Houston We Have A Problem

It’s always slightly disappointing to return to work after a week off, especially if you really enjoyed your week off.  So, returning to a job I have a deep-rooted dislike for to find a pile of chaos on my desk waiting for me is quite the opener.

It’s also quite a shock to your system when you find out someone finally couldn’t take anymore of it and actually quit, and now the already stretched thin staff is down another person.  She had another job lined up, so good for her.  I wish I could bake her cookies for finding a way out.

My lovely 24 hour project is still continuing it seems despite talk about mothball-ing it, so I spent my day trying to figure out what all needed to be done to pick up where we left off and work in the extra testing they decided we needed. It wouldn’t be so frustrating if I hadn’t already proven repeatedly that the method doesn’t work (a 24 hour run on a sample that doesn’t have 24 hour stability…what?) and they weren’t just desperately trying to make it work.  I also get the added bonus of being down a set of hands and my equipment apparently breaking last week.

Apparently pieces of the machine just FELL OFF like they were never attached.

I have found a couple of positions elsewhere that I’m looking in to.  They’re not particularly exciting, and definitely not lab positions, but they’re in stable companies so they already have a massive leg up.  I face a dilemma though…is it worth giving up the type of work I love doing for the sake of liking my job?  It’s an odd conundrum.  I’m miserable here, but I enjoy chemistry lab work. If I go to a desk job I may like it, but will the empty feeling that comes with leaving the lab behind negate that?

Compounding all of this confusion is the massive success that was last week.  I’ve had enough interest in my work that if everyone had the budget and the patience to wait their turn, I could essentially be a freelance chemist for a solid year.  The downside is obviously that I wouldn’t really ever be home during that year.  The upside would be spending time at a number of prestigious universities and other national labs, and ending up with more publications under my belt.  Of course, this is all just fantasy based on conversations about the wishes of a handful of scientists, but it’s still nice to dream about.

I’m not really sure what to do.  I’m not willing to give up lab work entirely, so I know moving into one of the desk jobs could only be a temporary thing.  I could move to the desk job for now as a way to get out of my current situation, a means to an end, especially given the prospect of lab positions opening up at that location in the future, but is it worth the risk of getting stuck?

Gah, I just don’t know what the right choice is at this point.

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Posted on June 3, 2013, in Life, Work and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m so happy that you had such a great experience last week but so sad that you had to come back to blah. That’s a hard one. I totally hear you about desk work vs bench work. I too am not really a total desk work kind of person. I could do some desk work but even when I have to analyze data for a few days, I start to get stir crazy… it’s like pulling teeth to get me to analyze my data because I will plan as many experiments as possible to avoid data analysis. Of course then it gets all backed up and I have to spend a week just doing data analysis to catch up so booo…. :p

    I think I’d do what you’re doing – sticking with the lame but bench work job for now while you’re looking into other opportunities. Also, I think it’s really good to keep in your mind how much you like bench work so that if you end up going to a more desk work type job, you will remind yourself to keep an eye out for something more bench worky either within that company or elsewhere. 🙂

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