Monday, July 22, 2013

I Am A Scientist

Sometimes a good email can really pick you up. I hardly got anything done last week (other than feeding my baby) and was feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Early this morning I read the suggestion* to have a "feel good" email folder where you keep messages that make you do just that. Jon has suggested something like this before to help me fend off the Impostor Monster. Today I got two feelgood emails that motivated me to have a productive afternoon preparing for ESA.

First I got an email about scheduling a phone interview for a postdoc! I am "one of X highly qualified applicants." It feels good to make the shortlist. (I was not offered the other job I interviewed for, but it sounds like it was a difficult decision for them, and honestly it's for the best. Starting that job this fall would have been incredibly stressful and difficult considering my compromised health).

Then I got an email from someone on a scouting trip to do doctoral research in Nyota. She emailed Sam for advice, and Sam referred her to me! I suppose I'm something of an expert on how to be an outsider. Years ago I started a document with all kinds of notes about things I wish I'd known when I started research in Nyota, so it is rewarding to pass on that information. She also met one of my field assistants who immediately asked her if she knew me, and told her "she's great." Considering the sometimes difficult relationship with my field assistants, that is wonderful to hear.

This month I have also received some email requests for pdf of my first published dissertation chapter. Even better, someone said it "make my day" when they found the paper. I even skyped with that person who wanted my feedback on her project idea. The paper went through 4 or 5 journals and nearly 100 numbered document versions and just dragged on and on in review, but now it feels like it truly was worth it.

On days like this I can own it. I Am A Scientist.

*It was in this excellent post that describes one woman's liberating attitude towards and honest tale of being a tenure-track faculty member (at Harvard!).

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