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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Anxiety is killing me

Okay, am I nuts for thinking I was going to get a second interview? This email was sent to me last week:

Hi Shrinky,

Thank you for your continued interest in the position. We’ll be starting second interviews soon, so I should be getting back to you by the end of the week.

cheerful interviewer

That was last week! Do you think that this was more tentative (as in "I should" = there's about a 50/50 chance I will) or do you think it is more likely it is just taking longer than they thought? Seriously, waiting is killing me.

In the meantime, I have a little joblet that is also killing me. I am so thrilled for the job, but everything about it is so up in the air. I never know when they will need me, how many hours, when I will get paid, and how long this job will last. On the other hand, the group of people with and for whom I am working is composed of the nicest, most appreciative, and most generous people I've ever worked with.

The funny thing is that I am working in a medical school helping out with grant writing and publications for some hard science neuro research. It is kicking my ass because I know nothing about neurons, axoons, dendrites, blastocytes, inhibiting, Nogo (but I know "Nogo is no good," although it took my supervisor like 10 times of saying this for me to finally get it), myelin, etc.

The people who work there keep insane hours - and given that there is no food or liquid allowed in the labs, I'm not sure how it is that they work the 14+ hours a day they do (I've never seen anyone leave to get caffeine - and I die without water all day). Rumor has it their lab meetings can go till 4am, and they seem to work 7 days a week.

As one might imagine, they are mostly men, and the men all have wives. I don't know how they could function otherwise. And people wonder why women have a hard time being successful in the sciences! It's becuase, as someone (Steinem?) pleaded in the 70's, we need wives! If I had a wife at home to cook, clean, do laundry, grocery shop, make my lunch, insert my caffeine IV, etc., I could work those hours too (maybe - but given that I am being paid hourly, I think I could do it).

Yesterday when I left, the big head honcho head of the lab saw me leaving and waved enthusiastically (when people arrive, they gaily call out, "Good morning!" and they actually seem happy to say it, and people respond in turn! It's obscene!). I waved back and he asked what I had gotten done and I said I'd finished everything (they like that I work fast - though I wish I were slower, given that I am being paid HOURLY). He seemed pleased by this, and asked if I made comments on the grant as I'd done the day before. I said I had, and he bobbed his head and said, "Good! Good!" and gave me a thunmbs up. Adorable!

When I first met him, he scared the bejeesus out of me by asking me to tell him in detail about my own research - and he grilled me and asked me questions too about neuroscience (I know nothing!). I was terrified by him and scared I wouldn't get the job. He then gave me a 5 minute spiel on what they were researching, replete with drawings - and then I was sent off to edit their grant. He wanted me to edit for content - not just grammar. I thought for sure this wouldn't work at all.

At the end of the day, we went over my comments, and he exclaimed how pleased he was that I understood enough about the stuff by the end of the day to be able to note when some sections really didn't seem to fit, or didn't seem complete. Yay!

The grant is due next week - so I may be out of a job then (but I think maybe not), but it has been a good, albeit exhausting, experience. I took today off because I had had a migraine for two days (due to not eating or drinking all day, I think) - so I knew I needed to recoup today, as i have a sense I'll be working every day for the next 6 days. Good money though.

Another thing that is exhausting is that I am the only person who is a native speaker of english. It is exhausting communicating with non-native speakers all day! Plus, each of them is from a different country - so you just start figuring out one person's dialect, and then you have to talk to someone else and start all over again.

However, the dialects of non-native speakers fascinates me. I feel almost like a junior linguist as I listen to them and follow the patterns of speech depending on where they are from. Like the japanese researcher cannot pronounce r's, and instead say "L" (like "lice" instead of "rice"), whereas the guy from taiwan uses a "w" sound for r's. Fascinating! I kind of want to keep a chart during the day as I think it is just so damned interesting.

But, this isn't something I want to do for long. I ned a job that fits my interests and skills.

By the way, I applied for the job I mentioned earlier in which they wanted someone who was bi-lingual (in every other way than that, i was a perrfect match). It had been posted for a while, so I thought maybe they'd be willing to go mono-lingual (although I do a really good hybrid of french/spanish/german/italian - could that be my second language? Frermanishian?). I filled out the tedious TEDIOUS I SAY on-line application (as awesome as it is applying for jobs on-line, the applications are horrible to do), I sent it off. Two days later, I got an email saying I didn't meet the minimum requirements for the job and thus would not be considered. Argh! The other difficult thing about a lot of on-line applications is that there is no way to contact someone and talk to them about the job (or you are explicitly told NOT to!).

I hope I get a real job soon.


At 8:40 AM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Hubby and I decided long ago that we need a wife. They (it isn't necessary for a 'wife' to be female) would cook, clean, go to the grocery store, cleaners and bank... all the things we don't have time to do.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That kind of waiting-for-a-follow-up-call anxiety is exhausting. I totally relate. I would not take the delay as a bad sign yet, and if you haven't heard by the end of this week, I'd say it would be okay to follow up with them.

In the meantime, good for you for finding a temporary job where the people seem pretty nice.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

huh... I was that anonymous person. Why didn't it show up as me?!?!

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Last night on Grey's Anatomy, Christina (super-driven, ambitious surgical intern) accepted her boyfriend's (super-driven, ambitious, attending cardiac surgeon) on the condition that they agree to "pay for a wife" so that her career doesn't suffer.


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