Life in ECC.
Well, at the end of the week, I will have been here for two months. I’m in the middle of my 4th week of work. I’m just starting to get my mind around how this place works. I’m finding myself having two types of adjustments to go through. First is that the institution, MECMC, is very different from my institution back in St. Louis. It’s bigger, faster, sleeker, and full of really dynamic, effective people who care a lot about getting shit done. That’s great. I’m excited by that. The other is that my role in the institution is different from my role in St. Louis. I’m not a PI, and my research activity is going to be minimal for a while. I’m considered support staff, and that’s a tiny bit difficult to swallow, because I can be egotistical.
But it is good to work with humility. I like to think that when I am in charge, when I’m the PI, I’m magnanimous and humble. I’ve certainly never had anyone tell me otherwise. But it’s easy to act that way when I’m in charge. Then I’m being generous. It’s harder for me to be humble when I’m not the PI. When my role requires me to consider someone else to be the top of the pyramid. I don’t mind having a boss. Hell, PIs have bosses too. Everyone does. But I don’t like being at the beck and call of someone who clearly thinks I’m not terribly important, the way so many surgeons seem to look at others. But my work group clearly respects me, and I’m happy for that. I need to learn how to fit in. I’m doing that slowly.
And I’ve found a couple of great meetings. I go to a Men’s Meeting on Wednesday nights, which is about 2 miles from my apartment, and 2.6 from work. I walk when I can. I’m not sure what the weather is like outside right now (I work in a windowless cellar), but I think it’s walkable tonight. At least it will be home from the meeting. If it’s as hot as my phone thinks it is, I’ll take the bus from my job to the meeting, probably. We’ll see what time I make it out. And on Sundays there’s a meeting at the local Ethical Society (Which surprises me a bit; the Ethical Society is known for being a little prickly toward anything that invokes God, and AA does, of course. Though AA certainly doesn’t require you accept any particular faith or spirituality. Our only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.).
So I’ve found a couple of places where I fit in. And I’m hopeful that I will find more. It will be nice to have friends, when I have some. So far, I mostly just have a few people I work with, and a few people I go to meetings with. But I’ve hung out with a couple of twitter people. I think other friends are on the horizon. Maybe. It’s been a long time since I needed to make friends. I don’t really know how. But I’ll be meeting some more twitter people in a couple of weeks, including a couple who went to the Great Chicago Tweetup. I’m really looking forward to that.
Loneliness is insidious. And isolation and depression lead me to those old places I used to drink to avoid. But I know now that I have better ways of dealing with those impulses and fears. So, in an hour, I’ll head to my Men’s Meeting. And It’ll be good.