Saturday, May 05, 2007

What next?

I am going to Philadelphia! My second round of post-doc interviews went very well, after the Boston disappointment - I was nervous and not sure what to expect. My Boston trip had gone great as far as I could tell, but I still didn't get the job I wanted. I interviewed in Philly and D.C, in 4 labs- all excellent labs doing very good work. I think the best part of these interviews was getting put up in plush hotel rooms :) After years of student housing life and staying in youth hostels while traveling, it was such a fun feeling to be put up in fancy places and be actively recruited. I also knew it was the only time I could enjoy that before returning to the life of a poor post-doc, so I quite enjoyed it.

Some associated rants and tales: When I landed in Philly on a cold wintry night having just gotten out of teaching and taken the last flight out of here, my old friend M met me at the airport, and brought along with her some of her trademark rasam-rice and dahi-rice that I have missed eating ever since she left town. M and her hubby dropped me to my hotel and showed me the way around there that I would take the next day to the lab. Such a warm reception in that cold city made me feel good already. So I sat in my fancy hotel room and relished M's food, practiced my talk one last time and went to bed, I had several busy days ahead.

The first lab I interviewed at in Philly, was a really nice group and the P.I seemed really nice too. They work on a "model system" - i.e a well studied system and I envy how many tools and resources they have at their disposal to answer questions. When I presented my work, there were several interesting questions, and then the P.I said "well, I don't see why you needed to do all this when you could have just done a. b. and c". What he did not realize (or may be I didn't explain well enough) was that a, b, and c are a matter of ease for model-systems, but not for non-model organisms which are experimentally much more intractable. It is also possible that he was testing me to see how well I could defend my work- and defend I did, but I am afraid I came off as "defensive". But it always bothers me when folks take things like that for granted, and don't recognize that not all systems have it that easy. Ah well. I wrote a bitter email to my boss that night and she wrote back and said I had made a good argument, and to stay cool. But I did realize that I need to work on my responses and body-language when in a professional setting.

The next day I interviewed at the second lab in Philly and gave the "exact same" presentation. These folks also worked on the same model system, but they actually "got" my work. It was so nice to see that I had made it through and they fully appreciated the nitty-gritties of my work and were not blase about it. I went on to D.C and had equally good interactions there, and came home tired and exhausted after the long trip and trying to sort all those variety of ideas and projects I had been exposed to over 4 days. Soon after, offer letters came from 3 of the 4 labs! I was now in a position to choose.

After much deliberation, researching with past members of the labs, consulting my profs, senior friends, indulging in excel spreadsheet obsession and assigning weights and scores to all possible parameters, I went with my gut and chose the second lab in Philly. :) I am very excited about moving systems in a big way, and all the new stuff I will learn and get to do, still sticking to a field of science that has always been closest to my heart. :-). I will also be closer to my sis, my friend M and two other really close friends there. The city has a lot to offer and I can't wait to go and start exploring. Yeah, I do feel bad that I won't get to hang out with this friend as I earlier was excited about, but we will be close enough to meet every once a while, yes? :-)


tachyoson said...

go get them! you'll do just fine!

Shek said...

Just be calm and assertive in your interviews and you will do just fine. Try training stubborn dogs and you will learn. I have to do that almost everyday. My roommates beagle is freakin stubborn as a rock. You learn to train that sucker, you will ace any interview.

sd said...

Congratulations! (To the lab which is getting you, that is:) )

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

:-) thanks!

calm and assertive is the key, yes. and no, I don't want to go near any dogs to learn that. :o

hehehehehe :-) thanks yaar. what are your plans? when are you going to desh? when are you getting your own blog???? :-)

Shripriya said...

Philly is warmer than Boston and closer to NY! :)

Good luck - I'm sure you will have a great time!

Crazy Dhakkan said...

//I was now in a position to choose.

Great feeling it is, no? :-)

I'm also excited about your new beginning!! :-)

Someday, when I come down to US, we shall meet and we can then find out of Gems Bond is really a male or a female! :P :P :P

Good luck, girl! :-)

Revealed said...

Yayyyyyy. *deep breath* congratulationsssssssssssss

Neihal said...

Why has this post been written in matter-of-factly tone. What did you do to our TGFI !!!

Oh wait! I can see the rants. ok ok!!

And can we have a more celebratory mode here :P

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

oh yeah! warmer for sure. :) and thanks. we should meet up once i'm there.

Hello miss CD,
yes it was a very nice feeling :-)
thanks babe. yes we shall meet and end this mystery once and for all!

thanksssssssssssssssss :-) you haven't gone home yet?

hehehe. i hate to admit, you are right. it's something that happened over a month a go, so i guess the response is toned down now- and i am also trying to keep posts short- i really don't like long posts like the ones i wrote earlier.
ah well- i think i will quit the past blogging now, and write more spontaneously :-)

Sakshi said...

I almost made it to Philly, too :

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Thanks sakshi. ah did ya? well- we will have to visit each other now. The list of people I want to visit on the West Coast keeps growing, so a trip is due.

Anonymous said...

dear one
nice to read your blog. it is my dream to do phd and reading your blog made me so happy.
wish you all the best in your future work.


richa said...

congratulations for the post doc and kudos for winning the battle ( to me obtaining a PhD seems like a battle )

fafridi said...

heyy congratulations!!
btw, what do u hav a phd in,, incidentally i hav no clue abt that :P

Neihal said...

"i hate to admit, you are right"


I love it :D

qsg said...

Best of luck! :)

Born a Libran said...

Congratulations... and best of luck on the future.. :)

justme said...

Congragulations! Way to go...

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hey. :-) i hope you achieve your dream. it is a very achievable dream. :-)
thanks for leaving a comment and for your wishes

hi richa,
thanks. :-) it's not so much a battle- it's more a journey. :-)

thanks babe :-). My Ph.D is is molecular biology.

ya ya. i am noble enough to accept when others are right, bas. :p

thank- you :)

heyA. how goes??? thanks man.

thank-you. :-)

Rebellion said...

You know Lajjo, your post has the nervousness and excitement that a kid has on his first day to school or one who's stepping into college after school!

Keep the excitement n chuck the nervousness. I'm totalli confident about you. You'll do great :D

Congratulations and All the Best...
Take care :)

M (tread softly upon) said...

good going and philly is a cool place. so what model system are you going to work on? that is if you're willing to disclose that :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

:) thanks dear. i am excited about the new project.

m (t.s.o),
:-) mouse & human tissue culture. it's going to be interesting. i am very queasy about mice dissections and stuff..

Anonymous said...

Teri to... tu Gems se milegi, lekin mujhse nahi??
jaao.. main gussa tum par..

and by the way, preserve that excitment.. I wanna see it in July.. :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

oye SG
july nai, june mein! :-D

Gufo said...

Congratulations! think about it, in boston you can't run up the stairs like Rocky! That only is worth a trip to philly ;-)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Lol! Thanks gufo. :-) I didn't think about that at all!