Monday, March 17, 2008

Don't Give Up

"Don't give up". Three little words, but ones that for some reason had been lacking from my current boss and my old thesis advisor. Funny thing is I hadn't even noticed that until the advice came from a totally unexpected source. Sure my boss and old advisor seem to assume I'll stay in astronomy and work out my current problems - but haven't offered much in the way of practical advice or encouragement for me to do so. Perhaps they think it's so obvious that it doesn't need to be said. I don't think it's that obvious. Especially in my situation - I know many women give up their careers once they have babies, so I would think it doubly important for people to tell me not to (well unless I want to)...

Anyway several potentially positive things have happened since my last post:

1. I discovered that only 30 minutes away from the location of my husband's new job is a new Institute of Cosmology, which looks like a pretty interesting place to work.

2. On getting in touch with people at that Institute I have had a very welcoming response - for sure I can have a desk, maybe a few months salary, and we are working on some grants together. This is much more positive than I expected considering I was basically throwing myself on their mercy....

3. On the phone with one of these people at the cosmology institute I had a long conversation about the poor funding situation in astronomy at present. We talked about how tough of a hiring year this has been, and how people are giving up and leaving the field. This person thinks that if I can "hang in there" things will be better in a few years, so I shouldn't "give up". This might be seen as empty advice, except that they seem willing to try quite hard to help me do this - even though I have never met this person..! Amazing!

4. I have another interview for a "cool outreach" position. One I thought I would never be considered for as it's way too exciting! It's "almost" within commuting distance of my husband's new job.... so it would add some complications if I was offered it, but it's very exciting!

5. I had a career counselling appointment, specifically for postdocs (it's a pilot at my current university run by a career counseller who used to be a biology postdoc). The conclusion - I should stay in Astronomy, maybe do more education and public outreach. Duh! Not really news to me, but encouraging that an impartial advisor sees the same things as me. Now I just have to figure out how to do this!

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