Field season safety: Part II

This is Part II of my Field Season Safety series; the first tackled road and driving safety.  [Editor’s note: this post was written and published online before yesterday’s tragedy in Oregon. Our thoughts are with the school and community in Umpqua.]

After yet another horrific school shooting yesterday, it’s high time to revisit gun culture and regulations in the US.* While that topic is far too big a concept for this blog post**, gun culture and safety does intersect with the academy, research, and fieldwork. There is terrible violence that has been carried out on college campuses with guns. But my post today focuses on how guns affect fieldwork safety for students, technicians, and other researchers***.

Guns could be pretty much anywhere you work

Gun laws in the US are fairly lax, including those for concealed handguns. This means, frankly, that almost anyone could be carrying a gun. Even if it doesn’t look like it. That may sound like some kind of scare tactic, but it’s not. 2013 research by the Pew Research Center found that 1/3 of US households claimed to own a gun – but that there are somewhere near 300 million guns owned by citizens in the US (so excluding law enforcement, etc). That’s nearly one gun per person in the country. So it’s important to know.

But you probably won’t have a gun

Lots of universities have regulations barring their employees from carrying guns (personally owned ones, not work-related) while on the clock. So people at or around your field sites may be carrying guns, and you will probably not.

This of course excludes folks who need to carry firearms for research purposes – like biologists who study (or study near) polar bears. Those are often rifles or shotguns, not handguns, carried to ward off or kill wildlife in case of an attack.

Accidents happen

Whether or not you or your field crew is carrying a gun, the presence of guns at or near your sites does affect you. Other people misusing a firearm can have serious consequences. The US Centers for Disease Control doesn’t appear to have quantified unintentional shooting statistics, but they do have stats on how many accidental injuries and deaths are attributed to various causes, including road/driving accidents. And they do have data broadly on injuries and deaths caused by firearms in the US: 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people in the US is from firearms.

Fieldwork sites are often isolated

This can be true whether or not fieldwork is an urban, rural or suburban landscapes. You can be isolated simply by the time of day or night that you’re working. I am not saying this to imply that you’re likely to be robbed at gunpoint at your isolated fieldsite. But if there is a misunderstanding and the person you’re talking (or arguing with) has a gun, being in an isolated setting may not be a good thing (see my next paragraph).

When it comes to guns, you are far more likely to be injured by misuse or accidents than by a stranger trying to mug you or the like. But that also means that isolation can be a problem for getting medical help if there is an accident; this should be a field safety concern independent of guns. Do you know where the nearest medical facility is and how to get there? If you needed to call emergency services for help, do you have a phone? Is there cell service where you do your work? If not, what’s your emergency plan? Again, these are critical questions whether or not guns are involved.


Fieldwork sites are often on or next to private land

You may have permission from landowners or land managers. I conduct fieldwork in natural areas with permission from the land managers. But this doesn’t mean that their neighbors know who my field crew is or why they’re on the land.

I’ll give you an example of this from my own fieldwork. I had permission from a state agency to work in a certain natural area. But the area itself has no buildings or staff working there – it’s just a plot of land. The access road to the property is adjacent to private land. When my field crew and I visited the site for the first time, the neighbor suspected foul play. They actually snuck up on my undergraduate field assistant (as a tall male, they assumed he was in charge, not me) and threatened him with a gun. It was scary for everyone involved, because verbal threats from landowners are tough enough to rationally talk through in real time – without involving weapons. Fortunately we are able to de-escalate the situation without anyone getting hurt.

Here’s an example from a colleague in my department (a male on the research staff, not a graduate student). He conducts fieldwork in suburban streams; he has permission from the relevant state agency to be in the streams, which are technically owned by the state and not private landowners. Several landowners have threatened him at gunpoint to get off “their” property, even though he is technically not on their private land. The legal details are irrelevant when you’re being threatened with a gun. He left without arguing – but also without the data he needed.

What does all this mean?

Honestly, I’m not sure. There aren’t any easy answers****. I’m not advocating that we don’t do fieldwork. I’m not trying to discourage individuals from pursuing the educational/work opportunities they want. But for students, technicians, and anyone who is just starting out in fieldwork based research, safety (defined multiple ways) is a critical consideration.

Do you have experience with gun safety or accidents in field settings? Do you have best practices to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments. Here’s to productive and safe field research experiences for everyone.


* obviously my personal opinion

** let alone any blog but I suggest starting here to understand how bad this problem really is: and to learn about gun laws in your particular state, a good resource is:

*** with a US bent, I’ll let folks abroad comment on how these concerns translate (or not) to where they live and work

**** which makes this a surprisingly short blog post

Authentic Voice in the Age of the Online Self

As a teacher of literature, I am often examining with my students the idea of voice in a piece of writing. What is it? Where is it? How is it produced? What is our reaction to it? How does it interact with content? How might the voice employed intersect with the cultural concerns or historical events of its time? Though often a challenging exercise that requires much prompting and directing from me, I often think the voice of a work of literature acts as its consciousness, so to neglect it is to bypass important tenants at the core of the humanities: examining what it means to be human and examining the power of words among others.

As a teacher of writing, (which I am for the remaining half of my courses), I don’t stop there. I challenge my students to develop their own voice in their writing. This is a nearly impossible task as the majority of my students enter my classroom with stilted college preparatory writing skills and they are, on the whole, mediocre at that. To them, writing has always been an act in service to something else. A paper is a product for assessment–a recitation of knowledge rather than a new opportunity to learn. The voice of the paper is nonexistent, accidental, or, worse, an audience-less and purposeless imagination of what they think their teacher expects. While students can often get by with this, and sometimes even do well in the “right” class, for my mid- and upper-division writing courses, I want my students to not only develop a voice, but one that is authentic.

I would argue that the idea of voice is particularly difficult to impart to this generation of students. Writing is thinking and ultimately knowing not only your subject but also yourself. Writing is accessing areas of your consciousness, knowledge, and curiosity that had not before been connected. Writing is thinking beyond the minute or the hour; it is an extended rumination. This generation’s thinking–much of which is posted via social media–is fast, surface, and subject to critique. Is it surprising, then, that a student has difficulty cultivating a personal, authorial voice? Is it surprising that a student cannot produce “authenticity” on the page when in the digital world in which they live, one can live multiple identities, so how is one to determine the “authentic” one? And in a world in which various online selves are so ubiquitous, what is authenticity anyway?

Five weeks into my fifth year of teaching on the tenure track, I find myself particularly unsettled by the fact that my female students especially struggle mightily with finding their authentic voice in their writing. My university has at least a 2:1 female to male student ratio. This semester, I have 66% females across my five courses. They are less assured in their writing, less free, more willing to change, more likely to be uncontroversial and safe than their male counterparts. This is troubling to me. The female voice in my classroom sounds diluted, if it makes a sound at all.  

Young women are now subject to different venues for patriarchy, where appearance is everything on Instagram and advertisers are still flaunting female flesh on Facebook. The difference between these digital media forms and previous print forms is that young women are active participants and make appearances in a way that contributes to the shaping of their identities. If they get “Likes” by posting the most flattering photos of themselves, that is the beast that they will continue to feed and the image they will work to project. (And it is work; nearly all of us craft our social media selves to some degree.) Social acceptance and approval has always been a powerful force in the formation of identity, but in this age it seems more than a force; it seems a necessary step.

What does this have to do with writing with an authentic voice? Everything. The authenticity of expression has to do, in some ways, with the author’s intention. The concept of intention when creating an online self has so much to do now with a somewhat fickle social media audience that intention cannot be seen as separate from the approval of the crowd. With young women putting so much energy into constantly weighing one’s online stature, they lose the ability or desire to discern their own reasoning and rationales. Furthermore, how can we expect women to be able to cultivate authenticity if we are not fully allowed to be free in our thinking and behaviors? As a woman who works at an institution founded by women religious and dominated by women cabinet members, administrators, and faculty, there are still an unacceptable number of instances in which my voice as a woman is dismissed by men. Or when a statement I make is “bitchy” but is considered “assertive” from a man.

I began this post with a mention some of the concerns at the center of the humanities: examining what it means to be human and examining the power of words. My hope for my female students is that they can see past their constructed selves into their humanness, and in so doing discover a voice that is untainted by the instant gratification of a Retweet or Like.


Today I’m hosting a guest blogger at Tenure She Wrote talking about Title IX office and the process by which complaints are handled. For reasons which will become clear, this is written by a contributor who will remain anonymous.


Gaslighting: How Universities Use Their Title IX Office to Crush Complaints.

by Anonymous

Sexual assaults, harassment, gender and racial biases occur with frightening regularity for women in academia. In spite of increasing awareness of these problems, there is very little about what the Title IX process looks like from a personal perspective.

Participating in a Title IX case is nothing short of soul crushing. Your university will not support you, you will be the subject of gossip and, perhaps most distressingly, you will be intimidated and retaliated against for your honesty. Retaliation is illegal under Title IX, but not only does it occur, it is cornerstone of the process by which academics are silenced and, I suspect, the reason I could find so few first hand accounts of participating in a case.

I offer this advice based on my experience.

  1. Get a lawyer. Immediately. Even if you are a witness. Your participation in a Title IX action, or even your failure to participate, could cost you your job. Spend $1500 to keep your job. You will want a lawyer specializing in employment law. Look for things like ‘Best of the Bar’ in your local business journal. You should not tell your university you have a lawyer. It just makes them anxious. I don’t know or care why, but it does.
  2. Find a killer posse. Your already stressful academic life is about to get intolerable. Your posse should have 1000% (not a type-o) allegiance to you alone and your sanity. They will probably be academics who understand crappy academic behavior. Do not engage work colleagues. Your posse will be people who will never talk about you or your case. These people will be your lifesavers. Cherish them.
  3. Get a restraining order or other police protection if needed. I put this as the third point, because your killer posse is now the best judge of what is scary. You may be have been exposed repeatedly to a culture that allows people to behave in threatening ways as ‘a joke’. Take your safety seriously.
  4. If you are filing the complaint, do not send it to the university’s Title IX office. You’ll be directed there by every imaginable administrator and told they are independent of the university. This is utter bullshit. Google “US Department of Education Investigates Title IX…” and you’ll get a quick education in just how seriously in bed your admin is with the Title IX office. They are totally in bed together. Naked and humping like mad. File your complaint online here And file it within 180 days of your concerns coming to a head. If you are not the complainant, you don’t have a choice on who handles the complaint, so you’ll need to go with what is handed to you.
  5. Complaintants: Fill the 9 questions online and make it short and sweet. Then you can write out your whole life story somewhere else.
  6. Shut the first umbrella (STFU): You will suddenly be popular with your colleagues. People will drop by your office to ask you small questions and then give you looks of concern asking ‘if you’re okay’. You need to STFU. These people are not going to help you.
  7. You’re going to get an email from the Title IX office if you are a witness or have filed the complaint asking for a 15 minute interview.
  8. Ask if you can have your chairman/vice chairman/mentor/anyone who can back up what you are saying to your investigator. This person does NOT need to be involved in the case. You will need this person to verify that you told the investigator information they will deny, lose or not include in their report. You read that correctly. The system you are relying upon to report misconduct is about to rock your world in the worst way.
  9. The Title IX office will come after you. Their whole goal, in my experience, is to try to make any complaint go away. The easiest way to do this is to destroy witnesses. The easiest witnesses to destroy those who are tied to their university because they are afraid they will lose their jobs/academic standing/colleagues/students. Outside witnesses not affiliated with the university have little at stake. You, however, have a lot to lose.
  10. Do the interview as soon as you can. The investigator will want to come to you. This will be an effort to put you at ease and have you say too much. They will be a lawyer but will not identify themselves this way.
  11. When they get there, tell (don’t ask) them you are going to record the interview for both of you. This can be easily done with free phone apps. If they protest, say your dad/husband/brother/shaman/internet guru has been thru this or is a lawyer and insisted you do this. I’m insisting you do this. Offer to share the recording right away and send it to them by email before they leave your office. They will not like this and will be anxious. This recording can save your career.
  12. Saying anything other than what you witnessed/experienced is too much. This information will be used to introduce new information about you and you are about to become the focus of the investigation. This sounds absurd, but it’s true. The Title IX office will follow any true or untrue information the defendant provides about you, they can find on your social media accounts or hear through the academic grapevine (see Step 16).
  13. The sole goal of the investigator is to get you to share any information that can be used to discredit you. If you say something like “I had heard s/he was creepy, but I thought they were great when we spoke”, this will show up in a report saying ‘the witness/complainant knew of the defendant and thought they were creepy’. They want to present you as a biased person prone to drama/lies/gossip/litigation.
  14. Know that being honest does not meaning being candid. Do not ever, for any reason, answer open ended questions asked by either your administrator or the Title IX office. “Tell me about how you came to work here or know the person in the case” are both open ended questions. Think of the Title IX investigator as the defendants personal attorney. Treat them respectfully but know their goal is to make this go away for the University.
  15. Engage the investigator in email. After your interview, follow up reiterating any key points. Investigators loathe email. After they get your email, your phone will ring. Don’t answer it. Make them respond by email. They won’t answer your question or engage but will offer to have more phone conversations or in person interviews. Approve all emails with your lawyer.
  16. The investigation now becomes about you. The Title IX investigator will come back asking for a second meeting for just ‘5 minutes’. The will show ‘information that has come to light’ that casts you in a bad light. Maybe it was the qual student from the defendants group who thought you were mean, or a gossiping faculty member who thinks you’re too political or an email with a few lines highlighted when you first brought the matter to the admins attention. Regardless, it will be taken out of context. The information is wrong and you can easily clarify it. Do not engage. If you go on the record, and all of these conversations are on the record, your credibility has become something you will discuss. (Think of the parallel of this as asking a sexual assault survivor about her sexual history). Guard your privacy like its your job, because it could cost you your job.
    • How do I do that? Pull the ‘oh gosh, my dad/brother/shaman the lawyer absolutely said they’d be mad as heck if I said anything more….I’ll have to refer you to them’. You haven’t said you have a lawyer, but you know, they get it. Use this often.
  17. The investigator will ask for more interviews with the sole goal of making you share more. They will say things like, “I really see your point of view, but maybe we could talk more about how this came about”. You have been societally conditioned to be helpful to everyone. Give that up. Now. You are 100% able to say, ‘give me a list of questions, and I will send you an email’ but if you have said everything you have to say regarding the incident, shut your face.
  18. The investigator will want to let you know how the case has concluded in person. Unless you filed the complaint, don’t get involved in this. If you are the complainant, do this with your lawyer. This is another chance for the Title IX office to sideline you. Their goal is to get you on record as saying their finding is ‘unbelievable’ or anything revealing you had a bias. You don’t need to hear the findings, because the answer is that they found in the defendants behalf. They always do. They will not send you the report. Refer the Title IX office to your lawyer if they persist in asking you to meet.
  19. You will now get an email from someone with a very big title who is your bosses, bosses super boss. They will also confront you with something that puts you in a poor light (see step 16). They will also be the first people who will officially tell you that the case was found to be without merit. The super boss will say they are taking your ‘bad’ and totally unrelated behavior very seriously and maybe threaten you with disciplinary action. Do not engage with this or try to clarify it. Take some notes. You are taking notes of being intimidated and retaliated against.
  20. Go back to your lawyer. Write an email to the super boss that you view this as retaliatory and threatening. Have your lawyer edit the email to ensure that it is admissible in later actions.
  21. Go back to file a complaint against your university for intimidating you.

This process is ugly, long and can get expensive but I hope I just saved you a few extra thousand dollars in legal bills, some sanity and a lot of sleepless nights. If this sounds terrible, it is. But if you ever want anything to get better for students and colleagues who are sexually assaulted or done an injustice because of their race, gender or sexuality, you need to do this. In house Title IX offices are just doing the worst of the dirty work and this practice of universities investigating themselves is absurd. You also need to be willing to lose your job doing this. It’s the right thing to do. I’ve done it and I know.


UPDATED TO ADD two three links that are highly relevant to this discussion.

1. From The Chronicle – a summary of the results from the Association of American Universities survey: 1 in 4 Female Undergrads Experienced Sex Assault or Misconduct, AAU Survey Finds

2. From Huffingon Post in their Breaking the Silence: Addressing Sexual Assult on Campus series: UVA Violated Title IX, had ‘Mixed Record’ On Sexual Assault Cases, Federal Investigation Finds.

3. Added 9/24/2015: Another from Huffington Post by @TylerKingkade Students punished for sexual assault should have transcripts marked, Title IX group says

Tweeting from a toxic lab

As somewhat of a Luddite who still carries a flip phone, I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying my experience on Twitter (which yes, hilariously I can only use from my desktop computer since I don’t have a smart phone). There are lots of blog posts about how scientists “should” use Twitter and get the “most” out of their time and energy on social media. But I want to focus on how graduate students and early career scholars who, like me, feel isolated and unsupported in a toxic lab situation can use Twitter* to their advantage.   (Check out some of our previous posts on toxic labs and lab culture here, here, and here.)

Connect with peers across the country

Actually, I should amend that to across the world. While you may be trapped at your desk analyzing data or writing your thesis, you can have real time conversations with fellow researchers all over. This seems like a cliché claim, but it’s true. It all depends on how you choose to reach out – just like networking in person. It’s been fun to have a small but eclectic group of people I converse with everyday, mostly other early career women scientists, even though we study wildly different things and live very far apart. We commiserate and celebrate milestones together – and if, like me, you don’t feel like you have a cheerleader for your accomplishments in your advisor or lab group, expanding your support network is a great feeling.

Connect with potential future mentors and employers

There’s no reason to only tweet at and with people at your same career stage. Twitter has put me in touch with faculty, both mid-career and senior, across the country. I have no idea if this will matter when I start putting job applications out, but I can’t help but think it will help when I approach some of these people to potentially advise the external postdoctoral applications I am starting to put together. Again, if you feel isolated and potentially unsupported in your lab group, this is great way to bypass your toxic situation altogether and make connections directly. For example, my advisor has a reputation among recent graduates of our lab group for never introducing any of his students to his collaborators and colleagues at conferences or other get-togethers. Helping mentees expand their network should be one job of a good mentor, but in the absence of that, you can work on it without them. Something about tweeting feels less awkward than cold-emailing a person.

Access to external resources

Perhaps what I’ve been most pleasantly surprised by is that I’ve come across announcements for CFPs, grants, early career meetings, and application-only workshops that I would have never otherwise seen. Expanding my network, even if only by “passively” keeping tabs on other scientists by following their Twitter feeds, has keyed me into resources. If you, like me, feel like your toxic lab situation is blocking your access to resources you need to advance your career (like travel funding, as I wrote about in my previous post), I encourage you to try out Twitter. In the past year, I’ve successfully applied to a workshop and early career meeting through links I only found on Twitter. Both were fully funded opportunities (!), which meant independence from my advisor and lab group situation in terms of being able to accept those offers to attend while being a graduate student on a limited income. I should also add that these opportunities did not require letters of recommendation from an advisor, a model which I would encourage more small workshops and early career opportunities to follow. (We should treat graduate students and other early career scholars like the adults that they are, which includes letting them decide if pursuing a workshop or gathering is right for them, as opposed to letting toxic PIs deny those opportunities for students they don’t like/support.)

Chat with @TenureSheWrote contributors and supporters

Obviously the best reason to be on Twitter**. You can always tweet us, @TenureSheWrote, and some of our contributors tweet under their own handles. Send us questions, suggestions for future posts, DM or email us if you’re interested in writing a guest post, commiserate, and celebrate. We’re all in this together! And that feeling is perhaps the best thing that’s come out of using Twitter. I feel less alone, despite some of the lab drama I have to put up with day to day.

So those of some of what I consider the pros. The cons? It takes time. But let’s be frank – none of us can work with full attention on one project all day long. Why not add a 5 min Twitter break after a 5 min stretching or walking break a few times a day? And there is some tweaking as you add people to follow and decide which feeds you don’t want to keep following. All in all, I’ve been on Twitter for just under a year but am happy with the experience thus far. Are you on Twitter?  We’d love to hear about your experience below (and/or on Twitter).

* There are lots of social media options. I’ll just focus on Twitter for this post. But if you have used other platforms to combat isolation and connect with others in your field, tell us about it in the comments.

** Just kidding. Maybe.

Figuring Out My Next Steps

I’m nearing a point in my post doc where I think I’m ready to finally start applying to faculty positions. I’ve gotten a few publications out, I’ve built a lab pretty much from the ground up, and I’ve mentored students in the lab ranging from high schoolers up through grad students. I’ve gotten leadership positions within organizations in my field, and I’ve managed to secure a chunk of time using the equipment at a national lab. Right now, it’s also the time of year when positions are advertised for the few months before the November and I’d have to wait another year for the next one. And though I’m ready to start applying, I’m a bit concerned about leaving.

Continue reading

From R1 to CC: 3 Things I Wish I Had Known About Community College Careers

As of August 1, I am a gainfully employed Humanities PhD. There were many times in my 3-year job search when I doubted I could ever say those words, so I am thrilled to write my first post from a position of relative career stability. My graduate training, however, had little to do with the job I got, so I wanted to write on what I wish I had known while pursuing the disappearing career of English Literature Professor.

Just a few days ago, I was talking with an Art Historian at a nearby university and he was horrified that I had “given up” on the research career I set out to find. He kindly (and somewhat condescendingly) offered to look over my cover letter and CV. I did not tell him that my job materials have been vetted by top scholars in my field; that my job materials got me interviews at two ivy league schools and campus visits at two state research universities; or that my job materials include four publications in top journals. I merely told him no thank you, I am happy where I have landed. So this post is for that well-meaning professor and for those PhD students who think a Community College job will not honor their substantial talents and ambitions.

  1. Community Colleges often pay better than four-year universities, especially for junior scholars. After filing my dissertation, I spent a year adjuncting while continuing to search for a permanent position. I can say with no qualms whatsoever that my current salary and benefits package dwarf my paltry adjunct earnings. But I was genuinely shocked to learn that my paycheck and medical, dental, life-insurance, and vision coverage are substantially higher than what I could have earned as an assistant professor at a four-year university. During a campus visit last year in Texas, I learned that the university I was visiting did not offer partner benefits, and the medical coverage for a professor was little better than my existing Obamacare package. At a community college, PhDs earn a starting salary according to how many years they have taught in addition to a doctoral stipend. While different regions offer different pay for CC faculty, more remote or rural campuses draw talent with high salaries. Because CC faculty are more likely to be represented by teacher’s unions than their research-university peers, benefits packages are stronger as well. By changing to a teaching career, I actually enhanced my long-term financial wellbeing, and the wellbeing of my partner.
  2. You can still do research at a Community College. My biggest fear in leaving the university system was that my research talents would go to waste. I personally love researching and writing, traveling to conferences, spending time in archives, and designing studies. I enjoy the thrill of seeing my name in print and knowing that other scholars in my field may come across my work. I thought that a CC career would leave me yearning for opportunities to write and publish. It’s true that the focus of my institution is the students, and their interests always come before the research agenda of a faculty member. But there is so much research to do that serves students. And my campus is particularly eager to fund faculty with a research background who can study student performance, student equity, and best practices in pedagogy. I may not continue to work with literature as my primary research area, but I have already found funding for two major research projects at my college. Did I mention I just started on August 1st?
  3. You may not need to teach five classes to be a full-time CC faculty member. The general view of community colleges at my doctoral institution is that they are high schools with ashtrays. I imagined teaching a brutal course load and spending my evenings and weekends with endless grading. Don’t get me wrong, teaching is the point at a two-year institution, and I do a lot of grading (survival mechanisms for the research to teaching transition here). But there are many ways to change a course load to fit your needs and interests. I took on writing classes that carry a heavy grading load, and that allowed me to teach fewer classes overall. This year, I was completely floored to learn that I would teach a 3/4 – less than the teaching requirements at a nearby university! Leadership positions and campus service also lead to release time, as do large-scale research projects.

I hope these three points convey the many misconceptions R1 faculty may have about Junior or Community Colleges when advising doctoral students. I am not proud that I believed an ugly stereotype of CCs as a PhD student, and I encourage others to take on a class at a local two-year college just to see what it’s like. You may be shocked at the passionate students, brilliant faculty, and lush campus around you. You may even find your job prospects improving as you widen the net beyond the coveted research professor position you have been trained to pursue at all costs.

Self confidence and the publication cycle

The publication cycle in my field is slow. Very slow. “Fast” journals proud themselves on 3-month rounds of reviews. An average round takes 6-9 months, with 12 months not being unheard of. Papers almost always go through 2, occasionally 3, rounds of review before acceptance.* On top of that, an additional 1 year can easily go by between acceptance and publication. This means that the papers I’ve had in press this year are ones that I did the work for and presented at conferences around 2010-2011, as a shiny new graduate student.

I’ve been thinking recently about how this delayed feedback loop has affected my self-confidence as an early career researcher. These days I am starting my second year as a postdoc, in a place where I am pretty much left on my own. I started a few new projects when I got here, and have been writing up some results over the summer. It’ll soon be time to finalize a couple of papers and decide where to submit them. I’ve been able to present this work locally and get some feedback from colleagues, but my schedule has made it impossible for me to travel to present the work at conferences. This means that I am going to be submitting this work semi-blind, and that’s made me wonder: how do I know if it’s any good? I don’t even have feedback yet on the work leading up to this research, aka my dissertation research, because of how slow the publication cycle is.

So, where do I go from here? Continue reading