Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Intention: Career

Not as much fun to think about or write as the other ones, but quite likely more important! This year I need to get my head back into the game and my ass into gear. I've been slacking off. I'm barely working 9-5 most days, and aside from a few days before major deadlines, I've been taking weekends and evenings off. You do not become successful in this career keeping bankers' hours. Every successful scientist I know sends emails out in the middle of the night, and can be found in their offices of a Saturday afternoon. Pre-kids I had no problem coming home and "finishing up" after dinner (because are you ever really "finished"?), and most weekends were spent writing, making presentations, or analyzing data. I didn't answer emails at 2 am, but I didn't let a whole weekend go by without checking either (I've done this quite often recently, unthinkable!).

I can't say that motherhood is solely responsible for my diminishing work ethic. Even after B is in bed, I have no desire to open up my laptop. Truthfully, I'm just not fired up about the projects I am working on now, and it's incredibly difficult to achieve any momentum and get in the "flow" state. When I'm working on something I'm passionate about? It's FUN for me. Hours go by, and I long for more time. I haven't felt that in a while.

What I'd really like to do is start my first truly independent project. Something I am really excited about, that will re-energize me and hopefully get me on a roll to complete the blah projects and move on. My goal is to spend (at least) a few hours each week on this: literature reviews, talking to advisors/consultants, acquiring preliminary data, and then writing protocols, IRB submissions, and hopefully getting started by the fall. And I'll have to do most of this outside of work hours, since I still have plenty to keep me busy. So I'll need to make some sort of schedule for working maybe an hour most nights after B is asleep and chores are done.

I'm sitting on a couple of really exciting ideas, and I need to move to the execution phase before someone else does it. Because cool ideas stuck in your head don't get you papers or promotions.


  1. Just make sure you write down your cool ideas so that when you start to write your protocols you can refer back to them and remember what your original thought was. I too find the first step to be the hardest. When you get over the initial barrier of starting a new project, it's so much easier to let the momentum carry you.

    And with that, I off to my house to keep working on building my new database!

  2. Right there with you. Or somewhere similar, anyway, as I guess I'm not at the "care about it" stage yet. Perhaps because I'm lacking the cool ideas. But I fear sitting around doesn't result in the generation of cool ideas either. Anyhow, I sure wish you luck.

  3. You are so right - research success requires so much dedication. I can remember my post-doc days but the longer I stay away the more difficult it becomes to imagine embracing that lifestyle again. As you say, it is all about the cool ideas - then the excitement practically carries the project forward. I hope you get rolling on yours soon!
    - Slowmamma