Swimming in unfamiliar waters

Nov 05 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

Part of my travels this week includes attending a meeting that I have been invited to because of what I do. I realize this isn't odd, I'm not here because the meeting is on the topic I study, in fact the opposite. I'm the token researcher doing-something-everyone-else-is-not, here to provide a different perspective. It means that I know a lot of these people only by name (and vaguely in most cases), but I'm never met more than a couple of them.

I don't have a problem with this from a social perspective, but from a science perspective is fucking tiring. I find myself constantly trying to decipher the, only mildly familiar, jargon from related fields to mine. There are some big names here and I'm trying not to piss anyone off by asking "So... what do you do?" I know some of these dudes (and it's almost all dudes here) have made big contributions, but again, this ain't my field. I'm already sick of hearing about some of the typical model systems and the talks haven't even started. In any case, I'm exhausted and this has barely begun.

Day one of travel (yesterday) resulted in my wife being called by daycare at noon because the Wee One slipped on a ball and went face-first into a brick wall. She ate her lunch, but the caretaker was concerned about the swelling and didn't want to risk having her nap there! Thanks guys, lots of help. Break the kid then get rid of her in case she gets any worse. Luckily she was fine, if not a bit swollen. She woke up this morning with minimal lasting damage.

2.5 days left before the weekend...

5 responses so far

  • Professor in Training says:

    Oh no! Hope the Wee One is ok. She sounds like she is on the fast track to be just like me :)Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  • Anonymous says:

    I know what you mean about being the only one in a group who does something different than the rest. It doubly sucks to be the ONLY WOMAN who gets blown off repeatedly, because dudes like to stomp around and hear themselves bloviate, and I'm practically invisible anyway. Tokenism really fucking sucks when the group treats you as "the different one" or expects you to be like them, except look different so they can check off the not-all-white-dudes box. I walk away from meetings like that being very glad I get to walk away. Wee One needs padding.jc

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    PiT - Oh no indeed....JC - While I agree with what you said, I want to clarify that I'm not equating my experience with that of under-represented groups at a meeting like this. Phenotypically, I'm in the same boat as 90% of the attendees (even if I'm 25 below the mean age), and that alone means that I can't claim to feel the tokenism in the same way at all. Besides, I've been invited based on my expertise, so in a lot of ways it's not a bad thing for me. From a scientific perspective though, I certainly feel like a fish out of water.

  • Alyssa says:

    I felt like this at a conference I went to a couple weeks ago. It was for all astronomers, but people kept forgetting that. So, they'd talk about their research or big-wigs in their field and I'd have to ask what/who the hell they were talking about. It was definitely tiring after a while.Good luck, and I hope the Wee One recovers and doesn't get into anymore "trouble" 🙂

  • Ink says:

    I hope Wee One heals soon. Poor kiddo.And hope the rest of your conference morphs into a Smashing Good Time.

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