Archive for: April, 2010

Thesis committees

Apr 07 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

It's an innocent enough question - "Would you be willing to serve on my thesis committee?" - and an easy thing to say "Yes." to. At the time you commit yourself there is generally no work to be done in response to an affirmative answer and generally the students who ask this are those whose work you are interested in, on some level. Sure, it'll be great to help this student along and provide advice on their work as it is coming together!

On top of the desire to help the student, there is an unspoken understanding between PIs that service on one of their student's committees means that they will return this favor down the road. Depending on the project, finding committee members for some students can be a pain in the ass, so having this "debt" in your pocket is not a bad thing.

Before you know it, you've said yes to three or four people, without much thought for the consequences of this action. Then comes the end of the semester or summer and everyone thinks "OMG, I have to propose/qualify/graduate before the end/start of the semester! We need meetings! Here's 45 pages to read by next week, and can you have comments back to me?"

I have a busy travel schedule lining up for this summer where I will be gone for 4-24 day chunks, several times. It ain't pretty, but between conferences and collaborations, it is what it is. My colleagues have similar schedules, so getting three to five of us together at the same time is damn near impossible. This means that on the rare instances that several people on related thesis committees are around, those days are booked solid with committee-related activities.

The moral of the story is to remember that on the flip side of agreeing to be part of a thesis committee is a solid time commitment down the road, likely to be scheduled at a very inconvenient time. I am learning this the hard way.

11 responses so far

Intra-office sub-desk napping

Apr 06 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Yes or no? Discuss...

13 responses so far

Actual conversation: neighborhood edition

Apr 05 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Elderly Neighbor: Nice to see you home on the weekend, seems like it's been a while.

PLS: Well, yeah. I had a lot to do at work over the last little while.

EN: You know, my husband used to work extra hours on the weekend when we were younger. He always wanted to bring in the extra money.

PLS: Um, yeah.

EN: I don't know how much they pay you for those weekends, but it aint worth it.

PLS: I don't get paid extra for weekends...

EN: WHAT? You should tell them you're not working one more weekend unless they pay you for it.


EN: What in the hell would you work for free for.

PLS: It's complicated.

EN: Doesn't sound like it to me.

PLS: sigh.

12 responses so far

Tough decisions

Apr 01 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Well, I think it's time to make the official announcement on the blog.

After all of the discussions how good postdoc life is and how teaching is sucking the life out of me I have decided to bail on this job and take a postdoc position in another country that I've always wanted to live in. My department and Dean are understandably upset and it took some time to make sure that all of my trainees can find PIs to work with so that they can finish their degrees, but sometimes you just have to do what's right for yourself.

I don't know where this will lead or how many postdoc positions I can string together over the next few years, but it'll be an interesting ride. I'll let you know how it goes...

11 responses so far

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