work forces us to be some kind of introvert types. We are struggling with our OWN project, we will have to find ways to do that by ourselves. This becomes more obvious when I watch students give their first talk in front of a group. Hell! my own first research meeting was horrible, I was not able to even speak clearly, throat was dry and I could feel the pearls of sweat on my forehead. Anyway, due to this we (introverts) do horrible at networking, its like pulling out my own teeth with a screwdriver. However, this is what I am doing to overcome this horrible problem:
1. Force yourself to talk to a stranger.
Hey, I am not saying that you should talk to the weird person at the train station! He smells for a reason. But try to have a chat about the weather, riding a bike to work etc. I have tried to do this every day for about a month and it works like a charm and has helped me in a lot of ways. For example, I talked to this guy this morning about the setup of the train car, why the seats were facing each other, since nobody wants to stare at someone else for the whole train ride. Sometimes people just say “aha” and I just leave it at that. Fair enough, don’t overdo it…then you are only a bad smell away from being that weird person at the train station.

2. Linkedin stalking.
Linkedin is interesting to me. Not because I think it works beautifully but it is a true test of curiosity. As a member, you can see who has looked at your profile within the last week. This is a good tool to get noticed. I have found all the recruiting people I talked to, all the hiring managers and looked at their profile. This will mean that a) they get my application and b) they will get a notification about someone looking at their linkedin profile at the same time. Voila, its that person!

3. Business cards!
I personally think that us postdocs in science are not taught well how to interact in the world. I remember going to this course dinner event and every MBA gave me his business card. Of course being from the other dimension, I thought: “What a douche!” But I see now how efficient that can be. I have just made up my own business card with my contact details and a QR code on the back with my vCard and linkedin profile. So if I get an informal interview, I am going to be sure to give that person my business card.

Bench is calling, gels need to be run.

Doctors in Lab Coats

Dear Readers (yes, more than that first one, hurray!)
At my College, there is a yearly ceremony. The White Lab coat ceremony for MDs. Since I am not a real doctor (MD) just a research doctor, I consider this ceremony very weird and outright dangerous. Are you surprised? Let me explain.
If you have ever stepped into a hospital you have noticed white lab coats. If you are extremely aware of your surroundings, you might have noticed the difference in “uniforms” between doctors, nurses, surgeons etc wear. By having this ceremony, then we are automatically putting this White Lab Coat as the top of the ladder (you don’t see ceremony for handing out scrubs, do you?). Doctors themselves see this as a totem of success, they have earned it and if they would take it off, jeez nobody would respect them or listen to them. This is why you should not be surprised to see doctors wear their lab coats in the cafeteria or other places around campus.

Is it OK that doctors do not need to remove their lab coats to go to the cafeteria but the cafeteria staff need to have hairnets, wash their hands etc.?

According to a study from 2011, MRSA (bacteria that is insensitive to antibiotics) was found on both shortsleeve and longsleeve lab coats at the same concentration after 8 hour workday. Another more recent study, showed that “[P]atients are likely exposed to many bacteria through direct contact with white coats, curtains, and ties. They may be exposed to additional bacterial reservoirs indirectly through the hands of clinicians, using computer keyboards and cell phones.

The flip side of it is: If the lab coat is contaminated, wouldn’t the doctor’s clothes be contaminated as well? Good question.

I asked my doctor to take off his lab coat and wash his hands for my last physical. It was weird but he did it…

Your Significant Other

Dear Reader,

Something just occurred to me…while it is easy to feel sorry for myself, doomed in the thought process of the waste of time my Phd has been, how is my wife still living with me!?
Although I try not to let the current work situation affect us, I am probably a bore to hang around with. Thats not cool. So today, I am going to come home and ooze positivity, forget about everything and just give myself and us a brake from it. Jeeez, my poor wifey.
I suggest that even if this is the only thing that is rattling inside that head of yours (just like it is in mine), lets give it a breather when I clock out from work today.

It’s important to stay positive.