Monday, February 19, 2007

So how is it going?

No, I was not abducted by aliens and I did not stop blogging, but it has been a while and longer than I intended. Life has been busy in these parts. First a week of very intensive work and some evening meet-ups with friends visiting from out of town and second, my mom and sister were visiting for ten days. In other words time for free time activities on the Internet has been scarce and time for blogging non-existent. So to catch up:

Life

is good. A while ago I posted a list of things I wanted to change in my life and I am doing better at this than I dared hope. I do lead a more active life than I did last semester (even if going to the gym has not become quite a regular habit yet) and I do cook good food with lots of vegetables most days. This weekend I even went skiing, twice, and it was exactly as amazing as I remembered it. We did redecorate the house to some extent and I do feel very much at home here now. Now one year into proper grown-up working life I've had a promotion and a pay rise and for the first time in my life, I believe, been able to open a savings account.


Research

is falling scarily behind on my day to day schedule. Or this is not entirely true as I do spend time on research related work but not nearly enough on publications and I'm afraid the time I do spend on publications is not spent right. I am juggling two big active research projects with all the associated planning, logistics and networking, one small start up project and a backlog of four manuscripts which should really just be finished, polished and submitted asap. In reality I am obviously not very good at juggling and I end up spending a lot of time on the planning, logistics and networking and not enough on slogging through old manuscripts. I do make writing a priority and for short bursts this also translates into productivity (exactly the reason for the first week of my blogging absence), but then again something happens that I need to take care of and I'm back to square one. The lack of papers-ready-for submission is beginning to haunt me now. For the first year of my postdoc I tended to think that this will come with time and the number of papers submitted during the first year need not be a problem four years down the line, but now that time is approaching faster and I know it cannot wait forever.

department heading

is going surprisingly well. Who would have known? I have never held any paid administrative position before and did not know whether I'd like it or hate it or whether I'd be horrible at it. I'm sure it can be a very difficult job, but so far it hasn't, really. I have learned that I like this "being behind the scenes" kind of work. I like the responsibility that comes with it, the possibility of influencing decisions, the daily contact with everybody in the department and the role of being someone who encourages others and can make things happen. I have gotten nothing but positive response and feel much more at ease with the position than a month ago. Some days, however, I do feel my administration is happening a bit haphazardly like the other day when someone gave me some information and for the rest of the day I couldn't for the life of me remember what she had told me. I have developed a very extensive post-it note system because everybody gives me so much information, much of which I have no immediate use for (and maybe never will) and somehow I feel it just seems more serious if I write it down (like I will at least try to remember what I've been told).

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