Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good things about today.

As the four of you regular readers know, I've been sort of struggling lately emotionally and professionally.
I'm in that hateful stage of my life where I'm trying to figure out who I am now that I've grown up -- or
maybe it's just the big blah that comes after completing a big project like a dissertation. Or dealing
with my own mortality in the wake of my father's death. Or the periodic and painful absences of
my spouse, necessitated by our precarious financial situation. Whatevs. I got my reasons.

Today good things happened in a cluster. There was sunshine and warmer temperatures. There was
wine. There was music and gladness. Things got cleaned. I got an exceptionally good haircut that
makes me look my age rather than like some pedantic demented grannywoman. (Hope I can style
it in this cutey way -- I'm not so good with hair.) Perhaps most encouraging of all, however, is that
I won a huge grant for my department to start a Center for Important Social Issues In My Area of
Research. Like, more than my yearly salary huge, which I realize is not like B1 Bomber money, but
still. I wrote it. I presented the proposal to the committee. And it was fully funded for multiple
years with very encouraging remarks from the funding agency. (This is on top of -- yeah, I
didn't blog about this -- the more modest but still substantial grant I won to support my research this upcoming
year that will allow me to hire another research assistant. For a school that is firmly and
unapologetically a small teaching-intensive school, I'm doing fairly well at funding my own
work. I just wish I had more time to do it.) The best part about this all is that I wrote in
multiple funding opportunities for our grad students, who really need to get some support
to excel. And all those lines will be funded, which will free up other money in other places
that can also be directed to top students. As long as I'm staying here (and Longshot U hasn't
called, so I guess I was right about my poor performance in the interview), why not do something
cool?

I also began reading William Germano's From Dissertation to Book -- it's a very helpful, realistic
look at revision. I defended in July and I realized during my interview with Longshot U that
I had no clue about how to describe what I planned to do with my work. That also killed me
in a couple of post-doc interviews last year. If I'm going to actually do this, I'm going to have
to give it thought and make time for it and quit whining about how tough everything is and
how in a better world my genius (gesturing with back of hand swept up to forehead) would be
recognized...shuddup already. I'm getting recognition, a hell of a lot moreso than many of
my equally capable peers. So enough with the self-pity and the wishing things were different.
They are not. So this is me, getting on with it.

7 comments:

Abel PharmBoy said...

hey bridgett,

thanks for coming over to my blog to post. turns out that i'm an idiot and didn't save my e-mail address in the 'comment moderation' section. i actually had 5 comments and yours was the sixth. thanks for your intent to save me from my own sadness and ineptitude.

very, very kind of you to come by. and hey, congratulations on that grant - what a great opportunity for you, your dept, and your students!

Bad Alice said...

Congratulations on that grant. That's a Very Big Deal. Longshot U doesn't know what they missed, huh?

Neal said...

I have learned more about getting grants working with boat loads (plane loads actually) of PhD grantees at the South Pole than I ever thought I wanted to know. I find they fall into two categories. 1) They are thrilled that somebody would pay for them to hang out in exotic locations and do the work they love. 2) They are constantly stressed in an effort to justify the enormous amounts of taxpayer money that they are responsible for spending.
In general, the first bunch is more fun to work with and seem to have more consistently positive/conclusive results.

bridgett said...

Thanks for dropping by, guys.

Abel -- I suspected that there was something goofed up with your moderation system, but I knew you'd figure it out on your own.

Bad Alice - I'm really pleased about the whole thing and confident that the Center is actually going to open up rich opportunities for collaboration and publication between junior and senior people who right now don't talk to each other much. And anything that gets our grad students some money and professional network/skills is a much-needed thing. Plus, it's taking on an Important Social Issue, so the research we're doing can actually be applied at the policy level.

Neal -- This is all private foundation money, though I will be working up some supplementary gov't money next year. They exercise close oversight, but have an excellent track record of partnership (as reported by others who have administered similar programs on their dime). The only potentially stressful part of this grant will be the interim directorship, which someone else is going to handle as I am not tenured yet and am expected to teach a lot. I'm sort of an otter when it comes to handling large responsibilities...too playful and ready for a nap to make a good director of anything. My talent is in writing the grant, getting the money, and then knowing when to step back. My research is funded through different channels, as well, so I will have colleagues through the Center with whom I am not in competition with -- I think this will create maximum good vibe for everyone.

listmaker said...

Yeah for you!

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Yeah money!

Sorry to read about the long departures of your partner. I haven't come here often enough to realize that.

imfunnytoo said...

Marvelous... Good stuff is always nice to find/do/pursue, especially if it comes in bunches :)