Third Year is Kicking My Butt

In which @Scitrigrrl realizes that time is not stretchy and cannot be extended simply by adding hours at the beginning and end of each day.

I’m a little over halfway through my second semester of my third year, I am totally overwhelmed, and really feeling the pressure to do everything: Get funding! Publish papers! Teach with excellence! Be a good department/institutional citizen! I feel torn with the constant demands on my attention and time. I am tired, but I also still love my job, I finally feel settled in the job and in the town, and overall, I am happy. But between third year review (!), a dramatic increase in demands on my time compared with the first two years, and increased anxiousness about money, I am feeling overwhelmed. I know, in theory, what I need to do to get to where I need to be, I’m just not always convinced that I will get there.

There has been a running joke this year among some of my peers that now they have forgotten how long I’ve been here, I can no longer claim to be new. Continue reading


The hiring process from the perspective of a new hire: Part II

This is the second part of a two-part post detailing my (a new faculty member) experiences on a hiring committee.  For Part I, go here.

The campus interviews

We had our three candidates on campus for interviews over a period of seven days.  Each candidate flew in the day before the interview and had scheduled activities from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm. Candidates had a meeting with the department faculty, meetings with each of us individually, time with the Dean, lunch with the graduate students, gave a seminar, and had dinner with the department. Overall, the three candidate each did a great job – one of the best things about doing phone interviews first is that collegiality and competence come through pretty well on the phone.  All the candidates were personable, prepared, and would probably be successful in the position.

Continue reading

The hiring process from the perspective of a new hire: Part I

Being in a tiny department of six means that you get a say in almost every major decision, which is a nice perk (this is can also be a giant pain, depending in the frequency of those decisions). So when a new line opened up everyone except the chair was put on the search committee. In February I was here on campus interviewing for my job, and this semester I got to help select the newest member of the department. It’s been quite a ride going from the nervous, unsure interviewee to the interviewer in less than a year. The process has been eye-opening, and perhaps it can provide some insight into the process for those about to go through it (at least for jobs at a mixed teaching/research school). Continue reading

Starting over on the tenure-track

It was May, my fifth year on the tenure track. At this stage, I should I have been polishing my personal statement and dotting I’s and crossing t’s in my tenure dossier. Instead, I was packing my office, and preparing to move cross-country and start a new job. It wasn’t that I was afraid of being denied tenure in my old job. On the contrary, my university had offered what they could to retain me. Instead, I was taking the opportunity to move somewhere that was a much better fit personally and a very good move professionally. I was starting over.  Continue reading

The Decider

Over the past year, I have settled into my first tenure track position, found my feet in a new town and new department, and I am still setting up a laboratory of my own. There are many fun things and many crazy things about this. Many of them I knew to expect: starting somewhere new is difficult, but it becomes fun when you start meeting wonderful people and making friends. Doing established techniques in a new place is always more, um, interesting than one expects, but when something (anything!) works, it’s a great feeling.

One of my favourite things has been buying shiny, brand new toys equipment. I have hugged the crate that held the microscope, squealed with excitement over pipettors, and jumped up and down when one piece of equipment I’d been wanting for years came in*. I have even cheered over a box of empty bottles arriving.

What I did not expect was that ordering all the things would be so hard. Continue reading