I’m kinda back

Ok. I had to take a bit of a break to get my mind right and to see the light. I’m not sure if I got my mind 100% right or if I have seen the light, but I’m getting there . . . I think.

This is the week that I’m going to get my fitness life back. ENOUGH OF CONSTANTLY FEELING DOWN IN THE DUMPS. Also, I’m kind of tired of being 200+ pounds. First thing: I need to start setting alarms to be in bed by 10:30/11pm at the latest. Although I tend to hit the hay around 1/2/3 am, I’m still able to wake up at 5/6 am, but I’m so groggy that I pretty much crash on the sofa until it’s time for me to work around 9:30/10 am. That’s almost 5 hours of just BSing around the apt. I’ll admit that I usually wake up around that time because that’s the time the hubby gets up for work.

Not sure if I should put this out there, but I’m going to anyway. Some of y’all know that I have a PhD in molecular oncology and immunology. Although I used to do hardcore biomedical research, I switched careers about 3.5 years ago and moved into administration in higher education (more specifically, I direct a post-baccalaureate program). I do not know if it is because of the pandemic, but I find myself really missing biomedical research. You know pandemics, viruses, immunology . . . they kind of go hand in hand. Ok, maybe I do not miss actually doing it, but I miss talking “science”. I do not know what this means in my future career path. For example, here’s my typical response to people that ask me what I do for a living:

  • I direct a postbac program. BUUUUUUT, I used figure out how to cure A, B, or C cancer by doing X, Y, and Z. Oh, and I used to try to “turn” stem cells into cells of the immune system. Folks really get a kick out of oral cancer research that I used to conduct because I gave mice booze and “cigarettes”. Interesting mouse trivia: We had to conduct those experiments in female mice. When we gave male mice booze, they would get drunk and try to kill each other; whereas the female mice pretty much took naps (aka passed out).

I find that people (including myself) are ALWAYS more interested in the science crap that I used to do. I think this ‘missing science’ has been partially contributing (somewhat) to my pandemic depression. Well . . . it’s not necessarily depression, per se, but I feel like my professional life has no meaning. Actually, I think that some of my post-bac students would disagree that my assessment, but I feel like I’m lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

So how did you get into administration in higher education? Well, that was NOT the original plan. Towards the end of my post-doc, I applied to a BUNCH (20+) of faculty positions up and down the east coast. Clearly, I did not get any of those positions. I did get a few interviews, but obviously nothing materialized into an offer. Since I could not obtain a faculty position, I decided to move into Industry, which is a normal career progression for someone with a Ph.D. in the life sciences. While in the Industry, I chatted with some folks who also failed at trying to get faculty positions and learned about the possibility of admin in higher education. Maybe failed is too strong of a word. It seemed like a great idea because it would be, what some folks consider to be adjacent to Academia. Hell, I even took a pay cut for my current position. Three and a half years later, here I am in a state of (professional) arrested development. Overall, I think that I do a decent job running this post-bac program; however, I still feel like there is an intellectual component missing from my job. Perhaps, that’s one of the pitfalls of being a grown up. One of the things that fascinated me about biomedical research was having the opportunity to constantly learn something new. Right now, I do not really experience that feeling. Since I work at a university, I do find myself attending lectures and seminars in the life sciences in an attempt to scratch my intellectual itch. Sometimes while doing grunt work for my current position, I think to myself: did I go through all of this education (BS, MS, and PhD) and postdoctoral training to do THIS?!

Perhaps, this is just a simple case of the grass is always greener on the other side.

I do not know where I was really going in the post (I thought I was supposed to be writing about getting back into shape); I guess that I’m just letting my fingers talk while I have my morning cup of coffee.

Well, it looks like the weather will be in the mid 30s this week; hopefully, I can log some outdoor miles. Actually, I cannot remember the last time I ran more than 3 miles. Wasn’t I supposed to run 2021 miles in 2021? I guess that ain’t happening. Since it’s supposed to rain all day, I guess outdoor miles will not happen today. Perhaps, today’s rain will not be a bad thing because it will get rid of some to most of the snow. There, I managed to talk about running.

Has pandemic life made you rethink your career path or choices?

7 comments

  1. The pandemic definitely made me rethink my career and pushed me to make a change. I was running social media for a hospital, which was …. quite an experience during a pandemic. And one I hope to never repeat. At the end of 2020, I decided I’d had enough (for a bunch of reasons) and luckily was able to quickly land a new communications position in the home services industry. Good luck — I know what it’s like to feel lost or adrift in your work life.

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  2. I didn’t know you used to do cancer research. I do cancer research. If anything the pandemic has shown me even more how much I love my job and the people I work with. If you’re not happy with your job, it’s not too late to switch. I know you already know this but it doesn’t hurt for it to be reinforced by someone else. It’s a tough decision and I wish you all the best in whatever you decide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yupers. Sometimes, I think that I left science too soon. To be honest, I only spent a little more than a year in Industry after completing my postdoc.
      Since I have been out of the biomedical world for a few years, I fear that it might be impossible to get back in without having to start all over (e.g. entry level scientist position) . . . especially now that I’m 40 years old.

      I do not hate my job; I’m just not seeing much of any professional/career development. Looking at the Linkedin profiles of folks in similiar roles, it seems that many folks bounce between admin jobs every three or so years. . . unless they are very high up in the admin chain (e.g. a dean/provost of something). I guess this kind of stuff happends in all sectors of professional life.

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      • I hear what you’re saying. It’s tough to get a science job because of all of the competition. It wouldn’t hurt to just look around and see what’s available, though, and keep an eye open if anything that interests you should come up. You never know, you might have just the right experience and knowledge for a job that is perfect for you.

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      • I think nowadays (especially with the pandemic), it’s tough to get any job. However, if I decide to move on, I hope some of the admin stuff that have been doing will be “transferrable”.

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  3. I do admin work for a specific department within a healthcare organization. I enjoy the work I do and more so enjoy the perk of working from home and having flexible hours that allow me to coach high school track. That said I don’t like being glued to a computer 40 hours a week. I earned my NASM personal trainer certification the summer of 2019 and began considering part time jobs with the hope of reducing my current job’s hours. My game plan was once the 2020 track season ended to begin seriously looking into options with local recreation groups, community centers, etc. Covid obviously derailed that. I was glad I never quit my job to dive into full time personal training since I likely wouldn’t have had a job for the past year. It’s really made me wonder if I wasted my time/money getting the certification though having gotten my 2nd vaccine I may start considering some options again this summer/fall depending on when more people start returning to gyms/community centers to work out.

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