We're a little crazy, about science!

The uncertain future

old door in middle of field, which opens to a whole different world.

My Co-PI is leaving! Or maybe he’s not? But he could be?! I don’t even know. It doesn’t help that he has no idea and there’s no real deadline for him to make a choice, it’s whenever he’s ready. In fact, we currently have a line graph with his daily percentage on staying or leaving. I wish I was joking. It’s not just my future I’m worried about, there are others in the lab, most of us wouldn’t be able to make the journey to his new workspace, even if we wanted to (and trust me when I say if I could, I would).

Right now I kind of have a job. It’s in my Co-PI’s lab doing the research that I love and I am cautiously optimistic about the choice I made (more here and here). I will still be getting my PhD, I mean that was always the dream, but this choice was about setting myself up for the next thing, the jump to actually doing the stuff I want to do for research, the stuff I want to be known for. Because you will be known for something in the research world and sometimes it’s difficult to switch to something else once you’ve established yourself. So I said screw it and took the job, at the risk of not getting paid and having to drop out of school (which would mean I would have to pay back a LOT of money that was given with the stipulation that I got my degree).

So far it’s working out for me. That could change, fate is a fickle thing after all.

However, things are slowly falling into place. The lab coordinator went to visit the new hospital he may be going to and was planning on telling him it was awful, but they really impressed her so she was on team hospital switch. The trader! In any case, once that happened he was 98% sure he was leaving and I was okay with it. I mean I want him to do whatever is best for his career, I can manage my own. Besides we would probably end up collaborating again eventually, so whatever helps him will probably help me in the near future. Is that a totally altruistic view, probably not, but I don’t think anything ever really is.

The good news is he got the offer from the main hospital and it is amazing. In fact, they matched the other hospitals offer and promised him staff, resources, a whole lot of stuff we really wanted. Of course, they were sparse on the details last we spoke, so he had another meeting with the head of the department and basically the head of the hospital (a dude I met and probably shouldn’t have spoke to, but did anyway!) to discuss the details. I still don’t know how that meeting went and I am dying to know.

The issue is space. We just don’t have enough space to do the research that we do. I’m hoping that they would help fix some of that and they are technically building a whole new facility for us… one day… eventually… you can see the problem here already, right? The other issue is that even if that gets built tomorrow (which it probably won’t even though it’s currently “under construction”) it’s not nearly as large or as nice as the space they are offering at the new hospital.

Plus he already has letters of support from a whole section of the new hospital promising him all the resources he needs. That was something that the current hospital wouldn’t be able to give him and probably wouldn’t even if it were in their power to do so. That is why they are negotiating now for dedicated staff, we need physical therapists and occupational therapists, ideally full-time to work with us. The other issue is the position they are offering him, it’s in a different department and currently they aren’t a fan of hosting us in the department we’re in so he’s a little nervous about the move because it could just be the same stress all over again. We need a dedicated department, which was originally on the table, but got quickly removed (AFTER THEY OFFERED TO MAKE HIM HEAD OF THIS NEW DEPARTMENT!), which at that point I was offering to help him pack, because what the hell?

Of course there are a lot of outside factors that play into it all as well. He has a family, a home, they are established here, and they wouldn’t be as well off if they left. So at the end of the day those other factors may weigh in the team stay at the hospital side. Last time I checked the line graph, he was mostly on the stay side anyway, so I’m hoping Friday’s meeting only helped cement that feeling.

In any case, there’s still a lot of unknowns and it will probably be that way for the next month or maybe even longer! That’s the thing about the unknown, there isn’t a lot you do know. What I know now is that he’s leaning towards staying, but that could change at any moment. I also know he has no real deadline to respond by, so it could be days, weeks, or months before the final choice is made. I just hope that the current hospital makes sure to accommodate him at least mostly so he decides to stay. In the meantime I will anxiously check the daily graph to see how he’s feeling about the choice.

Why did this have to be so stressful?!?!!?

2 responses

  1. That’s really complicated. Things get really complex with so many people and things at stake as you climb the career ladder. I hope you will be able to find a way with whatever decision your PI takes. Best luck and be strong 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 4, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    • Thank you! I’m holding out hope that it will all work out. My Co-PI isn’t the kind of person to just leave us without a fallback.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 5, 2021 at 10:58 am

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