Saturday, July 22, 2006

Now's the hard part

Well, I survived my trip to D.C. I found the Metro to be quite easy to navigate, but I think the stations are bit scary - all dark and back-lit with all the exposed concrete. Makes me think of some sort of bunker. And there were all kinds of folks out and about, so I felt pretty safe.

The interview went well. My laptop decided to be a whiny little bitch and not cooperate, so I ended up with the lab huddled around one lab members' computer while I stood next to it and presented. We got such a late start from dicking around with my computer that the professor had to leave before I was finished, but she got the idea.

They took me to lunch in the cafeteria of the building next door, and answered all of my assorted questions meant to ascertain the mental status of the professor. Seems her crew really likes her and like living in or around Bethesda. One of her people even had a horrible grad advisor like mine! So they understand the kind of background I have. We all agreed that the pressure to get grant money is what makes academic scientists as crazy and repulsive as they are. The prof said that I might need a couple months in her lab to "detox" from my back grad school experience. This is my kind of woman.

Working for the government sounds pretty sweet. Nobody is busting their butts working at all hours, and constantly worried about money. They buy anything they need - including sterile water. That blew me away. My tax dollars hard at work right there. The science was also very exciting. Most of the lab is women, and the prof is a woman who seems to have found the perfect balance between life inside and outside of lab. That's the kind of mentor I need. She even *insists* that her people have lives outside of lab! That's practically unheard of in academia. Bottomline: I really liked them.

Now I've got what I wanted the first time around: a hard decision to make. I was happy with my interview at the Mayo Clinic, and now I'm really happy with my interview at the NIH. Be careful what you wish for! Now I have to sit down and make my pro and con lists, and talk extensively with friends and family to make a decision. Right now, at this very second, I feel that I want the science and lab from NIH to be located in Rochester, MN. Bethesda and the surrounding area has a very high cost of living, especially compared to Rochester. I could be perfectly happy in a small town. Big towns make me a bit nervous. My salary would be supplemented at the NIH to help defray the cost of living, but I think, at the end of the day, I'd be coming home with about the same amount of money. I'm not sure, I'll have to do some figuring. My Mom is really pulling for Rochester because that's closer to my hometown in WI. I'm not sure how I feel about that, either. I love my parents, I do, but I don't know if I love them enough to be living that close. I can foresee lots of guilt trips about not coming to enough family "events" and "functions" for my Mother's liking. Who needs that?

I'll keep you posted on my decision-making process. Please feel free to weigh in with your opinions and advice.

In other news, I really need to get to packing the rest of my apartment. I was planning to do that most of today, but ended up sleeping in later than I originally anticipated I would, chatting on the phone with a few family members, coming into work thinking I'd quickly be in and out, but got sucked into some drama and visiting with labmates. And now it is 6 pm and I've only packed a few boxes of books while watching Jay and Silent Bob's movie on TV this morning. I've got to get home. Thank goodness I've got nothing to do tomorrow except pack.

One final point of interest: last night I had the worst dinner on record. Doritos for the main course, and Cool Whip for dessert. Cravings for salt and sweet anyone? Yeah, that's me. I'm not proud, but it got me through. I promise I'm eating better today.

1 Comments:

Blogger dressagemom said...

If you want my opinion, I'd go with NIH. Less stress about grants, and tons less snow too. It does snow some, so you'd still get to scrape your car a few times a year, but nothing like MN. I really like MD, since I was born there, so that and the weather is skewing my advice. But still - GO NIH! (Oh, I'm assuming they offered you the job?)

3:57 PM  

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