Tag: selfreflections

Mini hiatus on the Photography challenge this week (short post)

So I’ve realized that I haven’t done a photograph posting since Tuesday (and that was in fact for Monday). So instead of trying to do a triple posting and make up for it–I’m going to be honest and say that I’m on a mini hiatus from the challenge this week.

This is in part due to the hot weather. Since it has been hot and humid, I haven’t done a full walk on the weekend for a couple of weeks–and that means that I’m running low on pictures to post. That’s not to say that I don’t have pictures–but I’m trying to avoid doing multiple postings of the same theme.

It’s also due in part to my mood–I’ve been in a so-so mood (not totally down and feeling depressed, but also not in the most happy go lucky moods either). This is due in part to the fact that fall is coming soon and I’d hoped to have my life somewhat planned out by now (at least narrowed down the industry sector(s) and hopefully had a few informational interviews by now). It’s also due to the fact that in less than two months now–it will be the one year anniversary of losing both Piranha and Chewi.

I realize that I need to look for the sliver lining in each day, and should probably write in my journal more often than what I’ve been doing. I also realize that I can try to do photography during the week, especially on my lunch break–but right now that is a no go (see above for the weather).

Photography has been and is becoming an hobby again–I just need to make time for it during the week and not just regulate it to the weekends. It may also be one of the few things that helps keep me on an even keel when I start my reboot break and refocus on my job search/transition in the spring.

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Reflections Part 1: The years since getting my PhD

As I stared at the calendar wondering how it could be August already, I realized that in a little over a month I’ll be staring down my last year of my thirties.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to start looking back on the past nine years or so (since I’ve earned my PhD), and look at what was good and bad–but also what lessons I can now take from those years. So my first reflection is on the twisting road I’ve taken through academia, and realizing that I need to reboot and plan for my industry transition.

I realized that it has been nine years since I finished graduate school—I had made a promise to myself that I would have my graduate degree before (or shortly after) my thirtieth birthday. I managed to keep that promise—I defended a little over two months before my birthday, and I got my diploma before the end of the year. I then spent the next two years out in the Boston area.

Being out in the Boston area for a little over two years was a mix bag of both good and bad—it was good in that I made new friendships (that I’ve been trying to maintain online, as I haven’t been back there as often as I would have liked), experienced living on my own, well away from having a family security net, and started to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Though on the flip side, the bad included: my postdoctoral position ending on a extreme sour note, unintentionally giving my dog an anxiety/separation disorder, and at the end of the time—being in heavily in debt and emotionally bankrupt.

I came back home to get my financial and emotional feet back on steady ground—and it’s taken quite a few years to accomplish those feats—almost seven to be exact. I am no longer heavily in debt (my monthly debt now can be paid off each month), and I’m still working on getting my emotional/spiritual reserves filled up.

During the past six and a half years, I’ve held three different positions within my alma mater department, at my alma mater. I started with a post-doc position (this was fairly smooth compared to my first, though any situation can head south when funding becomes an issue), then after a brief unemployment period I got a staff position helping with undergraduate research (this as a little over three years; ended again because of funding), and then after yet another unemployment period I got my most current staff position.

In total over the past nine years (since getting my PhD)—I’ve been unemployed probably a total of nine (maybe ten) months—which averages out to about a month per year. But also over the past nine years—I’ve taken jobs that may not have been the best fit for me (first postdoc, and most current position) because of the fact I needed a job and income.

This is one of the main reasons why I’m so adamant about doing my reboot break/pause towards the end of the year and into the beginning of next year—I need to figure out what it is I want to do with my life. I’ve learned little things over the past nine years in terms of what I can put up with, what I can’t put up with, and what I would like in the next job.

For starters, I miss working as part of a team—or at least being around other people with whom I could have conversations with during the day. In my current position, we’re in a secure facility (so unless you have access, you can’t get in), and there aren’t that many people in the facility (five in total, counting myself; though there are two graduate students—but they aren’t actually within the facility (in other words they don’t work in the inner lab). I miss being able to talk with people while I’m doing things or inquiring what they’re doing (and learning a little at the same time). I’ve also realized that I don’t do well with micromanagers (and this is something that I will need to inquire with people about during informational interviews), and overbearing colleagues.

I also miss doing actual research at the bench, but at the same time—is that how I really feel or is it because that is all I’ve ever done? This is something that I will need to see how I feel during and after my reboot break—also this is a good informational interview question for people who have moved away from the bench—do they miss doing research?

I don’t mind doing an occasional long day or working a weekend in lab—as long as I’m compensated for it (in other words having a good income), and knowing that it isn’t expected daily. I also want to be within a group, that once someone apologizes for a mistake, the apology is accepted and everyone moves on—it isn’t harped upon constantly. Also I don’t want to be within a company where there is someone watching the clock to make sure that people are leaving exactly at a certain time (say 5 o’clock on the dot)—if you get in a little early, you should be able to leave a little early—but if you need to stay a little late, you’re allowed to stay a little late. In other words—I want a job with a little flexibility on the work hours.

Life shouldn’t be all work and no play, just like it shouldn’t be all play and no work—there should be a point where things are somewhat balanced—there is time for both work and play, but that balance is different for each of us, and each need to find it on their own.

Hopefully during the reboot break, I can work through various e-courses, interact more on Linkedin, network, set up informational interviews and actually decide on a direction to go–instead of wandering around a swamp with a lantern that is going to be going dark and risk falling into the swamp waters again (and possibly not escape this time).

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Realizations and reflections

Well today’s post is going to be somewhat brief, and I will have a catch-up photography challenge post tomorrow. I just realized that over the past two months (and probably longer than that), my posts have been almost all photography posts, with a few others sporadically posted throughout the month.

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I had figured it would be a way of keeping myself accountable in two different areas–personal and professional development (as I job searched), and also a way of sharing different interests (photography, fitness, books, and so forth). One thing I haven’t gotten the hang of totally yet is sitting down and trying to write numerous different posts ahead of time and then scheduling when I would post them on line.

I’ve been better this year at doing my bi-monthly moon goal posts, and my month in review–but that is still only about five additional posts added in to my photography challenge. The photography challenge is also starting to become difficult, because I feel like I’m almost taking the same pictures every week. At least I know where I can start making small daily changes.

I’ve also realized that I’m falling into an almost predictable mood swing pattern–I work on different areas and feel good about myself one month, and then the next I fall prey to that nasty inner voice that has me questioning everything I did the month before. It takes me a week or two to silence the inner critic, but then I have to build back the momentum that I lost–and then I repeat the cycle. I’ve realized that to break this cycle–I need to work on countering the inner critic voice (work on getting out of my own way), and also doing more journaling and getting the thoughts to paper and acknowledging the emotions (instead of ignoring them).

As we head into the second half of 2019, I realize that I’m going to have to make some big decisions about certain things (like when exactly am I going to be doing my “reboot break”), and that while I can’t see all the stairs in front of me–I need to take those first few steps and actually get myself unstuck in order to start really moving forward.

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