Does this faculty search make me look fat?

Dec 16 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I read somewhere that during the few months when Top Chef is filming, Padma Lakshmi gains around 15 lbs. It's totally understandable--I mean, she has to taste all that food, like, as her job. Now that the faculty interview season is upon us, I can see that I may be facing a similar fate, since it is now also a significant part of my job to eat a bunch of food. As the newest faculty member and the "hip" ex-New Yorker, I have been placed in charge of all restaurant reservations for our candidate visits, and let's just say I'm not getting us a booth at the local Ruby Tuesdays, understand? I have embraced this responsibility as if it were going in my tenure dossier, and honestly? It probably should.

But the one eensy weensy difference between me and Padma Lakshmi (and really, this is the ONLY distinction) is that Padma Lakshmi's job is also to be totally beautiful (and say "furnished by Hot Pockets" with a straight face), and so when the cameras stop rolling for the season, she has some world-class trainer waiting to whip her scallops-three-ways-ified ass back into shape. In contrast, the other part of my job is to sit in front of my computer all day writing grants, planning lectures, and juggling about a thousand other administrative minutiae that require a mostly sedentary arrangement. So I will have to add to my ever-growing to-do list, "Magically burn 1000 calories a day." I mean, it's not like that truffle mac & cheese is going to work itself off my thighs, am I right?

Oh, and PS, for those who were wondering--my first semester has been amazing. I have been working incredibly hard and multitasking like a mofo (submitted an R-mech grant in my first 6 weeks), but the lab is almost starting to feel like a bona fide lab. I have a tech and a grad student, and they are a power duo the likes of which NJU has never before witnessed. Their taste in music is highly refined. We have equipment that spins, shakes, and allows the viewing of impossibly small things. There is a glass plaque when you walk in the building that says, "135th floor: Dr Becca's Laboratory of Awesomeness and WIN." It is unreal.

Shit is about to get a whole lot realer, though, because next semester I'll be teaching a course that I'm designing from scratch, we'll have a veritable cadre of undergrad helpers in the lab, plus another month of this faculty search, meaning at  least four more decadent meals like tonight's. Oh, and there's a new RFA with a March 13 deadline that I'd pretty much be crazy not to apply for. I may not be around here much, you guys, but I totally still <3 you and will pop in to say hi when I can! If a really long time goes by without a peep, though, you may want to get someone to check in on me--I've probably rolled under my desk, bloated from all the recruitment dinners, and am slowly being nibbled to death by carpet mites.


24 responses so far

  • Ragamuffin says:

    i just wrote about this today as well. not only is it recruitment season, but holiday luncheon season. i don't know what all the starving grad students were complaining about 🙂

    congratulations on getting your lab up and running smoothly. must be very rewarding to have such a great dynamic already. i'm rotating in a lab that just got going this summer as well, and it's a very unique energy that arises which i'm thoroughly enjoying. hope you continue to do the same.

    • Dr Becca says:

      Awesome! I'm so glad you're enjoying being in a new lab. There is definitely a special energy here and a real sense of camaraderie within our small group as we build this thing together. I hope you decide to stay with your PI!

  • AnyEdge says:

    This sounds amazing. I'm so glad that I've never actually had to apply for any position I've gotten. It sounds ridiculously difficult, from both ends. Now: if you really are on the 135th floor, the solution to your problem is simple. Cut the elevator cables.

  • drugmonkey says:

    There are, umm, carpet mites????? Aaaaggghh!

  • According to the renowned scientific source, you burn 122 calories per hour sitting at your desk writing. Assuming your life is like mine, that's at least 1,220 calories per day. So you're good! Have that truffle mac & cheese with glee! EVERY DAY! And the best part is that you burn more calories per hour the more you weigh, so there's like awesome feedback.

  • Dr. O says:

    I suppose there are worse ways to go than a truffle mac 'n' cheese-induced coma. If only you hadn't mentioned the carpet mites; that one's gonna fester...

  • tideliar says:

    +1 to Michael ... as I sit at my desk eating spaghetti & perk escalope leftovers with a box of mini-snickers calling my name from across the room...

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    You also have to have a potluck at your place for each candidate. I think you will find the requirement in your department working papers.

  • Sorry that shit had to get real, but I think that means good IRL stuff for you. I've appreciated all the blogs, but this one most of all, for its anxiolytic effects on my first year jitters. I hope you are still around the twitter-verse at least.

    • Dr Becca says:

      Aw, glad I could help, NeuroP! I'm also happy to have a cyber-buddy who's going through the same stuff, too. I should be on the twitters more frequently. See you there!

  • Dr 27 says:

    No, dear. You are totally wrong. You are WAYYY hotter than dear Padma.

    It does sound like you've had an amazing start in NJC. I'm so very happy for you. I knew you'd totes kick some science and NJC's ass.

    I think, more important than any other thing is to make time for you, whether by going to the gym or squeezing a good massage here and there. I'm sure it will make a difference and it will make you an even more awesome PI. Congrats on the minions! And here's to many more, cheers!

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    Yuck, dudette. I don't envy the job search duties. That shit never seems to go away either -- when some senior faculty always finds time to remind me, "Hey! Remember that new guy that you were pulling for in the job search meetings so much? And how he now does nothing but cartwheels in his office, lost his shit, and can't publish anything? Remember that?" UGH.

    • Dr Becca says:

      Dude, seriously. That is a little bit of my nightmare. When the person I've been pulling for comes to interview, I'm going to make sure he understands he'd better hit a fucking grand slam. Shower the audience with $100 bills, whatever it takes!

  • JustMe says:

    We both have "Fumbling Towards" in our titles. What are the odds?

    Also - I always wanted to be a teacher and should have put my MFA towards something when the going was good. Now I just stare at it and wonder, "could I sell this back and get a refund?"

    • Dr Becca says:

      Welcome, JustMe! Nice to have a fellow Fumbler in the vicinity. As for that MFA, I'm sure with the right branding, you could find someone willing to pay top dollar for that thing!

  • [...] December: I read somewhere that during the few months when Top Chef is filming, Padma Lakshmi gains around 15 lbs. [...]

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