Category Archives: worrying

My thoughts on (yet another) rejection

This morning I found out that I didn’t make it to the interview round of the homecountry fellowship I applied for. This was the second time I applied for this fellowship and the tenth time I applied for anything. This fellowship would make sure I could stay for another 3 years and have some time to apply for other things to try to establish my own group. You can only apply twice and this was my second try. For your reading pleasure I have organized these thoughts in two categories.

1. Pessimistic thoughts

Crap, now I only have 1 year and 3 months of postdoc time left if I don’t get another grant or fellowship. And with zero out of ten so far, why on earth would number 11 be more successful. Why would I even bother trying. If I didn’t get this one, why would I be more successful with a more senior fellowship? And why am I trying to get my poor little baby who is having quite some trouble sleeping at daycare used to this place if I’m going to then do something that a couple of reviewers and a committee think I suck at? Why have I spend the past four years as a post-doc instead of invest in trying to find another job? Because so far it seems the only skill I got from this is that I am remotely capable of dealing with a whole bunch of rejections. Is that useful anywhere?

2. Optimistic thoughts

Okay so I didn’t get this grant, but a lot of the review comments were actually pretty positive. It sucks that this one guy (yes I know who you are if you ask me to only cite papers from your own group) was very negative and said my CV was poor, but other than that they liked my ideas. The new lab that I will work in is headed by this professor who is really good at writing grants and might be able to help me improve. Also, I appear to be the only one who can do what I do in this group so they might want to try to keep me beyond the 1 year and 3 months that I have signed for now. And that would give me some time to try for the next things. Because I just found out that getting an ERC starting grant or the homecountry equivalent gets you a tenure track position at this university. Maybe if I get around this corner I can see the top of the mountain?

For the past two years I have told myself that if I got to ten unfunded grants I would stop and find a job outside of academia. But I think I’m going to try again. Because I tend to be optimistic most days.



Filed under academia, decisions, disgruntled postdoc, finding a job, funding, grant writing, leaving academia, life in the lab, postdoc, review, science, women in science, worrying

Who gets to worry most?

For some reason the past week has been full of pessimistic (or realistic) remarks about how bleak the funding situation is. First, my PI was announcing at lab meeting that the two big R01s that the lab has will end next year (that was not new to me, but it was to some of the lab) and that it’s unsure whether they will be successfully renewed. Then, he told us about how if the US government has not determined a new budget in Januari, NIH may cut, even in existing grants. I didn’t know how that worked, so I asked DrugMonkey on twitter, who explained that indeed the NIH can do that, but that Obama promised it wouldn’t happen (if I have time I will embed those tweets later).
Same day, I got an email from the Society for Neuroscience asking their members to oppose sequestration (and they have a webinar about what it is too). And then today we had a seminar speaker who at lunch started to talk about how the current environment is not very good for young scientists in terms of money. Oh and a home country paper talked about how some of the grants from the home country’s scientific organization only have a 5% funding rate….
So at lab meeting we were talking about who gets to worry most. One of my post-doc colleagues has a husband with a good job, so she is last in the line of worrying about her job. I come next, because Dr. BrownEyes and I both have jobs, but they’re both in science. And the one who gets to worry most is my post-doc colleague who is single. For now, this is how I approach this:


Filed under grant writing, money, NIH, sequestration, worrying