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Toxic Lethargy.

5 July 2012

I’m feeling dull and smudgy this morning. I have too much work to do. I don’t really feel like doing it. Repeated rejection is getting me down. Papers, grants, rejection after rejection after rejection. It’s wearying. I would very much like to get a paper into a decent journal on the first try. I would like to have another grant funded at all. I’m feeling troubled by my progress. I would like something to be easy. Or at least seem possible.

My big grant which is still out there is due to be reviewed in October. If it doesn’t hit I am in truly deep trouble, if I want to stay where I am. I am tired of all this academic bullshit. It’s absolute nonsense how difficult it is to do research. Institutions no longer even support their own professors. American universities do not support research. They maintain lab space. You need grants if you want to do research. For providing you with a title and a place to work, the university will demand roughly 30% of any award you receive, and provide you with no staff.

All of which is making the Singapore job, where I’d actually be supported and have hard money and the opportunity to develop my own research program, look better and better. The fact that it looks to pay very well doesn’t hurt either. The truth is, I don’t think I want to live in Singapore for the rest of my life. But three years? Win some grants at a much better funding line? Put out some papers in decent journals? Turn around and come back to the US with a stronger CV and a wad of retirement money? Why shouldn’t I be thinking dreadfully seriously about this?

I’m exhausted and working in a frustrating, stymied environment. On the other hand, if my big grant hits, I’ll be in good shape for a long time. It won’t remove my salary pressure, but it will definitely ease my mind for a long time. Of course, the Singapore position may not allow me to wait to find out about it. I don’t know how big of a douchebag it makes me to accept another position while I’m co-PI of a grant under review. There aren’t a lot of people who do what I do, and so it would be very difficult for my co-PI to replace me if it were funded. Especially because it only covers 50% of my salary. And I still have no idea where the other 50% is going to come from. Well, not no idea, but it’ll take doing.

But. I’m excited about a couple of things. I’m taking a class next week at the University of Michigan. I’m meeting a big name researcher who does some work in my field and talking to her about how to advance my goals and ideas. I’m excited about this meeting even if I’m still not sure what to discuss with her. Maybe I’ll ask about the Singapore job. And my guest stint at Scientopia.org starts Monday, which is awesome. I have no idea what to write about. So I’ll probably write about being back in class, a little bit about sobriety, and my job/grant/publication issues.

And I’ll write about health care engineering and systems modeling as a science. I need to plan a primer on systems modeling. It should be cool. I’ll see what I can think up.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Penelope permalink
    5 July 2012 11:16

    If Singapore pays well enough to fly my family out to visit you while you’re there, well then I guess you’ll have my blessing.

  2. fenfatale permalink
    5 July 2012 14:56

    Two friends of mine lived in Singapore for a year and loved it. Maybe you need a good palmist or diviner to tell you what looks like the best fate. Seems like two very good options.

  3. 6 July 2012 02:01

    I think that you are only young once and foolish at that so go for it..I used to be an academic and would love to communicate more with you on your angst regarding an academic career..

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