Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday delurking

After this weekend my family and I are heading out of town for a few days before the push starts to get two grants written for the Jan deadline. A few days away (including 5 flights with the Wee One!) before the madness begins. I thought I would just wish everyone a good holiday season and safe travels if you're going anywhere.

In the spirit of the holidays I thought it might be a good time to invite the many lurkers that pass through here to say hello. Roughly 1200 - 1500 clicks land here every week and yet there are probably 20 or so regular commenters, most of whom write a blog themselves. No, I'm not sick of those follks, but I would like regular readers who don't normally weigh in to say hello and describe yourself as generally as you want. At times this gig is a conversation and at others it feels a bit like performance art. I don't mean that as a complaint, but simply that on occasion it's nice to get some feedback from the silent majority.

In a way, I guess this is like an earlier post, but this blog continues to evolve for me. I'm not sure how it will change in the new year. I am considering blogging a bit more about topics closer to my research heart, but must still wrestle with the issues that come with paving an internet path to my lab door. Inevitably I will end up becoming less pseudoanonymous here, but I'm not sure when or how that will happen just yet.

So, Dear Readers, what topics would you like to see discussed more here? I'm sure there are things that I haven't even thought of that might be useful to many. Would more science be a good thing or is the process of growing into this job far more interesting than what we actually do in the lab? It's entirely possible that those who do frequent this dive come because the topics discussed here are the ones they care about, but here's a chance to weigh in.

37 comments:

  1. Delurking! I think. Don't think I've commented before, but I might have (or possibly anonymously). I read via RSS usually. Don't usually say much because I don't have much to contribute (brand new grad student right here, still learning the ropes. Would blog, but I'm a horrible blogger). I love hearing about the prof's side of the job & what that's like. I would enjoy more science talk if you want to share--I like to hear people talk about their research. Thanks for writing!

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  2. So I've been following your blog for some time (I've occasionally commented). I wold really be interested hearing more about your grad student recruitment/selection process. I've sent my applications out to several programs and its still a little bit of a mystery of how things are done!

    Anyway, have a great holiday!

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  3. Delurking here too! What keeps me coming back, in truth, is the balance between science and the process of growing into a faculty member. As my name suggests, I am a new Asst Prof, in the process of transitioning from a non-tenure track to a tenure track position, wrangling my first two (small-to-medium sized) grants, writing more of them (!), and making sure that I rememer I have a personal life as well. Surrounded by a lot more senior folk, it's nice to know others at my stage are out there. Happy Holidays!

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  4. I too, am delurking a bit. I enjoy reading your blog in the morning over my cup(s) of coffee while the caffeine takes hold. I am a 2nd year post doc (with three more years to go thanks to a generous "gift" from the NIH-NRSA people). I see myself in your shoes in a few years and laugh with you at the idiocy of others, scream in frustration at the slow-moving, feet-dragging funding bodies and in general just enjoy reading the things that happen. Scary thing is, I can relate to a lot of the things going on in your life already. Crap.

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  5. Delurking to say hello.

    I am postdoc in the physical sciences contemplating what track I would like to pursue (the two extremes: R1 vs government research). I continue to come back because I find your posts informative and insightful on topics I haven't yet considered. You write in an accessible voice.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us.

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  6. I am a new follower of your blog and a new assistant professor as well... So a cocktail of interesting science and details about how you deal with your faculty position would be very interesting !

    Happy Holidays!

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  7. I'm a first year grad student. I'd be interested to hear more about finding and keeping funding for your lab.

    Thanks for the excellent blog!

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  8. I tend to lurk. Not sure if I have commented here before or not. I a PhD student, I enjoy following a bunch of "life in academia" blogs and yours is one of my favourites - a good balance of honestly, insight, and hilarity. Enjoy the holidays

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  9. Awww, I knew y'all had it in you. Great response so far!

    LM - I think a lot of people probably read by RSS and thus are less likely to comment.

    Eugenie - That's changing as I talked about the other day, but I will certainly be talking about this once applications close in the new year.

    NAP - I think a lot of the blogging community is here to hear the experiences of others because they are not surrounded by people at their career stage. Commiseration loves company.

    Dr. Zeek - Still blown away by the "gift" thing over at DrugMonkey. Unbelievable. Sort of. Postdoc years fly by, enjoy them.

    New PDF - Thanks for reading.

    thephys - My only reason not to blog about my research much (other than the aforementioned) is that it is well outside the majority of research topics that get discussed. Maybe that would be interesting because of the variety, or maybe people get bored quickly because they don't relate to it. I try (though don't always succeed) to avoid boring people if I can, but it's something I will likely start doing more of and see what the response is.

    MGS - Me too. I'm working on it and will keep that topic up to date.

    Liz - Thanks for the nice comments.

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  10. Delurking as well.

    I'm a non-tenure track faculty member and am hoping to transition to tenure-track in another couple of years. I enjoy hearing about the political and practical aspects of new asst. prof life, especially in conjunction with the trade-offs for family balance vs. career progression.

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  11. I just like hearing about other people who are dealing with the same shit that I am!

    Happy holidays :)

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  12. I mainly read you for the NFL pool updates. All the new faculty stuff is just a bonus.

    (I started a TT position same time as you...)

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  13. Delurking here too. I'm finishing up my PhD in a few months, and the plan is to do a postdoc, but anything beyond that is a little more hazy. I enjoy getting glimpses into life as a new faculty member.

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  14. Best wishes for safe travels and a happy holiday (5 flights??? Egads!).

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  15. I lurk and occasional use your blog for material for our 'Blogroll' column:
    http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v1/n5/full/nchem.304.html
    http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v1/n9/full/nchem.452.html

    I must confess to being completely and utterly mystified by the NFL pool posts!

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  16. not super new anymoreDecember 18, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    PlS- Delurk here from an asst. prof. who has been at this for a couple years now (geez!) Also have a spouse, kid and a house and I like hearing about your trials with those aspects of life. But I suddenly realize that I'm not so new any more, that I've burnt a scary amount of startup funding (gotta spend money to make money), and am preparing manuscripts. Also, now that I have a federal+foundation grant, I realize that someone might actually (gulp) ask me for advice.

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  17. Delurking to say Hi and Happy Holidays. I'm likely in a similar field as you (based on the meeting you went to this past June), and I'm also a relatively new assistant professor at an R1. I find the process of growing into this position nearly as interesting as the science that got us into it in the first place.

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  18. Not a lurker, but happy Christmas to you and your family! I hope the flights go well.

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  19. Happy Christmas PLS. I enjoy reading your blog because of a "there but for the grace of god" kind f schadenfeude :) I'm off the lab-track now, and miss it sometimes. I enjoy the accessibility of your writing style adn the topics you cover. I'd like to read more about your reseach, but no rush there :)

    And because no one else has yet: Fuckitty fuckeroo. Some holiday swearing.

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  20. I’ve been meaning to delurk since July, so thanks for calling us all out. I’m a first year assistant prof, also trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing. Personally, I’m more interesting in reading about the process of growing into the job than about the science. For many of us, the science is the easy part because we love it and we’ve been trained to do it. It’s everything else (politics, recruiting, funding, the perplexing things that happen at faculty meetings) that we need to commiserate about. I love reading the blog. Keep it up! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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  21. Let's see... Found your blog through other science blogs, possibly Dr. Isis. I've been out of undergrad for a few years and working at a teeny tiny biotech company while I try to find the right lab for graduate school. Know any marine microbiologists looking for motivated PhD students?

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  22. I am a senior post-doc who wants to know what life holds for him if things go forward in the way I hope! Be careful what you wish for?

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  23. Not sure if I've commented before. I'm UK-based faculty, 12 years into a 'continuing' post (nearest thing to tenured we have) and still trying to work out how to make things work/get money/have a life...

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  24. Delurking..

    I'm a 2nd year grad student studying in Singapore. Loves reading about what Faculty members generally face in their career, to better understand the world my advisor lives in (he's a 3rd year Asst. Prof.) I'm his first grad student.

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  25. ABD grad student delurking.

    Read because you are funny and I want to know what kind of bizarre career I'm getting myself into.

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  26. I'm a senior undergrad, who will hopefully be moving on to grad school next year. I like reading the stuff you write that deals with life as a science academic.

    It helps to see the other point of view. An example of this would be your post on what it's like as a junior faculty member to be on the panel for a preliminary exam or defense. As the person being examined (honors thesis in my case), it helped me to realize that the faculty involved had more on their minds than just interrogating someone.

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  27. Female European academic, in my 2nd year as a lecturer (which I think is about equivalent as your t-t position, except there's no concept of tenure here, so my post is permanent) and enjoy finding out about the similarities across careers and continents.

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  28. Not so much a lurker. Am new assist. prof, about to start a lab and spend the start-up; trying to figure out the best way possible without being wasteful and starting to have nightmares about lab renovations (which I'm not getting, so I don't know why I'm having the dreams). Worried about getting funding, having an impact, all that stuff. Glad you are posting.

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  29. I'm another delurker... although I think I've commented once before. I really enjoy your blog and read it every week or so. I'm an Aussie, postdoc-ing in the US and am currently on my second postdoc. I miss my family and friends back home and am currently interviewing for a job back in Australia. I guess I would like to hear about your thoughts on family versus career and what is success (a great job? a great partner? 80 hour work weeks or quality time with loved ones and weekends off?). That's for the great blog! I loved the Mofo salutation entry a week or so back!

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  30. Definite lurker here. Post occassionally but check the blog at least once per day. Will try to comment more. Hard to match the insights of Prof Mofo PLS. New assistant prof undergoing many of the same issues as PLS, PiT and others. Keep the good stuff coming.

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  31. Hey there, and thanks for asking. I am finishing up my graduate work, writing my thesis, two papers (likely papers that will never be published), surviving the "break-up" between my PI and I, a mom, a wife...and really trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do now. Do I go on? I am here looking for other role models than those shitty ones I've recently endured. So thanks to you and all the other bloggers who take the time to share.

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  32. I'm a PhD student. I read because I want to get a better idea of a PI's perspective on research and grad school. Reading your blog and others like it are helping me try to be a better and more useful grad student.

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  33. cookingwithsolventsDecember 24, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    'ello and happy holidays everyone! I am semi-anonymous (not trying to hide my ID but i'm not using my name, either). I'm a post-doc at a large research U out on the job market this year. I'm very happy to have a few interviews coming up. I found this blog looking for advice about applying, interviewing, setting up, and running a science laboratory while planning and teaching effectively. I've also been on the lookout for how others have dealt with the infamous two-body problem.

    I'm busy doing holiday family stuff, writing a paper or two, and putting together fantastic talks on the cool stuff I want to do in my new lab (and editing ones I've given on the cool stuff I've done in the past...).

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  34. A 1st year Assistant Prof here - I enjoy the insight and candor in your blog and learned a few tricks too from your posts. Thanks for sharing.

    Be great to hear about your research in more detail as well.

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  35. Wow, that was a bigger response than I had thought. Thanks to all who spoke up and hopefully many of you will again in the future. The value of the medium (for me at least) is in the opportunity to engage in a pseudodiscussion of sorts, so the more the merrier.

    In any case, thank you for all the nice things said and I hope to keep people interested in the new year. There may be more about research (though I need to find the right way to do it), possibly some family news and there will certainly be plenty about balancing everything ahead.

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  36. Oh, and Anon from Dec 18th looking for PI suggestions. Email me.

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  37. Given that my New Year's resolution is to delurk - I guess I will follow through even though it isn't New Year's yet. I read and lurk since I'm in a similar situation - new biology prof with kids & trying to figure out the ropes. Said ropes include developing new research program, students, faculty meetings, and the dreaded office of sponsored programs. Thus, most of what you write about is of interest and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one wrestling with the same issues.

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