Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Things have gotten really slow uninspiring and hopeless at work. I am unable to come up with anything positive to say about my project, my lab-life or anything. All my boss has to say is "Keep plugging along". So I will keep doing that. It doesn't help that my lab atmosphere has gotten a bit caustic to be in, thanks to an annoying coworker. That bit, I have finally decided, is mostly part of being in a lab ecosystem. There are going to be some personalities that are unfriendly, inconsiderate and I just have to stop let them bothering me.

My target is to have decent data in two months. It's either that or I call it quits. Then I'll bring the other back-burner project up to the front- the one that I know will get published in a not-so-great journal for a clinical audience.

I don't know- if my life were any different and I didn't have to R2I and I continued in post-doc hell for another 3-4 years like most people in my field are doing would I then have hit pay-dirt and got to call myself an outstanding scientist with a top tier publication? I don't know and I never will. And I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

I sound very bitter and frustrated. I guess I am. But the upside- I am making it into lab everyday early morning. And plugging on despite all the hopelessness I feel. I am doing it quite mechanically, but I am doing it. I enjoy the early morning productivity, I must say, if not anything else.

May be a little detachment from my work is a good thing for me too. If I don't internalize it all and make it about it me, I can stop letting it drag me down and just keep at it. Work smart, work hard, and like I don't really care. That is my new mantra.

You know those combination locks? That say turn thrice clockwise, pass this number, then turn twice anticlockwise, stop at this other number, then turn once clockwise and stop at this number? And then feel the click as you unlock? I have NEVER been able to work those damn locks at work. I have two such lockers, one that I stopped using out of frustration - so my backpack, jacket, shoes etc all just spill over in my desk area- and the other locker I have to use because my clean lab coat is deposited there after laundry, I always get someone near by to open up for me after struggling with it for fifteen minutes. Half that floor knows the combination to it now. I don't care. if they want to steal my lab coat they're welcome to.

So anyhow - in other news, I am taking swimming lessons. (For the second or third time). :) Yesterday I spent my own money and bought such a lock for a locker in the gym to keep my swim gear in. I couldn't believe I was doing it but I had no other choice. So yesterday, before going in for my lesson I decided to stow my backpack in the locker. I peeled the sticker off the back of my new lock that had the code and it just tore up in the process. But I made up a smart way to remember the code. All throughout the lesson I was struggling to stay afloat while not gulping down gallons of pool-water and coughing and spluttering and all that fun stuff, AND remembering to move my legs (we're not doing the hands, yet) - so much work! It doesn't help that my teacher- an 18 year old kid - was telling me stuff like "Nice and slow like this:" and proceeded to demonstrate a slow graceful motion followed by "Not like this" and proceeded to demonstrate a cartoon character flailing and flapping about in the water and thrashing water all around her. Nice imitation, teacher. :/

So, while my teacher was mercilessly mocking my own individual swimming technique, I was thinking about how I would have to struggle again with the bloody lock once I got out. And what if I couldn't get it to open? And worse of all what if I forgot the code? Well - there were signs all over the locker room that said that lockers left locked overnight would be broken, so I figured these guys had a way to pick these locks and I'd just ask them to pick mine so I can get my stuff out. Only problem was it was the ladies locker room so I don't think they'd come in during working hours to pick my lock, unless of course- they had a woman locker-picker.

So imagine my feeling of absolute triumph when I got out dripping wet from shower after the lesson and could manage to finally work the bloody lock all by myself! Yeah! Who cares if I can't swim? I can open these darned locks now without help. :)


ferret said...

There's always something new to learn, good job with the locks :)

From how much i was able to learn at my swimming class last summer, it's just about the level where i won't drown immediately,, will be able to scream for help before drowning :) But the next summer, i will learn it all the way, that's the hope! and then i will go to gokarna and swim in the ocean, and then i will learn to surf, oh what a pretty dream! sigh!

Calvin said...

Ah the lab work and the results. I have had only little experience (during my undergrads), and I could never come up with any meaningful results.
And corporate life is no different - you have similar co-workers and a similar boss :)