I’m sure this is cyclical, in terms of my emotional state. But this morning, I am not particularly looking forward to my new job. Not this week. Last week I made my first real faux pas where I wasted a surgeon’s time in a meeting and had to be told afterwards to “stifle my curiosity” so that the meeting could proceed on pace. I was asking too many questions. I was told they were perfectly fine questions, but to write them down and ask after the meeting, don’t just bring up new stuff during the meeting.
That’s fair, sure. What’s hard to accept is, I’m not the PI anymore. It’s abundantly clear that people are tired of me talking about publishing. I’m going to stop, for a month at least. I just need to quietly go about doing the things I need to do to have publishable projects, and then publish them when that happens. This is an environment that has never cared about that, and while it’s something that I think people will be excited about when it does happen, no one sees it as valuable right now. And to them, it’s not. Papers won’t advance their careers. And maybe not mine either. I’m doing it for ego.
And it bruises my ego that I’m seen as wasting the surgeon’s time. I want to say, “No, he was rude for presuming I’d cater to his agenda.” But that’s not the case either. There was a published agenda that my office put together. I was going off books. And, objectively, that surgeon has more to do than I do. And my institution, a hospital, values his work more than it values mine. Probably by a factor of five. Maybe seven.
I want to be the person in the room that everyone respects the most. The one with the ideas and the one whose time is the most important. But that’s just not true here. It’s true for very few people in life, and I’m not one of them. I spent about three years as a PI where I got to be a sort of head-honcho. I’m not that anymore. I traded it for a good stable career doing what I was trained to do without having to submit grants. I’m part of a team, and I’m not at the top of it.
I’m feeling small. I’m feeling jealous of medical doctors who are no smarter and no better trained who get vastly more money and vastly more respect. I’m feeling rejected that the woman I went out with that I thought I liked didn’t return my email or my text, so she probably isn’t in to me. I’m simply feeling a tiny bit alone. In a strange new place. In a different culture.