Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{November 24, 2005}   Trail of destruction in my wake…

My M.Sc. supervisor retired shortly after I left there. My current supervisor’s lab is closing. And now I’m in Ottawa and the Canadian government is about to fall

Was it something I said?

{November 24, 2005}   One down, one to go

Had a nice trip to Montreal yesterday to meet with my potential post doc supervisor. He seemed very nice, the facilities are excellent (lots of fun new toys that I would get to play with — X-ray, DEXA, CT, histomorphometry set up, genetic knockout mice… good times). The lab was a lot smaller than I was anticipating (currently 2 post docs, 2 lab techs), which would mean more supervisor face time than in a huge lab. Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk directly with the 2 post docs as one wasn’t there and the other was in the middle of something, so I only have the supervisor’s word that he’s easy going and reasonable to work with (it would have been nice to hear from the people who work for him on that, but c’est la vie).

In related news, I received my itinerary for my trip to Stanford next week. I get to go to 3 airports that I’ve never been to before! (I stop at Portland on the way there, arrive at San Jose; on the way back, I stop at Sea/Tac). I’ll let y’all know how that trip goes!


{November 22, 2005}   Update from Ottawa!

I’m in Ottawa! Staying with Sarah & Dave (who we all know and, based on the comments on my previous posting, love very much) and their two adorable cats, Gunther & Moe…btw, to anyone who hasn’t met the cats yet, Sarah & Dave are now officially crazy cat people… but don’t tell them I said that đŸ˜‰ I’ve been working on revising my lit review today and it’s going OK (although it is somewhat heart breaking to cut out paragraph after paragraph that I agonized over when I was writing it!)… my goal is to have the whole lit review revised before I get back to Vancouver… I’d like to say I’ll have the lit review revised AND the discussion chapter finished but I think that may be just a crazy idea!

Tomorrow morning I set out for Montreal! Wish me luck!!

Also, everyone should go and read the wonderful Haiku that Jorge wrote at my request. Thanks Jorge!

{November 18, 2005}   I’m leaving on a jet plane….

… on several jet planes, actually.

First, I’m off to Ottawa to stay with Sarah and Dave for a week… Ottawa will serve as home base for my visit to McGill on Wednesday to meet the prof there in whose lab I’m considering doing a postdoc. I’m staying for a week because (a) Sarah & Dave rock and I don’t get to see them nearly enough, (b) I’m hoping the change of scenery will help me to focus on finishing up this damn thesis, (c) I wanna watch a Sens game with Ottawians, (d) I’m hoping I’ll get to see my sister & neice (and any other various relatives) who may drive up from Toronto, and (e) did I mention that Sarah & Dave rock?

Then it’s back to Vancouver for a day (I have to TA a class that day) and then off to sunny California to visit a prof at Stanford University in whose lab I’m also considering doing a postdoc. She’s paying to fly me there. Her assistant is booking my flight. How cool is that?

And then I have one hellava huge decision to make! I’m really hoping that having the opportunity to meet these two profs and their lab groups will show me which of these two lab environments I want to spend the next few years in.

{November 14, 2005}   The Plot Thickens…

So, I emailed the California profs one more time, just to let them know that I had an offer and to see if there was any interest there… I was having horrible thoughts that I’d accept the McGill offer and then the next day one of the Cali profs would call and say, “I want to hire you and I’ll pay you $50 million!”… OK, so they probably wouldn’t pay me $50 million, but what if they offered me US$40,000 and really good benefits? Anyway, I emailed just one last time and today I heard back from the Stanford prof, who said she could see why other profs were pursuing me (I guess my fears that my reference letters contained disparaging remarks about me may have been unfounded) and could she call me on Thursday to discuss stuff? Ack!! Now I’m freaking out again! Too much pressure!! Too big of a decision to make!! Both labs do outstanding research — stuff that I would be totally interested in working on. Both universities are good names. And since I don’t know either of these profs (nor anyone who knows them), I don’t have a clue which one would be better to work for! Double ack!!

{November 11, 2005}   Freaking Out

So I talked to the guy from McGill again today and he offered me a post doc position in his lab, starting April 1. I have two weeks to let him know my decision. After I got off the phone with him, I had a horrible thought — this couldn’t be a really elaborate practical joke, could it?

So I mention on my blog that I’m talking to someone about moving to McGill, and suddenly McGill is the highest ranked school in the country (tied with U of T, which has held the top spot for the past 10 years). Coincidence?

{November 4, 2005}   Interesting Development

In the interest of actually having a job if/when I finish this thesis, I’ve been emailing around to a few labs to see what kind of post docs positions are available. A couple of profs in California sounded interested in talking about the possiblity of my working in their labs and asked for reference letters, but now appear to have fallen off the face of the earth (I’m really, really hoping that they are just super busy right now and that it isn’t because there was something terrible in one of my reference… “Beth is a hard worker, but she’s not very bright” or “Beth is fine to work with as long as you don’t cross her… trust me.”) Discouraged by the lack of replies, I emailed some other profs, one of whom is at McGill… and to my surprize, this guy offered to phone me to chat about the possibility of working in his lab. So we arranged a phone meeting and he sounded surprisingly enthusiastic about the idea — was talking about how he could be willing to pay me for a year while I applied for CIHR funding and when was I thinking I would want to go there and if I’m headed out east for Christmas I could go and visit his lab! And I’m thinking “whoa! you haven’t even seen a transcript or my (apparently terrible) reference letters! I could be totally lying! I could have made up my entire CV for all you know!” So anyway, he’s looking into his finances to see if/when he could afford a postdoc salary and I’m supposed to look into the CIHR postdoc application and get my two “in progress” papers to at least the “submitted” stage to strengthen my funding app and he’s going to call me again next week. So, needless to say I’m totally freaked! It’s nice to know that there is a very real possibility that someone would want to hire me, but I’m quite hesitant to move away from my ocean and my beloved mild winters! And my Vancouver Canucks!

Anyway, just thought I’d share my news (and angst) with y’all! (I imagine Sarah will have something to say about the possibility of my moving to her neck of the woods).

et cetera