Thursday, June 17, 2010

The whole enchilada and heading out again!

First off, this is another "Hi and Bye", this time to a world without internet or telephones! Saturday at the butt crack of dawn i'm headed on the SEA sailing vessel the Seamans, to join the last 5 days of the UH student cruise. Yes there was a lot of politics on that one, but I still feel an attachment so after multiple askings, i'm headed on the last few days. And there is no internet, and we'll likely be out of phone range for most of it. What will I do with myself??

And the whole enchilada on Maine. Well, it's been a tough few weeks. They offered me the job while I was there on the interview, which is a most bizarre thing, nice and to the point, but confused the hell out of me. The job is basically the same position I have here Assistant Professor on the research faculty. So that equates to no salary and having to bring everything in on grants. Since grant success is down to a whopping 10% these days, it's a pretty tall order. The position was originally advertised as a hard money position, but Maine, as everywhere, has been hit by the economy so they had the hard money taken away. So why go?

Well, the main (Maine, get it?) thing for me is longevity. In two years the director is hoping to get these positions (they're hoping to take on 3 people) into partial support (to the tune of ~5 months per year) - no promises unfortunately, but i've been told from many sources the director is hard headed and openly honest - so if he says he's going to try, he's going to fight for it. After that, because i'll be at the university, and it's all unionized, if a fully supported position comes along that I can apply for, i would be given preference. Those who have been at the Darling Marine Center long enough have (mostly) all slid into those positions eventually. Here in Hawaii I just keep being told "wait another year", as the years roll on.

So, no promises, why go? Well, i've spent the last 5 weeks pondering on that one. Torturing myself quite literally. Going to Maine means moving across the widest part of the country possible, with just 6 months of salary on hand. That's damn scary. So why go? We went back and forth a lot with offers, they don't have much to give right now, but I think whats really drawn me is that they have pulled out everything they possibly could. Here is what I am getting out of the move -

- Two labs (one with student office space) and an office (with a water view!!!)
- The histology lab (additional to my 2 labs)
- Use of the TEM and SEM lab for free - when the director retires in ~5 years, they will become mine
- Dedicated space in the flowing seawater facility - where the water is cold, so perfect for growing my corals
- Dedicated cold room with flowing seawater - perfect for growing antarctic corals!
- Use of molecular facilities
- Small startup, which includes 2.5 months of salary for me and some funds for some pieces of equipment (not that I need anything, all the facilities and big equipment I use are there already)
- My grants moved without losing $$s on overhead changes (this is actually way more huge than it sounds)
- Housing at the center for a few months to get me set up
- Moving costs all paid
- A greencard, with all costs paid

So, not inconsiderable. Not what I really need (salary), but considering they have nothing to give, they pulled everything they possibly could out there.

Most of all, I like it there. It's a more "me" environment than Hawaii will ever be (baring suddenly winning the lottery and not having to worry about money). It's more realistic to live, I could actually buy a house one day. I would love to do some work with the director there too - a fantastic invertebrate reproduction specialist, who knows the ins and outs of the TEM like no-one else - I could really learn a thing or two. And the people were friendly, i've had some wonderful emails, and my friend Les, who pushed me to apply in the first place, said he had an email from a friend of his there who said "Thankyou for sending her our way". Makes me think it's not all fluff and they are kind of excited....

So yesterday I signed off on it. Handed in my resignation in Hawaii and in December i'll be headed that way. And so the next adventure begins....


Nicola (Which Name?) said...

Rhian, I think this is awesome. It sounds like the environment, both people and setting suit you really well. I am excited for you. And the expenses paid move make it worth it, I'd say.

Racheal Seekings (Nee Brown) said...

Maine is really nice, if not a little cold in the winter! I visited the Portland area. I think you will like it there though. From memory the people were really nice and a lot about the place reminded me of England... well, it was more English than the other parts of America I visited.
Good luck and hope it all works out for you!

Cherry B said...

Sorry I've been so out of the loop! Very excited for you-- sounds great and you're so much nearer to the Cape!!!