Sunday, August 16, 2015

Peer pressure

I had actually developed a post about peer pressure for my new digs at Academic Infiltration here on blogspot, but mainly in relation to some of my new faculty colleagues pressuring me for one thing or another.  Given recent peer pressure advising me to move to Word Press, I'm doing that.  My biggest hang up was how easy it would be to manage from my phone since the vast majority of blogging I do is on my phone.  But it appears I'll be able to manage it just fine.  I'm going to save the peer pressure post for my new site because I've given into pressure and am moving Academic Infiltration to Word Press.

academicinfiltration.wordpress.com/

I'll catch you there!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My new digs

The name of this blog is PhD-ing in Industry. I've decided that rather than change the name, PiI will serve as a relic of my industrial encounters and my academic search. A new chapter in life warrants a new blog. I've been batting around names and I've decided on Academic Infiltration (academicinfiltration.blogspot.com).  I'm still keeping the Phindustry moniker...just uploading to a new blog. Leaving PiI will also be emotional as it's been a loyal sounding board for everything I love and hate in (mostly) my professional life. I'm really pumped about the career shift and writing about how I go gray in the course of my first year as an academic!

I know that especially as of the past few months my posts have been more infra- than ultra-sound (that's a frequency joke).  I can't promise I'll be uploading any more frequently, but I am beginning to have more free time. While blogging is very fun it's pretty low on my list of hobby-priorities. Those of you that have following me on PiI, I sincerely thank you for any kind/funny comments/emails. I hope you'll still follow even though I'll be a boring academic ;)


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Things I'm looking forward to in Academia

I only thought it was correct to list the positives I have to look forward to I'm academia after listing the positives I had in industry. This is about to be a very naive list of things, so maybe in a few years I'll revisit with a series of edits about how much of a mistake I made....

Here goes!

1. I'm super pumped about the students. Mentoring grads and undergrads will be a lot of fun. 

2. Working on my own stuff. I've got ideas flying through my brain all the time. Having a lab where I can actually apply these ideas, even if they won't result in a profit, is going to be a blast!  I got to work on a lot of my own stuff in industry, but there were always a few projects where some board member came to my group directly and forced us to spend half of our time on some business-critical project.

3. I won't report to anyone! I can't stress how great this will be. I don't want to worry about making sure that some guy that's just trying to climb the corporate ladder gets his data to present to more guys trying to climb the ladder. I want to go in and out when I want. I didn't appreciate this freedom when I had it in grad school, but I'll appreciate it now!

4. Being around students. I'm not just talking about mentoring them. I'm convinced that being around young people keeps you young. I notice I'm sharper when the people around me are energetic. I'm really looking forward to that again. 

5. The college town. I'm moving from a very big city to a college town. I really like college towns because you get the diversity of things to do, food, people, etc of a big city, but the ease of driving and personalities of a smaller city. I love the sense of community that college towns have. I'll miss all the things to do, and experiencing the expanded cultural opportunities the big city offers, but I won't miss the commuting and cost if living. 

6. Being able to talk about what I'm working on. Things are very secretive in industry. One leaked secret could cost your company hundreds of millions of dollars. So I could never talk about my stuff even though it's all really badass and deserves to be talked about. I'm going to talk about my stuff with anyone that will listen!

7. Outfitting my lab. I did this in my current lab, but I picked things that would be needed to get my company's work up and running. I'm looking forward to buying my own computer and equipment that best serve the research I'm interested in. 

8. Public outreach. Universities love putting research in the forefront. I was interviewed by media and donors in grad school several times about my research. Like #6, I'm looking forward to being part of a community and putting my research out into the world. 

-----------------------------------------------

As my time in industry has come to a close, I've been riding the emotional roller coaster. It's been a crazy few years. I'm leaving behind a group that I led to a lot of great things, but my number 2 is taking charge and she'll be awesome (and she'll hopefully throw some research money my way).  

I've left behind a bunch of friends again (leaving behind friends when I left grad school was insanely emotional), and I've been crying a lot, and I can't help but wonder if I'm making the correct decision. I've noticed that with each move I feel more and more alone because I'm stuck trying to make new friends again. 

But I think it will all be worth it.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things I'll miss about industry

Do you want to be vastly overpaid after your PhD?!

Do you wish you could just work on projects without begging national agencies for money?!

Do you want crazy discounts on all sorts of personal purchases?!

Would you like a practically unlimited budget to do your research?!

Then maybe industry's right for you! 

----------------------------------

I complain about the problems in industry, but there are all kinds of perks. Especially if you have a PhD. Starting my academic job will undoubtably change my life. My lifestyle will remain similar as my spouse and I live our lives as though we pull in $60k/year in a major (very costly) metro. We're pretty frugal. The rest of the money goes into savings and donations. It will change my life for other reasons. Mainly, I want to work on my own stuff without justifying that it will make profit, want to mentor students, and I want to make my own schedule. Obviously, I haven't experienced faculty-stress yet; so I may change my tune (or tune-ure...that's a tenure joke :) ). 

I know that as I continue this blog (well, a linked blog with my same name) I know I will chronicle the good and bad of the industry-academia switch. In my past posts I think I focused mainly on the bad of my industry work so I thought I'd list the things I enjoyed.

Things I'll really miss about industry:

1. Unlimited budget.  My budget is practically unlimited; pushing $300,000/month nonsalary, just supplies. I've purchased $30,000 worth of disposable parts on a whim on my corporate credit card in a single purchase with no one batting an eye. I've been able to buy cool technologies that end up having no use after the first cool novelty factor. I don't think I'll ever be on the cutting edge of consumer products like this again unless I strike it rich.  I'm really going to miss my corporate credit card.

2.  Travel and amenities. I get to talk with brilliant people all over the world. And while I'm traveling, I get to fly first or business class everywhere, and put expensive wine and food on my corporate credit card due to my $300/day food per diem. The hotels are top-notch with views of oceans or the Eiffel Tower. 

3.  Peers.  I work with mostly people around my age. My peers. So there ends up being more of a friend-like relationship. When I'm gone, I know I'll still talk to a few of these people and visit if I'm in town. I'm going to miss these friends. And from what I hear, faculty members don't usually hang out together outside of work.

4.  Income. I've said it before. I make double what my old advisor (a moderately successful associate prof at a major R1) makes in base salary. Tack on my 15% bonus, and I'm living pretty comfortably.

5.  Discounts.  This mainly qualifies if you work for a large entity. I get very big discounts on cell phones and the bill, insurance, realty, cars, home improvement, electronics, exercise equipment, parking at the airport, admission to all kinds of attractions, and other smaller things.  It's crazy since these discounts saved me around $12,000 last year.

6.  Physicians and collaborators. Whenever I need help with something I pick up the phone and help is provided. Whether I'm putting together a device outside of my expertise or need a physician to try my device on a dog or pig, it's so easy. This is mainly because we pay these collaborators huge sums of money, but I remember how difficult it was to get physician collaborators to do anything for us in academia before. Having anyone I need at my fingertips will be missed. 

7.  My lab. I put $15 million into making the perfect lab. Every desk, office, and lab station was customized down to the lip on the counter. It's perfect. I know I won't have a blank check when I start at University of Phindustry, and I'll be given whatever lab space the university has laying around. 

8.  Impact. Talk to 99.99% of those doing medical research in academia, and they will tell you they work on Crazydisease. You ask for details and they say they're trying to better understand Obscureprotein or they are making Cooldevicetotreatordiagnose. In actuality, they don't directly touch patients, and probably never will in academia.  I said my research was clinically relevant in grad school and have heard nearly every biomedical researcher in academia say it (I know some will say that basic and cutting-edge research lays the foundation for applied. I agree, but when industry people see these project most people say they're useless, and will never be useful in the clinic. Every academic lab I've visited saying they have a cool technology turned out to be absolutely useless and a waste of my time to fly out and see it.  But I digress.). In industry I've directly touched more patients and saved more lives with my medical devices in just a few years than I will with direct impact throughout the rest of my academic career. There's instant impact because we don't make profit otherwise in industry. I know there is indirect patient impact in academia, but most focus on pushing the knowledge of the human race. Important, just not as directly applicable. I will miss the direct-impact I have had and could have had on thousands of patients and their families.

9.  The people that care.  I would not have lasted that long if the people in my group and my boss don't care about patients.  This is by far the most important things to them.  I fear I will never see this kind of passion again, and I feel confident that these people will be taking care of our healthcare future.

There are a couple smaller things, but these are the big ones. Leaving industry is quite emotional for me, not just because of the move from friends and great work, but because it's a part of me.  It changed me as a scingineer.  My time in industry, just like my time in every job I've had so far has molded me professionally and personally into who I am today.  If I switched to another industry job, I wouldn't be as emotional, but this is a major shift to my life. I'm incredibly anxious, but I've never been so excited for anything in my life (including my wedding! Sorry, Spouse)!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I moved...

The last few months have been a little stressful.  During the week I was putting in 12-16 hour days and on the weekends I was flying to my new lab. Or I would work on the weekend so I could take some time during the week to do a recruiting event, meet with a student, talk to a collaborator, etc. It's been an insane few months capped by eventually moving my life to my new city. My spouse told me to just hand off tasks and be done, but my thought is leaving a good taste will only increase the possibility of my old company wanting to fund my new research. In the past months I've had a ton of post ideas I've written down and I do plan to post them soon since life is beginning to calm ever so slightly. There's this quote used in House of Cards about the wind blowing the hardest the closer to the top you climb. I feel like I summited. Left with my name not sullied or damaged. But it's kind of a false summit (hikers out there know what I'm talking about) because I see this new mountain and at the top the flag looks like it says "tenure" but my visibility in these goggles is pretty bad.  

I plan to have two more posts related to what I'll miss about industry and look forward to in academics and start up a new blog. I'll keep my name: 1. Because I'm lazy and 2. Because my industry experience has shapes me more than anything I've done so far. Students are already lining up asking me everything they can about successful in a medical engineering field and they all talk about how they're so excited to have someone that's "made things inside of people".  

This move has been absolutely crazy: finding a renter (we don't want to sell yet), packing all of our crap, hiring new people in my old group, planning out budgets, transitioning knowledge and planning to the new guard, buying a house, moving everything, and a ton of smaller things that add up.  And there are plenty of stories to tell. You'll be seeing a few last posts and I'll talk about my new digs in the upcoming week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tough week (update to the trolls that emailed me)

I made a post a little while ago about having a bad week because of a device of mine that killed some patients during a humanitarian-use situation for patients that would die shortly without this hail-Mary of an intervention.

Update:
I normally don't respond to trolls, but I thought I would say a little something about why I feel bad.

I got a few emails about why I would feel bad when other people are dying.  That I should be punished for producing something that has killed people (directly or indirectly).  Here's the thing about humanitarian devices: these people have no other options.  In my past experience with this type of study about half of people end up recovering from a disease which they had no chance against.  I feel good because they can finally leave the hospital after months or years of constantly being there, but also because I can add something to my short list of great things I've accomplished.  This most recent device was their only chance outside of a miraculous multi-organ transplant or a Dollhouse-ian transfer of minds.  I obviously feel bad because someone died because of my device, but I also feel bad because I failed at something; also, future people that needed this type of operation definitely don't stand a chance now.

So fuck you if you've been emailing me saying I'm selfish.  I can feel bad for lots of reasons, and you don't get to pick the reasons why.

Regarding the emails I made about less relevance in academics in the medical field: I'm still correct.  I don't feel like having this argument.

There's a reason I disabled comments for that post.  Ugh.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Getting yelled at

Why do I always start breaking into a smile when someone yells at me at work?  I don't know if it's a coping mechanism, but I'm glad I do it.  Because I almost always joke about it with friends and colleagues afterwards.  Gives us something to joke about.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tough week

Like most humans, I live through disappointment on occasion in my life.  When I was looking for a faculty job, every email or phone call rejecting me hurt me pretty bad.  In my personal life, an argument with a friend cuts into me pretty deep.  I can only put on the facade of a happy-go-lucky person so much.  Luckily, I have a pretty good support network to pull me through these kinds of things.  I highly recommend you have a good network for when life diverts one way or another.  It's better than any drug, vice, or otherwise.  But this week a few personal and professional things cut kind of deep.  This post doesn't have any insight, advice, or whatever, and I was thinking about not publishing it, but I hate letting words go to waste, sooooooo........

This part week I started a study overseas introducing a 'humanitarian-use' type of device.  This was for patients with no other option; so it gives us data on the device while giving people a chance.  I recognize that some patients will have complications with therapies I have developed, but I rationalize it with the fact that lots more will live and often have much better lives.  The good greatly outweighs the bad.  And when I heard about someone losing their life because of a complication I had a strong leadership team above me, and great friends around me, to help me stay strong.  

For the past week I've been coping with a 0% survival from this device.  A major unforeseen problem that even physicians had no idea was coming.  From past experience it takes time to dull things that happen like this.  The first thing I thought of after getting to the airport was that I really can't wait to get into academics so my work will not (directly) enter the clinic.  I won't have an impact on patients directly.  Sure, my research is very translational, but I can't help but think that I'll never have to experience something like this again.  My biggest beef with academics in the medical devices field is they claim to know devices, design, medical science, and engineering well, but most have never actually had a direct impact on patients or designed a devices used by a physician.  Nearly every engineering class I took has been useless in designing medical devices.  My background in physics, on the other hand, is something I use every day.  But I'm pretty okay with this trade-off.  My beef with academic research is warranted to disconnect myself.  I'm now a little more okay with being disconnected from clinical work.  The more disconnected I am from real medical device design, the less likely I'll be to deal with this kind of pain.

The CTO of my company was on the flight next to me and could tell that I was hit hard.  This is my first real failure here.  I've had failures, but with far less impactful ramifications.  He told me something like, "Suck it up.  These are the things that happen on the cutting edge. You will always be disappointed at some point.  The key is not to drown it, but reflect on it.  Remember the good, identify what needs to be changed, and be grateful for where you're at."  I responded with, "I'll try".  Then slept for 12 straight hours.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Admissions Committee

While I have yet to start at my new school I've been flying out every once in a while to get involved with my soon-to-be school.  My most recent trip was for an admissions committee.  I'm trying to get an insiders perspective o the incoming class to see who I can recruit.  I had no idea how much schools are trying to expand diversity.  It seemed that every candidate had a 'diversity' category the school is trying to satisfy.  I'm okay with making some concessions for a candidate with weaker credentials because they're in a unique demographic, but their cultural backgrounds seemed to matter more than anything else.  Crazy.

I feel very strongly about diversity.  People come from backgrounds that aren't conducive to going to the best schools and having the best GPAs, and in the STEMs we have more problems than people.  Bringing in some diversity allows us to bring in more atypical students.  I am just so freaking surprised how much it matters.  I was able to get two students through the admissions process that no one else wanted: one male, one female....both white.  But I'll be the only faculty member with my specific specialty, and these two's research interest are right in line with mine.  So I'm hoping to get them into my lab.  I've already reached out to them.

The other faculty members were a little upset with me since there's only so much RA/TA money to go around and they would rather spend it on key demographics.  The girl falls in to this; the guy doesn't.  It was a surprisingly heated meeting.  And I don't think they expected me to speak up as much as I did, so I'm certain that combined with some of my comments really rubbed people the wrong way.  When I come in I'm thinking of bringing some doughnuts, bourbon, and weed.  Might loosen some of these people up.

I had this same issue when I first started in industry: people really not caring about my opinion.  It took some harsh comments and alpha-dog tactics to get people to respect me and my opinion.  I'm certain I'm going to have to repeat this process, and I'm not really looking forward to that.  I'm still trying to determine whether to be the really nice person (as I usually approach most problems with), or the hardass (as I approach the most caustic of situations with).  To be honest, I have more fun being the hardass.

As an aside, I'm been watching The Americans.  I freaking love this show.  Unrelated point to the post, but I feel like me getting into academic is kind of like the KGB couple in America.  Trying to belong, but still in my industry mindset.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting scooped in the same company

Like most corporations, we highly value innovation.  When I originally proposed my group idea to upper-management they weren’t interested until I mentioned that we could crank out a ton of patents without a lot of time-investment.  My group would be the grand creators.  They suddenly got on-board and it’s been a great decision because the four of us have been responsible for a plethora of live-saving products.  On top of that we get 10 patents to every 1 outside of the group.  The patents are cool because 1. I get a plaque, and 2. I get $4000 for every patent awarded.  Now, compensation in group goes like this: base salary, fringe (insurance, retirement matching, etc.), yearly bonus (~15% of base salary), independent awards (between $250 and $30000), patent bonuses (between $500 and $4000), miscellaneous bonuses (gym memberships, cell phone, etc.).  A lot of our yearly bonuses, independent awards, and patent bonuses rely on an internal competition.  If you separate yourself and rise above the others you get all the accolades and the $weet $weet cash money.  This breeds competition.

Because this breeds competition people steal ideas all the time.  Within our group the ideas are safe and we’re all on each other’s patents.  The group that takes the idea to a real working medical device gets the glory eventually but all the early glory heads to the people on the patents.  So each group keeps what they’re working on pretty secretive to keep other groups from getting ahold of it.  In grad school I remember doing the same thing.  But a little information would leak out or like minds would work on similar things and another group would publish.  In academics I kind of saw it as a good thing: it meant we were working on something important.  Though it also diminished the impact factor of our target journal.

In industry, my group has to present for the CEO or maybe a physician interested in our devices pretty frequently.  They, thinking it’s okay to share information within the same company (but not realizing the petty competition), share our device or idea.  Then the other group runs with it, submits an inferior patent, and they get it.  Lame. 

Our group recently got scooped by a group that we call “the nut sacks”…can’t remember how they got that name, but we do not have confidence in their abilities to create medical devices.  We traced the leak back to an intern I hired that leaked a small part of the product. The nut sacks aren’t even pursuing it as a device to prototype.  They’re just wanting to scoop us and patent-block.  Those of you thinking scooping doesn’t happen outside of the ivory tower: it’s here and in full force.  I thought for sure this wouldn't happen when leaving academia....you know.....common goals.  Time to just batten down the hatches.



Friday, January 30, 2015

My terrifying interview

Turns out this is the season for interviewing so another post on the application/interview process: So one of my friends mentioned an interview that she had for a faculty position that was very stressful and it made me recall my worst faculty interview.  The faculty members threw around their weight.  Tried to beat her down verbally, and made the program unappealing from a friendliness standpoint.

My situation was at a very big school and they asked for three presentations all over the same day.  This was a 7am-8pm day.  The presentations were a research talk, teaching and research interests, and then a lecture.  The lecture was covering a topic that I had taken a class on over a decade ago and a topic that isn’t really used outside of the classroom.

I showed up and immediately had a discussion with the department head.  After this, he took me over to the room to give me research talk.  There were a ton of questions.  I loved this!  I love answering questions and getting feedback so this was awesome.  My teaching and research interests went over okay, but then the lecture came up.  Again, this is a topic, that when I took it, that I got an A in.  Top of the class. But a decade later and with only a few days to prepare, I wasn’t coming in at the peak of my knowledge.  The lecture started off well and then about 15 minutes in, things started to fall apart.  I was asked questions I couldn’t answer.  They wanted this lecture to test my knowledge of this narrow topic that I definitely didn’t remember.  So I answered as best as I could while they pretended to be na├»ve students.  I was sweating hard.  I couldn’t hold it together, but somehow persevered and made it through the class.  I could tell I was discombobulated by the end and not of the proper mindset. 

I’m normally really personable, great conversation, not a bad face to look at, but I was really really off after this.  I felt like they were talking down to me for the rest of the day including the dinner.  Afterwards, one person said it was because I’m more applied and make more money, but I brushed it off as a just a comment trying to relax me. 


What’s funny is that I already came in with a job offer and this was just a backup.  I don’t know why I was sweating so hard.  I looked up the school recently and saw they hired someone I know that I enjoy the company of, so I’m glad I wasn’t their pick.  But holy crap.  We get it: you’re smart about this topic, maybe you should be smart about your human interactions and you wouldn’t be a lonely man with nothing but your right hand to come home to.  Sorry, that was uncalled for.  But remembering back to that situation gets me in a bad mood.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A friend's academic journey

It's crazy to think that a year ago I was interviewing for faculty positions. Time really does fly when you're terrified of what the future holds.

A friend from my National Lab days after my MS went to industry after his PhD and now he's applying for positions in a similar field to mine (this is his 2nd application cycle). I helped him with his applications but I still have no idea what committee members look for. He's only applied for 3 schools this since he's very particular about where he lives. And he's said that this is his last year. Otherwise, he'll just stay with the company he works for forever. This will be more monetarily beneficial but he says he isn't stimulated.  Now, I don't view him as a spectacular researcher, though he does have great pubs and he went to a top-10 school for his BS, MS, and PhD.  One big thing is how his students react when I ask about him.  THEY LOVE HIM!!!

They have mentioned how he is the sole reason for keeping in the field.  He clearly cares about students; much more than most profs I've talked to.  He's far from selfish and can truly inspire students while getting some cool results out.  I guess a lot of profs have fed back to him that he doesn't have enough academic interbreeding....that he went to the same school (though a great one) for all his degrees.  He needed to stay close to home for family reasons...his dad was very sick and died which he was in grad school.   I never heard of academic interbreeding before this.  And I kind of wish I wouldn't have.  Now I'm wondering if when I get to be on search committees if I'll pass judgment on this simple metric.  This is someone that really cares and if you feel the main job of a professor is to educate, then he's perfect.  I told him to look at maybe some R2s that wouldn't care and maybe make his way up.  His schools are better than mine, but wasn't able to change schools because he took care of his dad.  So his career is forever tainted.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear NPR, please don't become Discovery Channel

I used to love the Discovery Channel.  I watched it as a kid and started watching it even more when Mike Rowe came in with Dirty Jobs and the Adam and Jamie showed up with the Mythbusters.  While I don't necessarily agree with everything the MB do, I appreciate how they get the younger ones interested in science and engineering.  That being said, I wish someone would teach them statistics....among other things.  My heart really lies with Dirty Jobs though.  Mike Rowe's personality mixed with the content makes it one of my favorite shows.

When I saw that Dirty Jobs was cancelled it broke my heart, but to me it signalled something different: Discovery Channel needs to fill this massively great show.  They have been filling it with basically the TV show equivalent of click-bait: horrible shows to get viewers one time.  The network it not good now, and that upsets me.  Once the network figured out a recipe that works: crazy experiments and explosions with a dash of bad science equals ratings.  They've been taking a a quantity over quality tactic.  I'm concerned that they'll just creating more and more shows therefore diluting the brand.

NPR has been coming out with a lot of shows lately.  I hear about a new podcast roughly every single week.  And so far, I've been liking it: Snap Judgment is a relatively newer show that I love, and Serial exploded with popularity.  It seems like every few months though, my favorite podcasts like Radio Lab and This American Life are plugging newer shows on NPR.  So far, they've been interesting; I just ask you, NPR, PRI, or whatever, to make sure the quality of your flagship shows don't get diluted with newer shows.  I don't suspect it will happen, I just worry a lot about my entertainment.  Unrelated to anything academic or industry....just a quick thought since I've been listening to a lot of podcasts in my travels.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The new house

Happy New Year!

As soon as I accepted an offer from the new school I started looking at houses and talking with people.  I wanted to find a good neighborhood: close to stuff but quiet.  It took my 9 months to find my current dwelling, so I figured it would take me longer to find my new one.  Turns out it’s waaaaaaaaaay cheaper to live in my new city, so I found it in 3 months and about 5 visits between myself and my spouse.

Finding my current place was a long process because I live one of many markets that’s expensive and hot (not unlike me).  I wanted something very specific and the architecture of the area combined with cost and safety made it tough to find exactly what I desired.  Every time I found exactly what I wanted, someone scooped me.  On my first visit to my new city I found three houses and checked them all out.  None of these were really what I wanted.  Then my spouse went out and looked at about 10 over a few days.  I came back out to look at the top three and we had found the one we wanted.  We put in an offer about 5% below asking and got it. I especially like it because it’s almost turn-key.  So are renting it out for this semester and next, then in May we’re starting to rip parts out the house and replace.  Plans are that it should be ready by the end of the semester just in time for us to move in.

I have to say that we’re a little worried about renting it out to students but that’s the advantage of ripping the house apart when the semester is done…it almost doesn’t matter what they do.  On top of this the neighbors will be thanking the Lord when we move in because we would be replacing the rowdy college kids.  It’s kind of like giving someone REALLY bad news before giving them kind-of bad news.

I’m really pumped about the move (though we haven’t yet put our current place on the market) as I can already see having friends over, how I want it arranged, and having students over a couple times a semester for lab celebrations.  On that note: my advisor would have the occasional get-together at his place, but I noticed other advisors would just take their students out.  In our lab the get-togethers weren’t related to a lab event like when someone finished their PhD.  It was just a random Spring or Winter one.  I’m fine with that, though I plan on celebrating their achievements.  Unless they don’t want that.  What if they would prefer not to celebrate with their boss?  What if they wreck up my house because they actually secretly hate me?  Actually, I have no idea what I’ll do.  It’s too bad there isn’t an “Advising for dummies”...kind of like those parenting books.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The lost art of Winter Break

When I was a kid (including being a teenager) I have very fond memories of leaving school on the last day of the Fall semester and going home with nothing to do.  I had chores and an easy department store job (when I turned 16), but for the most part I was free.  A few weeks with no real responsibilities.  I would hang out with friends all the time, sleep in, exercise, read.  It was awesome.  In grad school my university shut down for winter break (no heating means I’m not coming in).  I would plan it so I didn’t have any wet-lab for the shutdown.  So I would still have a relative amount of freedom.  I would still work during break, but it still felt pretty relaxing.  Even when I would go on a ski vacation, I would still be plugging away on my laptop, but I still felt relaxed knowing that I didn’t have to go in for a few weeks.  Since coming to industry, I work up until the 23rd and take off until the 27th.  And it’s just family time during that period which I’m not fond of.  So I don’t feel relaxed at all during this time.  This is combined with the end-of-the-year push my group has become known for.  We usually complete 10 animal studies in the last two months each year.  This is because we know every other group is slowing down, but yet patients don’t seem to magically get better during the holidays.  This is on top of very selfish reasons: bonuses for the preceding year get locked in the first week of January.  And a lot of it is making lists of what we’ve done throughout the year, but there’s always a “what have you done for me lately? (thanks Janet)” undertone.  This is partly why my group gets the biggest bonuses in the company.

In grad school my advisor took off the entire break with no way to get ahold of him.  He said he was taking vacation and working.  I would freaking love to take a few weeks off to work at my own pace.  There would probably be the week of familial obligation then I would have 2 weeks of relative peace.  I understand I’m going to have to be preparing for the next semester of teaching, research, etc. but not being under such hard deadlines will bring the blood pressure down a few mmHg.  The holidays have become far less enjoyable because of this.  So I propose this: a nationally sanctioned Winter Break.  Everyone gets 2.5 weeks off to spend time with/away from family.  Leadership is forced to delay deadlines.  Obviously, critical jobs like doctors (real ones), police, firemen, etc. wouldn’t be able to really take the time off, but there could be another incentive.  I don’t know what, but I’m sure there’s something out there.  I just really miss having a long winter break without feeling guilty about it.  I sometimes wish there was a pill I could take to just get rid of my guilt….though that could have some REALLY bad consequences.


With that, here’s to the new year, I hope you all have a great Christmas (or tail end of Hanukkah)!  My academic peeps out there: use this time to take in some fresh air and see your town, while trying your best to avoid bugging your students about their projects.  Cheers!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Frequent flyer report 2014

I hate ignoring the blogosphere, but every time I see a light at the end of the work-life tunnel a contractor adds some extra segments to the tunnel.  I never remember being this busy ever.  I love having stuff to do, but I freaking hate being busy.  I don’t want to complain, but I feel a complaint-post creeping up my back.  I’ll try to stomp it down. 

I’m doing some year-end accounting for all the travel I’ve done this year to make sure I didn’t miss any expenses I can put on this year’s budget.  Business travel is different than I remember my academic travels to be.  In academia I would talk to the department’s coordinator to schedule travel, then book and track every last receipt along the way.  Then submit a long report and get money back.  On the corporate side, I buy all travel (plane, hotel, car) with my corporate card, pay for everything along the way with the card, then go online at the end of the month and say what the travel was all for (no receipts).  Going online to check the statement is also when I put in miles (like to the airport) or out-of-pocket expenses to get reimbursed for.  This means I have to have notes on every last expense and all the locales I've been to lately.  And this means I can start counting my trips.

As I’m reviewing all of this, I realized it would be interesting to put up some numbers about this past year.  So here we go:

Total number of cities I’ve been in for more than a night*: 36 (I thought it was fewer cities)
Number of countries that represents**: 10
Number of airports: 26
Number of cities that had repeat visits within the same year: 16
Number of cities for vacation: 8 (wow, I slacked off this year)
Number of cities with both vacation and work travel overlap: 3
Number of work cities classified as conference travel: 4
Number of cities for upcoming academic transition and past interviews: 7
Number of academic-related trips: 13
Total number of trips***: 70

*Major metros count as one city.  ie, not counting Queens and Brooklyn, or Los Angeles and Santa Monica as two separate cities.
**The USA is included in this count, as are separate countries that are part of the United Kingdom
***Rounded.  I can’t remember every last road trip.  Road trip counted if city is more than 2 hours away

My summer was quite light on the travel, but things blew up after the summer was over.  There were a couple months where I slept more in hotels and flights that my comfy bed.  Though, I’m really glad because I’ve reached super-high status in all my frequent flyer clubs.  I’ve been getting upgraded on personal flights to first class nonstop while also getting access to all the lounges and free meals.  Even though I’m experiencing the meals in a daze where even my watch hands have trouble catching up.  I’ll be going to my spouse’s family in a couple weeks for the holiday.  Visiting family feels more like work than work does, so I’m trying to arrange some R&R (instead of R&D) for January.  But if nothing else, I know that I’ll be taking two months off before the move to my new university.  I can’t wait. 


One kind of weird thing about all of this travel is that I don’t feel extra busy because the work is pretty cut-and-dry, I just feel taxed because I can’t sleep the way I want.  Business class has fold-down seating, but it’s still not my bed with my blankets and the smell of my fabric softener.  This travel is simply a time-sink, I don’t really feel stressed because of it.  I talked to an old mentee and she asked about the traveling and she beamed because she said she likes to travel.  My comment was something like, “traveling to Cancun with your friends is different from traveling by yourself to random destinations for testing”.  Knowing which terminals in airports throughout the world have the best restrooms and food is information I prefer to erase.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bad software!

I love computers (I'm including smartphones). People will complain about them because they're difficult to use, slow, etc., but I love them unconditionally.  I'm like the smartphone's dog.  It's one of the few unconditional loves in my life.

Lately though, software developers have been starting to irritate me. I don't want to blame computers for the issues, since it's the software developer's fault but the computer is the only thing here to blame. Here's what's going on:

1.  I have 3 computers for various tasks running Ubuntu, Windows, and Mac OS. In the analysis software I run with Ubuntu, when I use more than 14 GB of RAM (I know, I should switch to VRAM...I'm working on it) I get some matrices with zeros in bad spots and end up with some unstable analyses. I scale back the analysis to 13 GB an allow it to use the hard drive as temporary space and suddenly the analysis works. In Windows....everything bad happens. In Mac OS everything has been slower even though I haven't changed the software except for updates. 

2.  I used a cloud service for my phone that has decided lately to randomly not sync my contacts or photos. I've lost some great photos lately.   It's been laggy at times, and also dropping signal at weird times. 

3.  I play video games (3 brothers=mandatory video game playing) and a few games have come out the past couple years which have horrible network connectivity, glitches all over the place, and software holes that ruin the game for some players. 

Yes,the common factor across all of this is me, but I've been using this type of software since 2011 with no issues whatsoever. Why lately, has all this software come crashing down around me?  Am I getting old and there's a rule against old people using software?  My guess is that software developers are lazier.

My company has software modules for some of our medical devices.  And we have deadlines just as tight as the rest of the software industry with software that I feel is much more complicated aside from the fact that if our software goes bad we kill someone.  We don't settle for barely working buggy software, so I hold everyone else to the same standard.  I understand alpha and beta releases will have bugs, but fully released and sold software should only have very minor bugs.  My theory for this is that the internet is to blame.

Once most software studios realized they could just push updates to fix bugs and people would still buy their stuff they started shortening deadlines.  They were okay with the "we'll release and fix it later mentality".  What if the medical field, car manufacturers, and house builders did this?  They would be screwed.  Perhaps I'm jealous that the software people get to make craploads of money with inferior products, but as a consumer I spent my (sometimes) hard-earned money and I want something that freaking works!  Why not have some pride in your work, put in the extra hours and release something I can use out of the package?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's happening? (Don't worry it's all good)

I realized that I haven't been really taking part in the blogging community. To answer those who've emailed: everything is good. Sorry I've been vacant. I know you come here when you want useless news and sarcasm. And I've disappointed you.

So a few things have happened recently:

1. Gave a talk at soon-to-be-employer. I treated it like a recruiting/get-to-know me talk. This talk was attended by someone from another school, who then asked me to give two talks: one at his school and one at a conference. I agreed to both and requested vacation time at work to do so. By the way, I'm going to be soooooooooo ducking [sic] glad when I get to take off without asking for permission. Anyways, this took up some of my time and I think that the experience will make for a good post. So look out for that. It's funny how I could barely get any interest from schools when I was looking for a job and now several places want me to give talks.....about my industry work.

Taking the time off came at a bad time. A new medical device of mine I've been working on is reaching full prototype level and that means I have to test the crap out of it. This has required a ton of travel and testing...while also trying to balance the unpaid academic duties.  The travel had been so busy to the point where I do a study, have to process data on the plane while traveling to the next place, then process that data on a plane to present the results. Then rinse and repeat. Actually...no rinsing. Just repeating. I've slept in hotels more than my home the past few months and I've slept on a plane for more than hotels for the past few weeks.

In addition, I've been on a few outreach panels and helped out in some youth STEM stuff when I can.

Finally, I've got a house in the new city (I'll talk more about that too soon). Been a packed up couple months. This has all been on top of me getting a new phone I have to figure out. I've found a decent blogging app but it's not quite everything I want. Mainly, I want an app that's easy to use, do offline stuff with, and keep separate from my personal Google account so I can maintain some anonymity. Any of you have advice?

So that's what's been happening. I'm not going to ramp up to the old frequency of posting yet since I plan to first catch up of reading all the posts I've missed.

-------------------------------

An old coadvisor keeps asking me when I will start the faculty work. He wants to collaborate NOW! I haven't answered yet because doesn't it look bad for tenure and grants if you're teaming up with old advisors? He has said he's tired of crappy students that take forever to get their work done. This comment made me think "how do you know my first year student will be any better than your 4th year?". Then I realized that he's implying that I will be doing it. Not sure how to approach this. I know that if my main advisor asked me to do this work I'd politely tell him to fuck off but I really like this other advisor.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OMG! I've been blogging for a year!

I created this blog as an outlet for myself and as a way for anyone interested to see how things are in industry, the progress of an academic pursuit, and miscellaneous other musings. I've 'met' cool people and gotten advice while giving out a couple tidbits.

I never thought I would have so much fun blogging, but it's been a super blast!  I had a shitty hang-up taking things down for a while, and I honestly thought I would be writing for years in the blog before getting a faculty job.   Now that I have one, it's crazy to think my journey started a year ago.  And looking at old posts, it really brings back memories, good and bad.  I'll eventually be transitioning to a new blog covering the academic switch (title TBA...but I'll try to make it funny) :), but I will look forward to looking back at this blog.

Thanks again for reading!  I've had a blast!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Scientific feasibility

I hate dealing with manufacturing and sacrificing innovation for quick development.  This is one of the biggest trade-offs I've had to deal with in industry.  Every time this comes up I think more and more about how much I hate it.  And my group doesn't deal with manufacturing that much.  We develop crazy medical devices and do crazy studies then other groups worry about how to take our devices to the next level.  But because I work for a company that has to make profit, I inevitably have to make sure the devices are grounded in reality.

This came up recently.  I came up with a crazy technology that I feel could really revolutionize the field, but it will take a year of scientific evaluation followed by a year of development.  This is much longer than our typical development cycles in my team.  And no one hear is willing to invest in the kind of core science I need to do.  Higher-ups are making me use rudimentary technology with a misunderstanding of the biology to get this done quickly.  I understand we need to make money.  And the faster we get things done the faster we'll get these devices in patients and make said money.  The problem is that for years I've been told, "That's a great idea.  Let's save that for the next generation."  But we never do.  Leadership just keeps pushing it through.  And we end up doing the most basic of feasibility studies on a device that could have been much better.  We need the best possible core knowledge and technologies if we're going to solve healthcare's most difficult problems.  Even if it takes an extra year.

This is one of the key differences in academia I can't wait to get involved with again.  I am really looking forward to doing core science, then creating the best technology possible regardless of how far off it is.  What's weird in all of this is that leadership is excited about giving my new lab money to pursue these core science and far-off technology ideas.  They just don't like funding their own labs to do this stuff.  I guarantee my current group would do this science and development much faster than my academic group will.  And probably for cheaper.  So why can't industry do more on the science and feasibility side.  Talking to lots of friends (I'm popular!!!!) in the field, they all have jobs that involve having to design devices for manufacturablility and quick turnarounds.  They don't mind, but whenever they hear about my group they're always amazed at the level of science and R&D we do...taking designs to feasibility then letting other groups handle the details.  This apparently is rare in most of the industry.  In most groups, if you designed it, you will inevitably take it to the next level.  I would hate to do this, especially since I want to regress even further,  working on tons of core science and devices that are ugly and take forever to design, but they do the job in new ways.  Seriously, I can't effectively describe how excited I am about getting more back to (translational) basics.  And every time I deal with people outside of my groups it makes me want to start my new position even more.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Progress today=0

Sometimes I don't feel like doing anything all day when I show up to work. It's not that I'm not challenged or engaged, I just feel lazy sometimes. I surf the net, read blogs, watch videos, have fun with coworkers, and listen to some music. I basically screw off the whole day. My boss is never around (he's in a different city) and even if he were around he knows that we get stuff done so he wouldn't care.  This happened today.

I leave the day refreshed, though a little guilty. Partly because patients need these devices, but also because I felt I stole money from my company.  I did a post a while back where I talk about my Very Laid Back Days.  There is the ultra rare day where I don't do shit.  I remember this was nonexistent during my grad school days.  And I was wondering why and came up with a couple reasons:

1.  I was on public money and felt guilty for cheating the public.

2.  I was working for myself and felt more pride and dedication because of it.

3.  I shared an office with grad students and wanted to give the impression that I'm a hard worker.

4.  My advisor was always asking for results.

5.  The leprechaun under my desk that kept on hounding me.

The last one only appeared when I was loopy after working too much.  Honestly, I don't know if any of these worked to keep me honest, but there was the ultra rare day where I screwed off all day.  And I don't seem to remember feeling guilty.  Why do I feel guilty now, then?  After such a great day, I should feel awesome.  This is why I think I feel guilty:

1.  I have my team depending on me.

2.  I have patients depending on me.

3.  I get paid a lot.

Even after listing these reasons I still don't know why I feel guilty.  Guess I'll just have to work extra hard tomorrow to work all this guilt out of my body.  Damnit.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What to do with my free time?

Like most overly dedicated grad students I worked all holidays except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I switched off when I left work for the most part but occasionally I still had to pull out my computer to run a little code or do some emails or writing outside of work.  This was on top of very long work hours at the lab. This happened for a little over 4 years. And I definitely wouldn't have been as productive otherwise. Our lab was definitely split into the 'overworkers' (OWs) and 'barelyworkers' (BWs) categories. The OWs graduated on time or early with a job offer in-hand. The BWs hit the 7 year mark and are gently pushed out with no more than a postdoc in-hand from the lab they're graduating from. So I don't regret having spent that much time working. Especially since I love doing what I do. 

Since leaving academia, I didn't want to spend all my time at the lab anymore. So I don't work outside of work; even for emails.  The only drawback is that I try and get all my work done at work (even if it takes 16 hours/day).  So now I have weekends and holidays free, plus my average schedule isn't as bad as when in grad school.  I even take vacations now. Gasp! And I find myself looking for stuff to do. I have plenty of hobbies, but I got used to doing them at such weird times and intervals that even after years of being outside of academia I find myself looking for stuff to do. I go exploring in my city a lot, started writing a blog, dedicate more time to family and friends, play music, etc, but I still sometimes just find myself sitting around thinking of what to do. I've been able to finish more books, but I can only read so much before getting tired.

I always thought I could retire and never be hurting to find things to do because I could never find time for hobbies. But here I am trying to fill out my free time....albeit, this happens in the minority of my time.  I don't want to go back to my OW life, because gray hairs do not match my outfits.  This is, of course, only during the lulls. When things are blazing at work I find myself longing for hobby-time, when there's a lull I seek things to do. During these times I've picked up video gaming, Netflix binges, hanging out outdoors just thinking, napping, and reading books and scientific articles. I wish there was a safe medium, where I had just the right amount of time for hobbies, while never feeling like I have to try to find things to do.

This has become less of an issue the more I'm out of grad school, but I'm certain this is because when I first started working I had a lot more free time; as I get more responsibility I have less and less free time. But I can't seem to remember any transitions when I had the perfect amount of free time. I'm guessing it's around 50 hours/week working and maybe 20 hours/week for standard tasks (showering, cooking, cleaning, errands, etc).  But I don't think that's correct. Maybe that's the beauty of working for yourself: you know exactly how much free time you need and how successful you want your business to be.  As long as in not an OW or a BW, I'll be happy. Who says I can't be left or right leaning...just hanging out in the middle. 

Maybe I'll pick up a drug habit. That's what the media tells me teens do when they're bored, right?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Business talk and jargon

Double post day, wuttup!!!

Every field has specific jargon. The only ones that bug me are MIL/DoD acronyms and business talk. I'm talking phrases like  "upward mobility", "synergy", "paradigm", "vertical integration", etc. The DoD lives and breaths acronyms, but it doesn't bother me as much since I left that kind of work. 

And I can't escape it!  I think a big part of it is that I despise the type of people that use it, so correspondingly I don't like the lingo. It makes me very conscious of when people use those words, and I develop opinions of those people.  So I figure that others also develop these opinions. And because of this I try my absolute hardest not to use these terms like paradigm, leverage, etc.

This sucks because there are some situations where the use is legit. So I find myself bumbling for which words would convey the message but aren't on the MBA-list. So in the process of not trying to be typical-businessperson, I just end up looking like a bumbling idiot. 

What are your least favorite academic or business jargon (or is it jargons....shit I can't even get English correct, getting jargon(s) correct is hopeless)?

Will I learn to not hate my advisor?

I had a weird relationship with my advisor in grad school. Not THAT kind of weird, you prevert.  I came in when he was only two years into his assistant professorship, and proceeded to work on every project in the lab, build him new research devices for all his projects (especially those unrelated to my dissertation), write most sections of grants for him, and even secure my own funding. He trusted me and I took from him how to disseminate my research. That's the only thing I feel I learned from him. He had 8 students and 3 of us were expected to provide the world, while ther rest were never called upon to do anything out of their own research. 

I kind of enjoyed this because it gave me a little more diversity in my knowledge. But when it came time to work on my own stuff (which was so preliminary it wasn't ready for prime-time yet) he always pulled me off to work on more 'now' projects. I still graduated with plenty of time, and plenty of pubs. But I hated that we had to bend to his will and he a) wasn't grateful, and b) acted like he was doing us a favor. I'm hoping I will see things more from his perspective eventually, but talking to other grad students, their advisors were more grateful of their hard work (like having a lab dinner or celebration when they graduated...which we never got), cared whether they were really grasping the material, and generally nicer people. A lab mate was on the hospital for a month and our advisor didn't visit her once. When she came back he asked her if she had done any work while in bed. 

So all of these experiences has fostered a lot of resentment from a few of us; no more than myself. So as I'm preparing for setting up my lab, I'm soliciting advice and he never has time to talk with me for 10 minutes. Whereas if he needs something from me (like a medical device) for his research he always has time to call, ask for stuff, then hang up. 

I'm a pretty selfless person, and I'm very quick to respond to emails, missed calls, etc. I hate leaving people waiting without telling them why they're waiting. In my opinion it's a respect thing, and everyone should be treated with respect.  Part of this is because I'm impatient and get things done very quickly, and expect others to do the same.  Not to mention, when you are responsive with someone then think you're treating then with respect and they will be more responsive back...most of the time.  I don't work with people who are slow, flaky, or unresponsive.  But some people don't have the time management skills I've picked up working for a very fast-paced boss who also happens to be quite selfless. 

Talking with one of my former lab mates we were trying to wonder if we'd ever forgive our old advisor. I know my friend will never forgive him. My friend was academically focused prior to grad school and our advisor drove her into industry. She never wanted the possibility of running into him again. I was unsure whether I would ever like him.  I hope I do, because he's legitimately the only person I hate. And I hate that I hate someone. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Screw you, FDA

I was visiting a hospital a little while ago chatting with random people and someone who used to work for the FDA was there and talking with me about why he left. I won't go into why he left other than politics, not getting valuable experience, judging medical devices while he actually didn't have any experience in designing them, etc.  He's in the med device industry and we were whining about his former employer. Fun times. 

Then something came up today. A device that I've taken to two countries with tremendous success on terminal patients got outright rejected here in the US for really stupid reasons. The kind of reasons that seem to be a combination of politics and dumb reviewers. I know some of those at the FDA have experience in medical device design, but 90% of the comments are either: you need to prove this totally inert material is safe, or you need to do tons more animal studies. I can see how small companies have no damn chance to get their devices out to save lives since my GLP animals are $8k each. 

This device has already been proven safe in people in other countries and the beaurocracy really pisses me off. I would far prefer my tax dollars were spent on education and training people in universities in how real medical devices are actually designed, a better understanding of the diseases so disease-targetted devices are better judged, and better biomaterial sciences...actually just all better education. When patients are traveling to Euro to get a treatment because the FDA can't get their crap together, it breaks my heart.  The government is not helping its citizens here. The FDA is hurting them.  

I have a treatment that has been working for a while in Euro. It's my first treatment that has cured 100% with 0% complication (after 6 months....).  If my family has this disease, with the next best option a highly invasive surgery with ~60% efficacy (6 month follow-up), I would have to fly them overseas and pay doctors in another country to get better success.  I've heard stories of companies faltering because of the beaurocratic mess that is the FDA. Companies with great treatments. And then there's the cost partly because of the FDA. I've been given the opportunity to target low-incidence disease in my work because of how much capital my company has, but most companies will not because the cost to get a device or drug to market is so high that you have to target high-incidence to get your investment back. I don't know a way to fix this, but I'm certain there's got to be a way. 

I wish I could say that at least I won't have to deal with this when in at my new school, but my intent is to still create devices and get them to patients. I just won't have the backing of a huge company now so it will be very very difficult. Thanks FDA. Screw you. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dodging the post-doc bullet

While traveling a while back I stopped off and talked to a friend. He's been in a post-doc for 2 years in a foreign country and he told me he's year-to-year now based on his contract. So he's casually applying to faculty posts. I agreed to look at his application material when he gets around to it. 

Today he Skyped me, panicked. His PI's funding fell through and the post-docs will be the first to go. Now he's in a rush to find a position. And hiring in a rush is not exactly something academia is known for. So now he'll have to either find an academic post soon or be stuck in another 2 year project as a post-doc....or go industry.  On top of this, as a post-doc he doesn't make enough to have put aside enough money to save for a long job-drought during an academic search.

I've enjoyed my time in industry for the most part and being able to be comfortable in my position not dependent on whether some guy/girl in the office upstairs can write a successful grant is pretty nice. My job is at the mercy of the competition and the board, but I know my products are superior and the free market has seemed to agree so I'm not worried. But more importantly, if I get laid off there's a very nice severance package (8 weeks of salary) and I've saved up a bunch because I'm overpaid. So I can deal with a break in employment. Plus, if I had gone year-after-year looking for a faculty job, I would be confident knowing that if I didn't find it I'd still have my job to fall back on. A post-doc isn't a really great fallback plan. 

Thinking of my friend's situation reminds me of how lucky I am. When I was job hunting I constantly thought about how much different my hunt would be if I had a heavy hitting school on my CV for a post-doc. In hindsight I don't think it mattered much, but the stress was there before.  Though the stress of worrying about pulling in a paycheck would be more than I could handle. I'd imagine his position could be in the minority, but I have no clue, and I don't wish that on anyone. I feel like Keanu in dodging that bullet. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear theater-goers,

I don't go to the movies very frequently.  Maybe once a month...tops. I saw a movie today that people have raved about. It was okay, but the people were horrible. If you are one of the following people, I don't hate you, but please fix yourselves:
1. Person with a smell: I understand the matinee is early, but it's not so early you don't have time to shower. Your BO is disturbing. 
2. Person with smoker's breath: Stop breathing. Or at least put in a mint. 
3. Cell phone person: No one cares you're watching a movie. Unless people will die unless you answer your text, then put it away before I put it in your Coke. 
4. Person not controlling your kid: I don't have kids, but I have taken kids to the movies. I can stop them from kickin chairs and distractin people. You can too, or find a babysitter. 
5. No shoes next to my head person: I'm fine with you getting comfortable, but don't out your feet by my head. You're rude. 
6. Person who doesn't whisper: what you're saying is not better than the movie. Unless I'm watching the Michael Bay Ninja Turtles. A colonoscopy is better than that. 

But then there are also habits that my friends despise that I don't mind:
1. Loud laughing: keep laughing. Some of these jokes aren't really that funny, but life's too short not to be laughing. You can't help your laugh. I'm glad you're enjoying. 
2. Person that laughs at everything: same applies. 
3. Getting up to go to the restroom: it's not your fault; I'm just glad you're not going in your seat. 
4. Person who unbuttons your pants: I like your style. Time to relax. 

Basically, please act like a civilized person, shower, and brush your teeth and I'll watch a movie with you. If you pay, that also doesn't hurt. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Offer from another

Those following this blog will know that I'm starting a job at an R1 (or very high whatever...) a year from now.  I was at a conference recently and a faculty member at a lower tiered university mentioned they were looking for faculty with my exact background. They asked that I give a seminar at their school to explain med device design and some of the things I've done the past few years. I obliged because I love giving talks.  In hindsight I should have realized it was an interview for a job I didn't apply to. Sneaky. 

I recently gave it and the head came forward with a job offer.  Roughly the same salary, bigger starting funds, cheaper city that I adore, but it's a lower-level school (not as highly regarded as the school I'm supposed to start at next year).  It seems shady they pursued me even though they know in starting at another school. Like dating someone you know is married. Though I'm thinking this is as common as people dating the married. 

This university is trying to expand their name and get more into R1 status. Their past few years have had an explosion of growth which I feel I can help them with. The department is also pretty laid back which is pretty important to me. So this has been weighing on me. I hate making bad decisions, and this school seems like I could do very well with. I don't feel like I'll jump ship before I begin, but now I feel bad about saying 'no' to this department.  

I'm thankful, but I probably should've realized something nefarious was going on behind the scenes. I wouldn't have come otherwise. Saves me from thinking about this situation.