Work plans: My plan of action is to get as much done for that minimum publishable unit as I can in the next one year, while simultaneously hunt for a good (industry) job in India. My (self-imposed) deadline for all of this is Dec 2010. When I assessed things few months ago, that seemed like a reasonable one.
It so turns out that one of the starting material for which I had been proposing all my studies on has yet to be generated- and I have ended up taking the responsibility for generating it. I don't begrudge the responsibility so much-just wish I had known earlier- someone has to do the dirty work and if I need this material, I may very well be the one generating it- even if it is going to be used by others in addition to me. Plus, it is the unique aspect of my study- using anything else other than this doesn't make my study that appealing.
Now that I am actually getting my hands dirty in the technique of generating this starting material, I have realized its a far from standardized protocol and there's a lot to be done. I can easily see the next 3-4 months will be lost in just perfecting the technique, before I can start generating the samples for my and others studies.
My boss has also signed me up for the analyses of some of the other studies stemming from this material. What all of this means is that I will still be generating starting material into March, and actual experiments begin April or so.
Then, for me to bring things to a winding up point by Dec to a large extent means that I really won't enjoy fully the fruit of of these 3-4 months of hard work. Experiments that are planned with these samples easily span a year. This procedure of generating samples is quite labour-intensive, and I will have ended up using a good chunk of my time here just generating samples that others will end up using after me.
I guess I can ask to continue to be part of the downstream analyses by working in a remote way, but that also requires liaising with other experts on campus so me going away will not really make me the best person for those analyses then.
I am trying to see what would be the best time to tell my boss that I plan to curtail my post-doc by the end of this year. If I do it too early, I run the risk of being sidelined from now itself. If I wait for too late, I may end up being signed up for tasks that I won't probably get to do, and also end up not making the best of my time here.
Overall my boss seems like a nice guy, who definitely has post-docs interests in mind. But there's no telling.
I also see myself slowly inching into that zone where I will find it hard to cut my work short here and return to India, the more I invest in it. I can keep feeling that a few more months might be ok, and then some more. Now I also got this fellowship, which expires in June 2011, so it will be quite a sorry waste to throw that away before it runs out or when I could even possibly get it extended.