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The slow progress

It’s been a very long day, but somehow not a lot got done. Ever have one of those days? The kind where you’re working from sunup to sundown and somehow nothing got accomplished. I guess there was forward progress, but it feels too slow and right now, I really can’t afford to go slow. If I’m lucky, tomorrow will be better, if not, well then I’m not sure.

Where to start? I guess the day started off on a bad note and ended on a not much better note. I had to be in extra early to do some yearly evaluation stuff to get recertified. Basically hospital admin stuff, which adds a ton of extra stuff on my plate, but it’s once a year and there’s never a good time to have to do it, so whatever. The problem was that I had an appointment and it got cancelled right as it was supposed to happen. It felt like a huge waste of time and while I’ve gotten over the feelings, I still wish I could’ve had that time back.

Of course, I’ve also been assigned several classes, in-person classes, that are required for my recertification process, so I’ve been attending those. They’ve been slowly eating all my time, it’s not that they are long, “just” a couple of hours, but a couple of hours in a workday feels like a lifetime and I need to make up those hours later, so I end up staying later than I usually would to get the work done that I have to put off for those classes. That’s another reason why things have been feeling super slow lately. I’m not even halfway done with the required classes either, so it’s going to be a long few weeks on that front.

I did manage to get some of the equipment fabricated for the next long experiment. I have a lot more to make, but at least one of the pieces is finished. The frustrating thing was that I had to take it all apart and rebuild it again for reasons I really don’t feel like getting into. So I lost a good hour or two from that, plus the hour or two to redo it. One down, five more to go, we’ll see if I can get them all done in time. Since the weekends are about to be dissertation all the time, I can’t work on this over the weekend.

It’s not all bad news. I managed to get all the equipment tomorrow for a good few hours. That will be key to getting all the programming done that needs to happen for next week. I don’t think it will be enough time to get everything done, but I’m hopeful it will give me a chance to get most of it done and troubleshoot anything I need to figure out. Even if it’s not all done by the time the experiment rolls around, it will still be okay. We managed without it all written last time, but I’m trying to optimize the time we have.

I also got word that we’re testing something I’ve been excited about and it’s good news for the future study that I was mentioning last post I believe, the one where I was going to have a steady stream of people that I could funnel into the big idea project. There’s still a lot of details to work out, but the news I got made it sound like the thing I need to happen to be able to do those experiments will happen (being vague, sorry).

We had a problem preventing us from doing the experiments, I proposed a solution that would not only fix the problem, but also clear the way for me to tag along and get data for big idea. It wasn’t self-serving, it was a honest solution and the only one I could come up with, it just happened to benefit me as well. Hospital-PI was (is) on the fence about it and was looking at other alternatives, but we’ve come back around to my solution, which we’re testing again to verify that it will work (it will, but it never hurts to double check I guess).

So yeah, it’s been a rough day, but so far I don’t have to panic. At least not yet…

4 responses

  1. Yes, I’ve had days like that. Lately the day job has felt that way a lot. We’re ironing the last few bugs out of our complex system. The team has decided that the way to deal with these is to get a representative for each subsystem on a Zoom call and brainstorm … for hours. Ultimately it works, but there is a lot of talking in circles first. Then building new FPGA designs for gathering more information, which also takes hours. Often a day ends with nothing resolved . It can feel hopeless … until we finally stumble our way to the solution somehow.

    Is the hospital not properly allocating time for you to take these recertification classes? Are you working overtime to do required classes? Is it paid overtime? I know, rush to publication and all that, but don’t let them bleed you. You really shouldn’t be having to “make up” time spent on something that is mandatory for your job, even if it’s admin or training. If it just happened to be due during a schedule crunch, that’d be one thing … but if there’s never a good time for it, to me that sounds unfair – you’re being over-scheduled.

    I hope tomorrow goes better. Having to redo work absolutely stinks, I mean somehow it’s worse than having a longer task up front. I guess because one gets haunted by the thought that one could have done it right the first time (even if it’s not really fair to think that, because some mistakes are inevitable and just part of the process).

    Liked by 1 person

    September 22, 2022 at 1:41 am

    • That sounds painful. I’m glad most of our research is tight groups so it’s not a whole lot of running around trying to make everyone happy.

      Okay so that’s a complicated question. I’m salaried and while yes, even salaried employees should get paid for overtime, that would require that I actually track the hours I work and while I could do it myself, I don’t (or haven’t) in the hospital system.

      Plus hospital-PI is the one who technically pays me (my pay comes from his lab funds) and while I give him a hard time on a regular basis, we’re friends and I don’t like the idea of doing that to him because the hospital is being obnoxious about the requirements. More importantly (and the main reason really), he’s very relaxed about my work hours. I work from home a lot, I come to work when I’m needed, stay home when I’m not, etc. It’s a good system because of my disabilities and what not, so I really wouldn’t want to start something to fix a problem in the short term when it would hurt me in the long term.

      Yeah, I definitely think you’re onto something there. I’m still thinking I could’ve had two done instead of just one!! Today went well thankfully. I got all but one of the things I needed programed done, so I’m officially ahead of schedule at the moment, but that could change.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 22, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      • I’m happy today went better for you.

        Okay, that makes it more complicated, if you aren’t in the habit of tracking your time and have more of a gentleman’s agreement about work output. I might still argue that Hospital PI should be factoring all hospital requirements into his expectations for employees, but you know your own situation best. If you get to work less than full time some weeks, I suppose that makes up for it.

        I’m a salaried “exempt” employee, which means I definitely do not get paid for overtime, but I’m still expected to record all of my hours (whether worked at home or on site). In theory overtime gets considered when year-end performance bonuses are decided; at the very least, I have a record of my work load, which can be put in front of people if I ever have to talk about being pushed too hard. Fortunately that conversation has never yet been necessary – I work very little overtime. Partly because I’m good at meeting deadlines, and partly because management is aware that if they try to get blood from a turnip, people will burn out or leave. So when I’m exhausted (like now) it’s either because I did too much hobby work on the side, or the standard 40 hours is just beating me up for some reason.

        Anyway … just fretting about you a bit. Whatever you do, don’t take on more than you can handle. But you knew that.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 22, 2022 at 10:22 pm

      • Thanks for the support. I’m doing my best to manage everything and hospital-PI has been understanding thus far. The required classes and certification renewal stuff is really throwing me off, but I’m almost done thankfully.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 23, 2022 at 8:07 pm

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