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February 5, 2007
A Break, Whether I Felt Like It Or Not
So begins my first week without employment since the late 1980s. And I'm not sure that that period counts, since it was just after my postdoc ended and I was looking for my first real job. I had a Humboldt fellowship in Germany - West Germany at the time, of course - and I'd tried sending letters from there back to potential employers in the US. I should have taken all of them and buried them under a rock by the light of the full moon - it wouldn't have produced any fewer results. I realized what was happening after a while, and prepared another thick pile of envelopes for my return. Once in a US airport, I promptly mailed them out, and then the phone began to ring at last.
I feel rather cut off from things, I have to say, because I'm used to constant SciFinder access and plenty of online journal subscriptions. There's not much I can do about either one of those, though - SciFinder's rates are astronomical for what-you-want when-you-want searching, for example, which makes me glad that I used the service so heavily while I had access to it. And I also feel cut off from doing what I usually do - think up weird research ideas and test them out. The burst of activity I detailed here is the last time I've been in the lab, well, other than to throw an awful lot of stuff away.
What will be interesting will be seeing what kinds of ideas I get after this break. Rather than going rusty, my guess is that I'll have some interesting stuff built up and ready to go. I've written about how one of the things that I disliked about graduate school was the constant, forced attention on one single project and problem. Situations like that have always done me harm when they've gone on too long - here's hoping that this one will do me good.
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