I went to interview for post-doc positions at two labs in Boston after thanksgiving weekend. Right from the night I reached there, taking the train to the lodge I was put up at, I was beginning to like it. After my first interview, I decided to spend the evening exploring the city a bit. I was lucky to have some wonderful weather that evening, and took the train to Copeley Square. Christmas lights were up in the streets, and just walking around was so invigorating. I enjoyed taking in the busy road scene- the trains that snaked through the main road, buses, and cyclists and cars, in addition to the ocassional pedestrian. I could see myself live here- it had all the elements of a place I'd enjoy living in- all the universities around made it a vibrant academic atmosphere, coupled with a nice big-city feel that I have been yearning for. Of course, during the course of my interviews I had figured out how expensive the place is, and that I would be spending more than half of my paycheck on rent if I came to live there. Not a happy thought at all. (But pretty much the scene anywhere unless I want to live in another small town).
The next day, as I made my way back from the second lab I was visiting, I began considering it all. I still don't know if I am getting any of the jobs. Lab #1 was a great project, I was completely sold on the science, and would have a hell lot to learn in my first year. This was definitely going to be one of those "long" post-docs. Lab #2 had a great P.I and a very active group. But the project was too close to what I have been doing, and while it's a very interesting question, I didn't see myself pursuing the same thing again for my post-doc. So it's most probably a no no.
The weather sucked that evening, and I was told that that was more representative of Boston that time of the year. Ah well. I walked about town some more, exploring the nice array of restaurants, the charged atmosphere..all of which made me want to live there. There were ample opportunities to pursue outside work- anything that might catch my fancy. But would I have the money / time for any of it? I don't know.
I didn't sleep too well that night. Scientifically, it had been an invigorating two days- It's always nice to present your work to an outside audience- they help you fall back in love with it all over again. I was also trying to assimilate all that I'd heard about in the past two days, and weigh my options. The days leading to these interviews had been crazy- I was desperately trying to get something to work so that I'd have that nice piece of data to show off. That didn't happen, even until 1 am the night before i left. ;) Then there was all that outside reading to catch up with their work, and all those last minute revisions to my talk. Those efforts had paid off, though. Both interviewers were impressed with the fact that not only was I on top of my work, but quite familiar with theirs too. And finally, I had to catch a 6 AM flight the next morning. My adventure a few days ago had just made me too scared to sleep! :-) Thankfully, I made this flight without any hassles, and as I picked up my luggage and walked out of the airport, I started peeling off the layers that I had to put on to brave the rain and cold while boarding the flight in Boston. The warmth in the air here hit me with another question- do I really want to go live in a place where half my paycheck goes to rent, and half the year the weather is nasty cold, rain and snow? If it helps any, I already have one friend in the city, unless of course, she has to move out as I move in. You know, of course, without meaning too. Just work and all that..;)
I figure I'll hold off the decision making angst until I'm atleast offered the job! :-)
p.s: II & I to follow ;)