Two weeks

Dec 01 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Original post date: Dec 1, 2010

I signed my termination notice yesterday.

Now, I knew this was coming, and really my boss was incredibly generous to extend my stay into December (and benefits through Jan 1), but it's final; my last day at work is two weeks from tomorrow.

There is no immediate plan in place. With the SfN meeting and Thanksgiving taking up basically all of November, nothing has been settled one way or the other from my interview at the end of October. I have a different post-doc interview next week, and of course, my upcoming faculty interviews as well. I even took action on a Plan B, so it's not like I have nothing going on, but still. It's crazy to know that there's a day in the very near future when I'll just wake up and have nowhere to be. More meaningfully, I will not be doing The Science, for the first time since I started grad school over 10 years ago. It is heartbreaking.

I have only ever been unemployed once before, for about a month after college when I moved to the Bay Area and promptly sprained my knee. It was pretty miserable, but then I was alone--a solo invalid in a new city. Here at least I have J, and my friends, and the physical means to leave my apartment.

Still. I'm so sad because I love my lab and because the time I've spent in it has been so rich and so...formative. I have a lot to be grateful for. I can't let myself get too mopey, though, because for the next two weeks, I also have a hefty to-do list:

1. Polish and practice my job talk
2. Find out how much everything in my lab costs so I can have a ballpark budget ready for TT interviews
3. Revisit my grant proposals so am prepared for chalk talks
4. See if dentist and ophtho can squeeze me in before benefits expire
5. Find a way to get 6 years' worth of crap from lab desk to home (note to self: hire someone? other note to self: pay in....what, cookies?)
6. Do something with the brains in the fridge
7. Bake cookies
8. Download as many papers as possible while institutional access still valid
9. Buy presents for people? PI? Lab Manager? Input, please
10. Not cry (too much) at going-away party

3 responses so far

  • SS4BC says:

    When I started doing my job talks it was "sorta" behind my boss' back. So you're doing the right thing here. Good luck! The interviews are kinda fun actually - at least I enjoyed them. =)

  • rknop says:

    Best of luck.

    I went through that period of waking up and not having anything to do, and it was quite depressing.

    In 2007, I left my tenure-track job (tenure wasn't going to come -- too many funding woes for me). I was technically unemployed for about a month, but it wasn't a big deal because I had the next job lined up. It was with a computer company, where I was going to be an operations engineer, and, yeah, it was weird not to be doing The Science... but at the time, it was also very, very relieving. (The burnout had been huge, as I'd documented in real-time on my blog back then.)

    Two years later, I got fired (for asking the wrong question of the wrong Vice President-- Dilbertville took over Linden Lab), and *then* I really was at a loose end for several months. Early on, I sunk into a deep depression, partly because the firing was extremely jarring, and the way that they do it is really an assault on your sense of self. In the end, it worked out very well for me, as I'm now at a small teaching-oriented undergraduate university that is exactly the sort of place I wanted to be at all along. (I really need the break, but about a year into Linden I was starting to really miss the teaching, most of all.)

    Anyway, good luck, and whatever happens, try to hang in there.

  • anon says:

    I just now sort of stumbled into your blog, so this is a belated comment. I lost my tenure-track job for fiscal reasons (not enough grant money coming in, no job). I pulled a George Costanza thing and kept coming in, kept working with my student (since the grad program had no clue what to do with her) and kept the lab going on fumes and even published a manuscript. I also managed to have my email account reinstated and kept applying for grants. I had a husband and unemployment to support me during this time.

    The funding came through, the student graduated, so then I was told to get the hell out. I took the money and went into a non-tt position elsewhere. It's been a surreal experience. I don't recommend it, but it's interesting how things have worked out.

    I wish you the best. Regardless of what happens, never give up.

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