When I was a VAP

In line with my previous experiences in academia, shortly after I was told that I might have a few more years of future in my postdoc position, I got canned because the money on a major project got cut off.  I was basically given 6 weeks notice.  It almost became a “living in my car” situation, but the people on the project who were less on the science side who could easily get other jobs did, so there ended up being progressively more money left to keep me around month-to-month for 6 months.  Of course, this still left me scrambling for my career; my field or sub-field or whatever you want to call it doesn’t have a lot of huge groups where it’s easy shift someone around, and nobody at the institution other than my postdoc advisor seemed to give a shit.  The situation was bad enough, but fortunately my anxiety disorders weren’t so bad back then, and I was able to cope. Continue reading

If you write a paper in a forest, does anyone cite it?

I’m always trying to come to grips with my research productivity or lack thereof.  I’ve written about this topic before, but in the interest of having not all of my posts be negative, I decided to take a closer look the current holy grail of non-monetary judgment of scientific research productivity, the h-index.  It’s a topic that has recently popped up at a couple places, so what the heck. Continue reading

Albatrosses and other birds to flip

MoFo the albatross finally dislodged itself from around my neck, fell to the ground, and was deliciously broiled for dinner.  Tasted like chicken.  The stupid paper I was complaining about not getting revised has finally been accepted.  Good review process, but a little slower than normal on both ends.  It will probably be another 3 or 4 years until I get another first-author paper, but I’m sure glad to get this stupid project off my plate so I can work on another stupid project.  I do think that this paper may get a decent number of citations, though. Continue reading

The dog and pony show

One of the big advantages of working at a private higher ed institution, especially these days, is that we don’t have to rely on state legislatures (i.e., gangs of brainless twits) for funding.  On the other hand, one of the big disadvantages of working at a private non-elite institution, especially these days, is that we don’t have access to a guaranteed revenue stream.

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