Wednesday, April 02, 2003

So it's real, I am in my last two weeks at the Whittier. Actually, my last full day will be April 11th, so I'm in my last 10 days....and counting.

Only I'm not really counting down, not as I have for so many landmarks, because it's so close I know it'll be upon me before I know it. Even then it won't be a definitive end point, there will be some remaining tasks in the month or so after I officially leave. I know I will have to come back in a couple of times to finish the last purification, and I know there will be some drama from Vin about the mice and how I should be training Giuseppe to handle them. Frankly, I'm not qualified to train anyone to care for a colony, all I can do is hand him an up-to-date excell file with their ages and genotypes, and send him off to do the classes, not forgetting to emphasize to him not to be afraid to ask Vin, because Vin is the big boss and he knows lots about mice. Supposedly.

The important thing is that this place is no longer my future. I no longer have to wonder "is this all I will ever amount to?" because I know that at the very least I amount to a succesful candidate for a challenging job in neuropathology, and someone who looks pretty good for a cell culture maintenence post in a gastroimmunology lab (yes, I was offered the other job too, I got to turn down a job and hand in my notice on the same day). Added to that I have been told across the board "You should plan on graduate studies, even if it's just an MSc, it would be a waste not to". Not by my Loving Parents, or my Devoted Partner, who's role it is to encourage and flatter me, but by my interviewer (and now soon-to-be-boss), by a coworker who has just been accepted into a highly competative Pharmacy school, and by the supervisor I'm leaving somewhat in the lurch with my resignation.

I was unhappy, and I looked for alternatives, I took the initiative and wrote my damn resume afresh, sent it out there, and I was rewarded with a new job, one that appeals to me in ways it never could have if I had fallen into it right out of university. My frustrated spinning at the Whittier has taught me to value straightforwardness, organisation and research-driven passion for work. All of a sudden I'm getting excited by papers on demyelinating leukoencephalopathy, and looking forward to working wiht endothelial cells, because they're much easier to work with than those pesky primary cell cultures we've been trying to use here. Not to mention not requiring isolation from primary tissue before they can be used...

I was also highly amused by a molecular biology in-joke [>] , and tried to share it with Matt, who had never heard of real-time PCR. I got a very blank look in return. He liked the picture of the enzyme vending machine though. You know you're a geek when the best joke of your day sounds like a bunch of gobbldygook to anyone outside your line of work.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hold on to your hats, I might be turning into a scientist after all.

No comments: