Friday, July 22, 2011

Heading for the hills...

It's been a bit since i've blogged sorry, to be honest, the last few weeks have been a bit of a bust, so I haven't had much good to say. To start with the good - Barkley is awesome, I am adoring having a pup around and I think we were made for each other; I love Maine, I am really enjoying being here for a good period of time; and I still love  the Darling Marine Center, I am so enjoying being around in the summer, so many people, so many students, so much good science going on.

And the bad, funding just sucks right now, so i'm not sure where my life is headed. Makes it hard to blog. I've had my three big proposals submitted this year rejected and i'm not sure where to head next. One wasn't unexpected, but i've had good vibes from the foundation I submitted it to to resubmit next year, which is something. I didn't get a second year of the Alaska project funded, which is painful. We've found such great things there that need the extra year of observation so it's frustrating to say the least.

But it's not just the frustration of rejections, you need a thick skin to get through those and I mostly have the ability to dust off and try again. If science funding was what it was a few years ago i'd not be too worried about 3 big rejections, as i'd know something would come along. But it's not. This many rejections though begins to erode at the confidence and i'm really begin to question my ability to do good science. I think my general malaise comes from the fact that I do really like it here and want to stay, and i'm now just uncertain how to make that happen. I'm usually happy to keep on plugging away at proposals, but with major funding cuts to science it's all becoming pretty depressing.

The next immediate step for me is a paycut, so that will start next month - i've moved, I have furniture and it's still much cheaper here to live than Hawaii, so I can swallow that now. It's not what I want as I want to build up enough money for a house deposit and that will have to stop, but at the moment it's just survival. I can pick up some teaching next year and have been talking around getting suggestions for smaller pots of money - all in all, it's been mentally exhausting. With some creative rebudgeting, teaching and hopefully a bit of luck for a little more, i'm good through the end of next year - which sounds good, but my creative rebudgeting is not going to help my science get done (other than keeping me in a job I suppose).

I know whatever will work out will work out, it always does and so far i've been lucky. I think i'm just ready to settle and have this instability stop. I'm applying for jobs, but it's lackluster, as I really like it here and don't want to leave. It'll be the hardest decision ever if that happens.

So that's the scoop, i've not been into taking photos to post and I don't like just posting the bad, so it's been few posts instead. I'm about to head to the hills with Barkley tomorrow to do a camping and hiking trip, see how she likes sleeping in the great outdoors. I need some outdoors time, and at the moment we're socked in with oppressive heat and humidity, so some elevation will hopefully provide some much needed relief. I'm looking forward to getting in my tent for the first time this year - yeah!

1 comment:

PleaseRecycle said...

Hi Rhian! I haven't commented in ages (but I've been reading!). I have similar feelings- I am starting a postdoc in August and feeling very uncertain that it is the direction I want to take my career, for the reasons you mention. Money, money, money. Grants, grants, grants!

Your photos from the mountains are great- Matt and I had some fun times in Vermont, NH, and Maine wilderness when we lived in Boston.

Take care!