19 July 2012

Gone fishing

Hey, why was it that Mr. P and I moved to St. Louis, again? Because I needed a new decorating challenge? Was it the opportunity to go to the zoo ANYTIME because it’s FREE? Or was it all those weddings, those THREE WEDDINGS, did it have something to do with that?

No wait! It was my new job!

Oh yeah, that. It started on Monday, about ten hours after we arrived home from London. Because I am a champion at overcomplicating things!

Nah, it’s okay. Really! The job is going well so far! The people I work with are by and large incredibly nice and helpful, the work is interesting and challenging, my institution feels similar to the one I left, and the jetlag on my first day of work wasn’t as awful as I expected.

And of course, I am learning so much! Behold my new knowledge:

1) Fish are not as delicate as I thought they were. Nor are they as frightening. Sure, they have a tendency to jerkily dart around their tank and flop around all freak-out-y in a net and paradoxically attempt to jump out of the tank and onto my feet when I so much as bump the cart the tank is sitting on. But I’m realizing that they’re also pretty hardy. And also, if they fling themselves in my general direction: I am bigger than them.

2) Starting over as a postdoc is not nearly as challenging as starting, period. Everyone warned me that transitioning to a new job as postdoc is hard, because you go from feeling like you know everything as a senior graduate student to knowing nothing. Especially when you are switching both model organisms and (sub-)fields, as I am. Brace yourself!, they said. And I took their warnings to heart.

Well, maybe I was just a really dumb, crappy first-year graduate student. Or maybe I am just a pessimist. (Definitely both.) But I am way better at this new lab situation thing now than I was six years ago. Hey, turns out I did learn a thing or two as a graduate student!

3) I can swipe my ID and park in the parking lot right outside my building late at night. I know this because I’ve already had to run to lab at 9PM after I suddenly realized a mistake I made earlier that day. Just didn’t want you think I’m all sunshine and rainbows with that last bullet point, there.

4) Speaking of driving, living a mile from work and walking to the lab each day sounded like a much better idea when the temperatures weren’t in the triple digits. Walking two miles daily in 100-degree heat is seriously ruining my once-a-week hair-washing schedule. And yet, to me? Still preferable to driving and paying for parking pass. I didn’t realize how much I love not driving. Right now my car is in Memphis (long story) and I couldn’t care less.

5) But still. I need more tank tops or I am going to die of heat exhaustion.

6) The bagel food truck that parks outside our building at lunchtime is not that great. And with that, I’m officially crossing #18 off the list. Although I intend to have a better food truck experience soon, even if I have to hunt down that Nashville grilled cheese truck for it.

7) I always thought filing my taxes was complicated because I was a graduate student. Turns out, it’s complicated because I’m a scientist. My taxes will remain just as complicated as a postdoc. Sorry about that, Mr. P.

8) But with a real job comes REAL BENEFITS! And also real discussions over whether to choose the HMO or POS healthcare plan, and which retirement plan is best for me. I chose the HMO, because saying I belonged to a POS just made me giggle. I am only pretending to be an adult.

9) Blog posts without photos are sad. Okay, I didn’t learn that this week at my new job. But here’s a science-themed picture of me, anyway, with the infamous Watson and Crick DNA structure that I saw last week at the Science Museum in London.

(Yes, it’s really the same model. Can’t you tell from my shell-shocked smile?)

10) Sometimes I doubt myself, but I really do love science as much as I should.


Miranda said...

I'm glad for the update. I miss you being in Nashville. Even if we didn't see each other, I still knew you were close, and I thought of you when I drove passed your exit. That being said, I can't wait to visit you in your new city! :)