A little perspective
I really appreciate your comments on my last post about answering the question, "What do you do?". I had a chance to try a new approach last weekend. My daughter had a playdate, and I had never met the Mom before. We were talking and eventually we got to the question. This time I responded by saying that I was a research scientist. I described my research in a few sentences (the kind of description I usually give to my family) and tried to enthuse with confidence and excitement. This appeared to work. I did get the usual 'look,' but this time instead of 'you must be so smart.' I got a different response: 'wow, my life is really boring compared to yours.' This made me think about the whole situation in a new light. It's not that they are afraid of me, or that I am uninteresting. It appears that others are afraid I won't like them. This makes me feel a little better and helps me understand how to approach the situation.
If there is one thing I've had a lot of this week, it is perspective. I have been working on a grant application for new faculty members. I have been having the hardest time with it. At first I felt bad about my lack of enthusiasm, what does that say about my future career if I can't even find the energy to put my ideas down to paper? Worst part is I am supposed to sum up my entire career plan (and teaching plans) in 8 pages and I find this very near impossible. I have too many ideas and too much to say. Seems I am not the only one with this predicament as young female scientist appears to be in a similar situation.
Yesterday, in a fit of frustration I took off for the gym. On my way there I was pulling up to a stop sign when I saw a tractor-trailer crush a car in front of me. Amazingly, the occupant appeared unhurt (the crushing appeared to be on the side opposite where she was sitting). I stopped to help and summoned the police (who were next door making a traffic stop). Then, I got back into the car and continued onto the gym. When I got to the gym, an aerobics instructor was nursing her 2 mo old baby in the locker room. And my heart just melted. Between the threat of death and the promise of life my grant application seemed a really minor problem.
After my work out, I went back to work and started over. I rewrote the entire beginning and retooled a couple of my research areas. The enthusiasm for my work is returning and I am back on track. Sometimes I think we just need a little perspective.