Friday, September 19, 2008

Drum Roll Please

Okay, so you have all been patiently waiting to find out where I landed. For any newcomers that may or may not be out there, lets recap:
I quit my lab in end of July and interviewed with PI#1. She is a very successful, strong, larger than life scientist. She totally understood my situation and invited me to interview her students and post-docs. That interview left me thinking WTF! Her students made me wonder whether there was such as think as professionalism or even proper training / mentorship in science. I did recognize some of the good points, which were that her students felt comfortable enough to be honest, were well respected and were focused on individual projects. Although the lab had problems (as every lab does), they were more based on personality differences vs project stealing or authorship issues. This interview occured right before PI1 was leaving for vacation. I specifically mentioned that I would like to make a final decision before Sept 1/08. She said she would let me know after the 27th when she got back.
As you know, I had emailed several PI's but she was the only one that had responded and I wasn't feeling very hopeful. I ended up applying for a job, talking about the importance of networking and at the same time emailed PI#1 to ask whether she had made a decision or not.
I don't know why I never blogged about at what happened, but basically PI1 emailed and asked me to come in for an orientation, but was very clear throughout the meeting that she had not yet made a decision. She was once again leaving on trip so before I left her office for the day, I told her I was committed to her lab, but that I needed a decision from her so that I knew whether or not to consider other opportunities. She replied that I needed to be selfish and singleminded in my pursuits if I wanted to pursue a PhD. So based on her advice and that of others, I recontacted some PI's, had a really good interaction with PI#2 and her lab.
PI2 was supposed to get back to me by wednesday of last week, and by friday morning she had not said anything. Right before we left the house to begin the crazy weekend, I emailed her. She responded a few hours later (not that I knew that until monday morning) saying that she would be delighted to have me join the lab. She apologized for taking longer than expected, but all my references had not responded in a timely manner.
The decision had to be made very quickly and I choose PI2. There are no crappy politics in her lab (as far as anyone mentioned), she was professional, would be on sabbactical in the lab, for the next year and was able to make a decision quickly.
The crappy part is that we share a lab space with PI1 who realized that I took another position and is pissed. I ran into her the day she returned, before I had an opportunity to let her know I've gone somewhere else, and she realized I had taken a position. She is pissed as she claims she was about to say yes to me. I told her that I understood our last conversation to mean that she would not be sure for awhile and that it would be better for me to look elsewear. Apparently I assumed to read her mind.
Mr. SM doesn't seem to think she deserved to be told prior to me saying yes to #2, as she was not giving me a clear answer, and had close 1 month to say yes or no. Although I agree, I still think she was willing to give me an opportunity and was willing to see my potential, that I should apologize and try to mend fences. I hate to leave relationships on bad terms and it never hurts to have someone in your corner. Plus, I understand the reasons why it took her so long to make a decision. She wanted to speak to everyone concerned which is difficult when you are always travelling. I also think that on a regular basis I would need her to make decisions and do stuff, but because she is so successful and traveling always, her inability to contact the relevent individuals and make decisions would be repeated.
Mel I know you're happy!
I am feeling more confident in this new lab. There are ton of women around, its family friendly. But its only been a week, however if things continue this way, I may start to be more open about who I am and where I am.
Thank you to all of you for your wonderful advice and support. Especially Cath and Mel


Mrs. Spit said...

Hooray. I'm with Mr. SM, I don't think that you are obligated to explain yourself, simply be courteous and polite to PI1.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

She'll get over it! And yeah, a PI who is always travelling is not ideal.

I'm glad it all worked out!

Melanie said...


I'm glad, not only because I think you made the better choice, but also because it sounds like you're happy with your choice and the reasons for it.

Now, about PI#1. Yes, try to mend things with her. Not because you were in the wrong, but because you share lab space now. Had I known that I would've warned you! Also because it sounds like PI#1 would be a good person to have on your side (and she should be, if she was considering taking you), and because she's NOT someone you want to have against you.

I'm not saying be a doormat to make things good ... just remind her gently that SHE told you you have to be selfish, and that's what you're doing. Then let her get over it.

Again, YAY! I'm so glad to hear that you sound happy, and that you're back on the road you want to be on.

Mimi said...

I agree with Melanie, just don't bring it up too much. Mending is important though. Sounds like she may turn out to be a valuable influence. Her advice did get you another position! This sounds great...

ScienceGirl said...

I am excited for you!

The bean-mom said...

Congratulations! So glad to hear you found a lab that sounds like a good fit!

I'm with everyone else--you had no obligation to explain yourself to PI #1. But because she is a powerful person, and someone you share space with, you should of course try to get on her good side... even if it means acting a bit humble...

Yay for you!

Amanda said...

Yay! It sounds like an excellent fit. And I think that Mel gave you some great advice. I'm so happy for you!

EcoGeoFemme said...

Congratulations! How great that you were able to make it happen and not give up on your dream.

I agree with the others that you had no obligation to PI1, but that you want to be on good terms with her. I bet she'll get over it pretty quickly -- the situation was probably more important to you than to her, since she has other students, other projects, etc. Probably being consistently professional and confident with her will correct things over time.