We're a little crazy, about science!

A small success

It was a leap of faith. There were no good choices, but it was the best of options in a string of bad options. I could either work full time in my main-PI’s lab, pulling me away from the clinical research I love, or I could take a job in my Co-PI’s lab. The catch was to take the job with my Co-PI I would have to apply, wait, and go through the onboarding process. That would mean I wouldn’t be getting paid, which would be okay for a few weeks, but longer and I could be in trouble. Nothing is finished yet, but I’ve gotten some good news.

Let’s take it from the top. I’m a fourth year PhD candidate studying neuroengineering. I have a BS and MS in mechanical and if you follow my blog you’re probably already bored of the introductions. I was awarded a fellowship two years ago that gave me the chance to work in a local research hospital doing clinical research. I absolutely love it. However, the fellowship was only for two years, which was the end of August. That meant no funding for me! And that is why I took the leap (here) and decided to pursue the job option.

Before we get into what happened, I should remind everyone the situation. My Co-PI may be leaving the hospital for a new hospital in a completely different state (so no chance that I could follow) and nothing has been finalized yet (more here). So maybe I’ve earned the lunatic title, but I’m taking a job in a lab that may not exist after the end of this year. If I didn’t then I would’ve been back in the university lab, which to be fair is great, but not exactly what I want to be doing with my life.

I originally “officially” applied for the position about a week ago and hadn’t heard anything. Well it turns out that I needed to reapply yesterday because my Co-PI, being the awesome human he is, got the hospital to pay me better. Unfortunately, that bumped me from the pay scale of the position I originally applied to and since they do a “level” system I went from researcher level 1 to researcher level 2. Instead of just giving me the position I had to reapply, which I did. I was hoping to be a level 8 wizard, but level 2 researcher isn’t too bad I guess.

Today I got the official job offer! They sent me a contract (all digital of course) with the offer and salary, which I had known going in, but it was nice to have it in writing. That wasn’t what has me excited, the exciting part is they included the start date so I now know when I’ll start. It won’t be until the end of the month unfortunately, but that was the longest I could possibly go without getting paid and still (probably) survive. The university paid me monthly, the hospital biweekly, which is literally my only saving grace here or I would be in serious trouble.

Now all that’s left is the background checks and what not before I start the onboarding process. So assuming I haven’t been blacking out and robbing banks, I should be good! It does make me nervous that there’s such a long period between now and when I start and who knows they could change their minds or something. I’m not sure and I tend to get anxious about that kind of random stuff, so here we are.

Of course, even if I get hired, it’s not the end of my worries. It could come back to be a huge mistake on my part if my Co-PI leaves and I can’t find a lab to do research in. I could potentially go back to the university at that point, but there’s no guarantee that pay will be there for me that quickly, even if I start planning now with my main-PI there may not be time to resolve the issue. I have an alternate lab that may be a really good fit, but that is really contingent on the PI of that lab and I was told they don’t have funds at the moment, which is really confusing since he just started and I’ve never met a PI who wasn’t given at least a small startup fund to work with.

Basically a lot of unknowns at the moment, but I want to give updates as I get them (or at least try to). Today was a small success, but a success nonetheless. I’m excited at the possibilities, but it’s also scary. I can’t take back my choice now though, so whatever happens, happens.

I already took the leap, now I just hope I can stick the landing.


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