So like I just mentioned, I recently, tentatively accepted a job offer at New York Medical College just outside of NYC, in Westchester County. I am still feeling some trepidation about how expensive it will be to live out there relative to what a postdoc is paid (at least initially, I will be working to get a 25-33% boost in pay in the first few months I’m there) because it’s kind of ridiculous what postdocs are paid but that’s reality and I have to deal with it.
Just yesterday, I’ve been an a back-and-forth with yet another out-of-the-blue prospective employer, this time out of UMASS. Granted, Worcester is still pretty expensive, but at least I wouldn’t have to drive an hour to 80min to get to work each day if I want to live in something bigger than a refrigerator box. The NYMC lab is a little more aligned with my research interests, and I have the opportunity to point myself even further in a direction I’d like to follow, but this UMASS thing would give me the opportunity to learn some pretty cool techniques (i.e. optogenetics). I told this researcher what our situation is, with my adjunct teaching thing and unforgiving schedule, along with the position I’ve already informally accepted, and the very narrow timeframe I’m working with. She seemed to be understanding, and I will be talking with her tomorrow afternoon.
But then there’s still another possibility, albeit one with longer odds and some complications of its own. The biology department is looking to hire another faculty member, a rather specific one, actually. I have already met her when I interviewed at the University of Cincinnati, and her research mostly lines up with mine. I do not want to stay here, we absolutely need a fresh start. But things would be so much easier if I could work here, where the pay would go a little further and we could save money for a couple of years instead of continuing to struggle as we have for so long. And then, earlier this morning, Eva said, “I miss Gwamma and Gwampa and Jamey and Alex and Tony,” and well, dammit. That just adds another layer of difficulty to what should essentially be a small illusion of hope as we trudge through this toxic, punishing wasteland of seemingly endless defeat.
I am sick to death of this place, as Jen and I are nomads by nature and have only been in the same place for the last nine years out of absolute necessity. I personally have nothing keeping me here, I never have, there is no sentimental value to my life here (scratch that, there is sentimental value, but it’s negative), but considering what is best for Eva makes it a little bit harder. but another complication is that I have spent nine years at KSU, as an undergrad and as a grad student, and it’s not the best strategy to stay in the same place yet again for some time as a postdoc, because it looks like I can’t cut the cord or I’m not ambitious enough or some BS. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily matter if I don’t want to be a big shot researcher pulling in multiple R01s and running a science factory like some can manage to do, because I don’t, I have enough anxiety as it is, and I want to conduct research because it’s more a personal quest for me than it is an enterprise and I don’t want to lose sight of that. But I’m not aiming for asceticism either, and I don’t want to throw a wrench into my career plans.
Ultimately, we will most likely end up in NYC, but it’s because it’s the most realistic choice, as difficult and ironically unrealistic as it will be. But also because I want to make a future for Eva, and staying here sure as hell won’t do that. I may not get us out of the gutter, but I can take Eva to its exit so she can climb out of it and be somebody, somebody that I couldn’t succeed in becoming.
[an aside: this issue is an improvement at least, as for once, I have an actual problem that’s not just a product of my crippling anxiety and completely in my own head]