Greetings dear readers. I apologize for the lengthy absence. Since we last met, I’ve switched jobs and states! And got married!! I know. Too many changes in such a short period of time. But all is well. And I’m happy to be back to share what I’ve learned, especially in the last few months. I would like to share with you how the change of jobs came to be and what were some of the little pieces of wisdom I’d gathered since grad school, came into play to make my job offer a really irresistible one.
I was a happy camper in NYC. I enjoyed my job (even the occasional disagreement with my boss) and was learning a whole lot. I didn’t get to do any ordering as a grad student or postdoc, and then all of a sudden I had to find the right amount of the right product for a lab of 6 people (and a very demanding director). Thankfully, I had the greatest, most patient labmates, and we worked through the ropes, until I was able to just look at something, know the catalog number and order in advance. I also got to create various SOPs, if only for internal purposes of the lab. But since I only got to shadow my predecessor for a week, and had to constantly bother her with questions about where lab stuff was and where she purchased things, I decided to try to make life easier, not only for my current labmates, but for any future addition to the lab. I didn’t want my labmates to have an uphill battle, should I ever leave the lab. And leave I did.
Back in November, just before Thanksgiving, I got an email from a professor I knew in grad school. It looked like she was doing fairly well with her group and I was happy she wrote to say hi. But she didn’t just write to say hi. After I left school in 2009 (and moved on to my bad postdoc), my PhD boss also moved on, leaving behind a pretty good structural biology facility behind. I was aware of this, and I figured they’d hire a big name to continue using the facility, and said investigator would bring with him or her people to run the lab. I was wrong. A PI was hired, but the structural biology facility changed hands and commands, and now had a new mandate. The new professor and the professor that contacted me were looking for a lab manager. And they were asking me to apply.
While this was a pleasant surprise (it’s good for the ego to see that some people from your past follow your trajectory and feel like you’re competent when it comes to the science), it was still … a surprise. I was happy in NYC and it would take quite a bit for me to relocate. Long story short, after some back and forth calls and emails, I agreed to visit. A very informal interview was conducted, I suppose partly because people already knew my body of work and wanted to learn what I’d been doing since graduation. I was afraid they’d ask about my bad postdoc experience … but instead it was mostly PIs talking about the future directions of their projects, and how they hoped the new lab would help them achieve that. All this was amazing, but also worrying, mostly because this would be the first time I’d have no one to fall back on and I’d be making some big decisions, rendering my opinion on purchasing multi-million dollar pieces of equipment, handling said equipment and keeping it up in shape, all while collecting data for PIs and training their students.
During this time, my very supportive husband proposed. And after returning from new job city, he proposed and I accepted both offers: his marriage proposal and the new job. I negotiated the salary and got a raise of almost 10K from what I was earning n NYC. The added responsibilities were worth that. And I got the support from my former labmates, especially my immediate supervisor, who agreed with me that while it seem sudden, these opportunities don’t come knocking on the door every day. The type of job security this position has is also very important, and it would allow my husband and I to *finally* reunite, after living apart during my time in NYC.
In the next entry, I’ll talk some more about the interview process, the kinds of questions I was asked, and how I went about going for the interview with only select people in my former lab and why I said yes.
Thanks for reading