Monday, May 21, 2007

Signed, sealed, delivered.

I have a job! I have a J-O-B! I'm gainfully employed!

(Before we all go dancing in the streets and gallivanting around, I have to mention that it's a limited term appointment at the moment, but has the potential to be extended. I'll get to that in a bit.)

It's the second of my two interviews, mentioned here and here. I know I haven't blogged about it yet (bad Ellie, very bad) but it was because it seemed to go so well that I didn't want to jinx it. Even before the interview, I got to do a little background research on the prof; Hubby's boss and her husband had worked in the same department with him for over 10 years, and kept on telling me that he was really sweet, and really enthusiastic, and is the world's expert on his particular microbe/experimental system. So, that's a bonus. I've learned that being in the lab of a world expert can be both good and bad, but I thought I'd wait to see how big his lab was, and what his personality was. I had promised myself not to work for another introvert ;-)

So, I got there, and he was really enthusiastic without being hyperactive and annoying. He'd also done his research on me, and had some glowing things to say about my Ph.D supervisor's work. It was really nice, because he figured out on his own the type of unique viewpoint I can provide to a more hands-on microbiology lab. He's emeritus, which essentially means he can continue to be a research prof without having to sit on committees and supervise honours and graduate students.

Which brings me to the second point that was in my favour - *I* am the lab. He has collaborations set up with several labs across North America, but has at present no other people. It's not because he can't get them, but because that's how he chooses to run his research at the moment (a benefit of being emeritus). That was what clinched the decision for me - a world expert, who's enthusiastic and actually *wants* to talk to the one(s) working in his lab, but I will have no chance of getting lost in the shuffle of a 20 member research program.

Third bonus - I can have the job as a postdoc, rather than just a plain old research associate. It was advertised as an RA job, which would've paid more (lots more than Hubby, actually!), but causes problems for me on the academic track. If, as a Ph.D looking to go from Ph.D to postdoc to tenured prof, you have gaps in your CV doing work that's, say, in industry or for the government, it looks a little wonky. It's easier to take time off to have babies and get back on track. I was worried about that, but figured I might be able to explain it away. It turned out that, because I was an international scholar, I had to be appointed as a Postdoctoral Associate (red tape that I don't understand quite yet). It's a little less money (puts me back on par with Hubby) but keeps me on track to apply for research and teaching prof jobs.

The only potential drawback is that it's only for a year. That's not set in stone, though, and it may actually be within my control to get it extended, in a way. Without going into the nitty-gritties of the work, it's a multi-stage project that has several benchmarks to reach. If I do good work in the first year, I can get funding to do the second stage next year, etc. etc.

All in all, I'm really looking forward to it. It's mainly benchwork, which I missed terribly the last 18 months of my Ph.D. I'd reached a point where I was able to have a technician do my last experiments for me, which was good in terms of time management, but horrible because I had no distractions from writing. There's also the possibility of getting a book chapter out of it, in addition to any papers that get written. Plus, I get to organize the lab in whatever way suits me, and I don't have to fight anyone for the equipment!

Only two weeks of vacation left, though, and I intend to make the most of them. I finished mom's socks, and will probably be finished one of my Trekking socks shortly. I may do a little bit of shopping before flying home for graduation, too, but mostly I'm going to sleep. Sleep, and veg.

(I'll post more pictures later; mom's socks are still drying!)

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