Just random stuff

I’m antsy, and trying to decide if I’m going to do something about it or resign myself to feeling pathetic. I have a post topic I will get to eventually, but right now I’m just not feeling it. Instead, I am just going to post random stuff that’s on my mind.

1. The novel has been untouched for over a week now, and while I feel slightly guilty for letting myself down and am probably not going to finish what I started, I realize that part of it is that I’m bored with it, and after the week I had last week, real life was more important than living in my novel world.

2. I didn’t get a call back (yet) from the pre-job interview. And I can’t decide if I care or not. Why is that?

  • I really don’t like the idea of having to find child care for my kids who are in school part time, and unless I can work 12-5, I don’t see any easy way to make it work, EVEN IF I did find suitable child-care.
  • While I like a challenge, they couldn’t tell me what kind of projects I’d be doing, and if I’d be more than just a lackey. I’d rather not put my kids in daycare just to do the crap jobs no one else wants to do.
  • I didn’t seek this job out. Therefore if I don’t get it, it’s no big loss.
  • My kids are usually sick between October and March. Currently, littlest one (the one with the stapled head) is sick with a wet cough and sniffles and her legs hurt her yesterday.   Do I really want to commit to a brand new job in the middle of the sick season?

3.  I am bored again.  Bored. Bored. Bored.  I’ll admit it.  I hate not working (housework does NOT count as work in my book) or doing something interesting with my time.   Last week, I actually had a taste of what it was like to not be bored.  I dressed up for that job pre-interview, I updated my resume, I actually read a few journal articles about validation studies for the instruments used in that microbiology lab.   I could feel my interest piqued as I read.  I had the emergency room visit for youngest daughter, had my daughter’s former teacher’s wake to attend, husband had last minute guests for dinner Saturday night, and 2 birthday parties on Sunday.   And yes, I realize this point is exactly the reason why I SHOULD care about whether or not I get a call back from the job.  Except, I just can’t bring myself to care because I don’t want to be rejected or think “what if that is my ONLY chance ever to get back in the STEM field?”

4.  I am trying to decide what to direction to go with this blog and if I’m going to drop one of my other blogs (The Wonder Years blog ) because I’m bored with it.  I set this one up to talk about raising my daughters, but lately have been focusing more on me and not them.  And I should do some more with The Exploration Station, because my heart really is with science.

5.  I’m still trying to figure out where I want to go from here with my LIFE.   Something other than blogging…that is for sure.  I got fired from my job as a special needs advocate.  Well, fired in the sense that my formerly selectively mute daughter doesn’t need an advocate anymore.  Which is really good for her.  But not so good for me because I have nothing driving my direction anymore.   I’m just kind of drifting again, following my varied interests, but not really diving deep anymore into a consuming passion.

6.  Have I mentioned I hate feeling this way?  I’m an analytical, organized thinker with the capacity to do lots of things if I have a clear focus.   Work provided that for me.  I really liked working in the lab.  A little too much (I tended to be a workaholic and liked it that way).  Whereas people in my life were unpredictable, my clinical laboratory job was fairly predictable.  I could rely on my tests being run efficiently and accurately because I worked hard at perfecting my skills.   I wasn’t fast, but I was accurate. And I basically ran the lab after my lab director moved out of the lab and upstairs. It was (at the time) the best use of my abilities. I just had that bad habit of getting pregnant frequently (I had 3 pregnancies but lost one during my three years there).

7.  I hate winter in the midwest.  It’s depressing, cold, depressing, dark, depressing, miserable and depressing. Work was a nice distraction from it.

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16 Responses to Just random stuff

  1. Leah says:

    “unless I can work 12-5, I don’t see any easy way to make it work, EVEN IF I did find suitable child-care.”

    You’d said they were going to be flexible about what schedule you’d work (and presumably they have already been aware of your young-children situation before they went even this far with you), so I think you should assume they’d have no problem with 12-5 until/unless you’re told otherwise. And if you have not yet asked your nearby good relatives about potential childcare help yet, you should assume positive results are possible on that too until/unless you’re told otherwise.

    “While I like a challenge, they couldn’t tell me what kind of projects I’d be doing, and if I’d be more than just a lackey. I’d rather not put my kids in daycare just to do the crap jobs no one else wants to do.”

    You’d said they were thinking of hiring you to help them with special projects that would expand their business (so not just doing current leftover “crap jobs”), to work with lab technologies you had sounded excited about before (remember “I would love to get the chance to learn that technology”?). I’d also had the general impression from what you’d written that they were planning on a good amount of autonomy for your potential job, not lackeyness.

    “Last week, I actually had a taste of what it was like to not be bored. I dressed up for that job pre-interview, I updated my resume, I actually read a few journal articles about validation studies for the instruments used in that microbiology lab. I could feel my interest piqued as I read.”

    Regardless of the status and what ends up happening with this particular job opportunity, there’s no reason you couldn’t continue reading journal articles and such, a few every week (or however many/often you like), to feel more like you’re keeping up with your field until an opportunity does work out.

    “I didn’t get a call back (yet) from the pre-job interview. And I can’t decide if I care or not. … I just can’t bring myself to care because I don’t want to be rejected”

    I tend to think that rather than actually not being able to care or not being able to decide whether to care, you *do* already care and are just trying to avoid admitting it to yourself. 😉 So now you’re trying to talk yourself out of giving it a chance.

    You met with them on November 11, so tomorrow November 18, it will have been a week. You are fully within your ‘job-seeking rights’ to call for an update at the one-week point. So I think you should call them tomorrow and tell them you’re checking back since it’s been a week, you’re excited about the opportunity, and you’d like to move forward if they’re interested! 🙂

    “I am trying to decide what to direction to go with this blog and if I’m going to drop one of my other blogs (The Wonder Years blog ) because I’m bored with it. I set this one up to talk about raising my daughters, but lately have been focusing more on me and not them.”

    The posts about yourself on this blog have been great as I identified with much of it, so I hope those may continue to show up in addition to the posts about raising your daughters. You know, the retrospectives and current development of yourself *is* relevant to the “Raising Smart Girls” title, as you are an adult “Smart Girl” still working on ‘raising’ yourself, in addition to raising your smart daughters. 🙂

    Whatever you decide about the “The Wonder Years” blog, I recommend that you don’t close/remove it. There’s nothing wrong with letting a blog sit for a while (even a long while) as you take a break to regroup or rethink, and potentially come back to it again eventually; in the meantime (or indefinitely), it can remain available as a potential resource to be found by people interested in the topics of prior posts.

    “I hate winter in the midwest. It’s depressing, cold, depressing, dark, depressing, miserable and depressing. Work was a nice distraction from it.”

    I agree that dark cold winter weather can feel depressing. Trying to get back into some of the things you’re currently feeling bored with, such as the novel (which you had been so excited about earlier), would probably help. I know sometimes one can just feel ‘blah’ about everything, and yet wish you were doing ‘something’ — the only thing to do is push yourself back into something, to get over the ‘hump’, and you’ll feel better once some momentum and accomplished-feeling kicks in again. 🙂 I also recommend you try using some Vitamin D (D3) softgel supplements (your daughters likely could benefit from some too, particularly since they are prone to having ‘sick season’ at the same time of year as your ‘blah season’).

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Leah –

    Goodness. I’m impressed with your insight. I have to get the kids to bed. I’ll be back later to comment more completely after they’ve gone to sleep.

    Thanks for your thoughts. bbs (be back soon)

    • Leah says:

      Thank you, glad if I can help. 🙂

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        You do help…more than you know.

        It’s incredibly amazing to have someone care enough to pay attention to what I’m saying and actually try to offer some really salient advice.

        It’s quite nice to meet someone who pays attention to the details like you do. I need someone to point out to me when I’m waffling. 😉

  3. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Okay, I’m back.

    Well…let me clarify some things.

    In thinking back to the actual things that were discussed and with whom last week this is kind of how it went down.

    The girl who contacted me was a girl who was my supervisor for a short period of time at the job I worked at 17 years ago. But the owner of the company and one other woman who worked at this company ALSO worked for that former job I had too. They all left the company and went to work for someone else. I can’t remember the circumstances as to why they left (or rather, wasn’t privy to that information). I do remember when someone else left to “start their own lab” they were lots of rumors about them and they got ridiculed behind their backs. I don’t think this was the same people, but I could be misremembering it too.

    Also, owner’s husband (and financial manager of the company) may or may not have worked for that company the rest of us worked for (I don’t remember him, but I think he did too). I couldn’t tell if he was being snarky when he said, “oh, EVERYBODY worked for Laboratory X, didn’t they?” Because by then, I was still feeling ambivalent about the position after taking a tour of the lab and not having a definite “gut feeling” of the place, I didn’t care to brag that I’d gone on from there to work at a highly revered university laboratory.

    When I was there at the “pre-interview”, it was very casual. The former supervisor of mine had said a few confusing statements.

    1. She said they were looking to expand the company.

    2. Later she said, they were looking for “an extra set of hands” for projects as they came through.

    3. She really couldn’t be specific as to what the projects would be because it was totally dependent on the companies that sent them stuff to work on, though there was a project coming soon with some santizers that they company needed “proof” that they killed the germs they claimed they would.

    4. She said owner would probably be flexible, as she was for her when her child was younger (but of course, not being the boss, she couldn’t guarantee it).

    5. The other woman I knew from former job took a look at my resume, really didn’t have any questions, but seemed excited that I had knowledge of PCR techniques.

    6. However, when we talked, she mentioned something about me being useful in “operations”. Which meant what, I’m not sure. It came after me talking about having supervisory and ordering experience. And she was the one to start working on some of the PCR validations, and having some troubles with the small volumes (not used to going from regular microbiology measurements of milliliters of volume, to microliters of volume). That’s when I realized some of the old excitement for what I used to do was still there. But, if I’m in operations, then maybe I wouldn’t be used in a “research” capacity – helping get the new technology up and running. I might have let my imagination run away with me in thinking I might be able to do some of the more exciting stuff. The thing is, I KNOW how lab directors can promise people new challenges, but in reality, the routine stuff takes precedence. I was passed over for some training in my old job because I was TOO GOOD and TOO EFFICIENT at the routine stuff.

    7. I waited 18 months to get hired with the state police forensic job (it was a 4 part process and they were hiring 85 new analysts, 5 of which were for DNA). The best way for me to not go crazy with disappointment if I didn’t get it was by playing like I didn’t care and having a “plan B” (which was going after my master’s degree in analytical chemistry while working at the microbiology lab). I was actually half way through physical chemistry when I got the job offer.

    Right now I don’t have a plan B, because I really didn’t have a plan A.

    Basically, I know because I was feeling ambivalent, I didn’t sell myself as well as I could have. I deliberately didn’t put a lot of details in my resume, thinking well, one of two things will happen – 1) they could ask me more about things and 2) I was not so subconsciously trying to sabotage my chances.

    Why would I do that? Well, because of the fact that I’m not quite ready to take the leap back into the workforce. I really don’t want my kids in a formal daycare setting. I already found out my mother in law and aunt in law can’t watch them, and I don’t really want to stick them in institutional daycare.

    Okay, I think I’m going to start another comment. This is getting long.

    • Leah says:

      Regarding the situation at the 17-years-ago lab, if you no longer remember it fairly clearly (and it sounds like it was rather ambiguous even at the time), then I would consider that to be of little or no importance now, and focus on more concrete and more current factors.

      The only thing I see in your numbered items in this post that could be potential concern at this point is #6. You shouldn’t tell them you don’t want to do *any* routine operations stuff, but it should be fine to tell them something about your desire for more interesting/exciting/researchy work (even if a fraction of your time would have to go to more mundane work) in some nicely-phrased way.

      Bad news about the relatives, phooey. If you don’t want to go through with it because of that, it’s understandable.

      But I think that even if you don’t really want to move forward with this now, you should go ahead and write a better more-complete resume, and preferably send it to this lab as an update (you can just say you didn’t have a chance to prepare a more detailed resume on short notice, and have now had time to improve it). Even if you don’t want to send it to this lab, rewrite it anyway and hang onto it, at least for your future self-confidence/validation and to have a better resume all ready for the future (and your recollection of resume details to include from jobs years ago could fade the longer you wait).

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Thanks for the advice. Yes, I do think I need to revise the resume yet again. I was trying to keep it to one page, which is why I cut a lot out, but I think I’m going to add more back in and I’ll re-send it, along with a cover letter/thank you letter.

        I can tell I’ve been sabotaging myself, because I’ve delayed getting it done already.

        And you are right. I’m not against doing routine work. Lots of times it frees up my mind to think because I can do the routine work practically in my sleep. The other thing I recently read is that some bright minds deliberately chose to do things that were “routine” so that it freed up their minds to philosophize: Socrates was a stone mason, Jesus was a carpenter…uh, there were others and now I can’t remember where I read that. drats.

        It’s just at my last job, I got a little miffed because I really wanted to do some more interesting things. But really, what I SHOULD have done was get one of the techs to train me on some practice samples anyway. I had access to the laboratory on weekends, I theoretically could have learned what I wanted to learn. Except I was pregnant half the time or burnt out the other half the time so I really got lazy. Oh, well, hindsight is 20/20 right?

        I still have copies of protocols (I think) somewhere here that I could study and at least have an understanding of how it’s done, even if I don’t have the actual hands on experience.

      • Leah says:

        “I was trying to keep it to one page, which is why I cut a lot out”

        One-page resumes for anyone in complex ‘STEM’ work who has more than minimal experience = baaaad idea for most uses nowadays. Almost everyone wants to know the specifics of everything relevant you’ve done, not just a job title and a couple-of-lines summary. Consider two pages to be your minimum, three if necessary. Don’t sell yourself short by leaving out half-or-more of the important points of your experience. 🙂 (I am bothered by the minority of people out there who still obsess over an inflexible ‘one-page wall’ and who give bad advice to that effect.)

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Yeah, I know, you are right. I have a 2 page CV that has a lot more on it. I kind of wanted to avoid enumerating exactly what I had done, because of the things I hadn’t done. And that self-sabotage thing.

        I still haven’t heard a thing and have decided to get back to that novel writing.

        You can see the very brief version of my resume (minus locations and companies on this part of the blog


        I even managed to spin-doctor my experience as a “special needs advocate” of my daughter. It was a full time job for a while, especially since I’m the one who did most of the therapy for her at home.

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks for the advice about the blogs. I do know that The Wonder Years has had a ton of hits since I first started it (60,000+ which is crazy), and there are some useful posts there.

    I do know that I think I want to evaluate the blogs’ functions.

    (you can ignore the next part if you want, I’m thinking out loud)

    The Wonder Years started off as more of a toddler/preschooler learning focus. When I started doing science projects, I realized I was taking an AWFUL lot of pictures. So I jettisoned the science portion.

    But then I realized most of my blog posts on The Wonder Years was becoming more math focused. I realize my personal preference was not for arts and crafts, like most family blogs are, but is the math/science stuff. I think I might move/duplicate some of the math stuff onto The Exploration Station.

    I might be a ‘Smart Girl’, but I tell you this, I often don’t feel so smart. I let my insecurity and indecision get in the way of knowing what I should do.

    It’s different now that I have my girls. I’m not struggling with depression like I used to in the early days, but I stil.l don’t have a clear sign of what I should be focused on.

    I want so many things (not in any particular order).

    1. I’d want to promote math and science education starting with my kids (ESPECIALLY because they are girls).

    2. I’d want to write a book or two (or a series). I wish I could have written Harry Potter series, because it’s SO DARN AWESOME!!!

    3. I want to help people.

    4. I want a reason to get out of my house every day for some other reason than to drive kids to school and back and go grocery shopping or doctor’s visits.

    5. While I don’t need money, getting paid for your time and talents is nice and family/friends/acquaintences seem to pay you more respect when you have a job. Paid conferences for work is a nice bonus too.

    6. I want my girls to see their mama (and my husband to see his wife) have a purpose that makes her happy.

    7. I like being alone, but I like interacting with people on the job too. I used to love to talk. I’d have great conversations with one of my subordinates while we did our work. I used to train others and give laboratory tours to visitors. I was good at not just explaining the things we did, but I made it exciting and lively.

    It was nice. For a while, the isolation made me forget how to talk to people. It’s coming back to me now, slowly. But if I get too excited about a particular subject, I still can get tongue tied. It’s kind of sad.

    • Leah says:

      Wow, 60,000 hits! It looks like The Wonder Years has been up since February 2008, so that’s 21 months, for an average of 95 hits every day!

      Your “want so many things” list items are all very good things to strive for. 🙂

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Ironically enough, just a day after I posted that discussion of what I want to do with the Wonder Years blog, I went online to check the comments and the blog stats and found someone linked to my blog and said something really kind about it and another person had passed along a blog award to me.

        It seems that people do find it helpful/inspiring and that really makes me feel really good.

        And there are some other things brewing that I need to investigate.

  5. oh, and thanks for the vit D advice. I’ve been meaning to get some. I wonder if that is a kid-friendly kind, because I know the fish oil liquid I tried to give them last year was not really palatable.

    • Leah says:

      I wrote a response to this already, but it’s looking like WordPress might have eaten it. 😦 Trying again…

      I probably couldn’t stand fish oil liquid myself either. I think most kids should be able to easily swallow a 1000IU Vitamin D softgel. (They are generally available in 400IU, 1000IU, and 2000IU.)

      There isn’t really a large amount of Vitamin D in fish oil liquid even for people who are willing/able to drink it, just 50IU-450IU per teaspoon (varies). The RDA for Vitamin D is 200IU, but that’s just a bare minimum to prevent rickets; much larger amounts are both safe and much more beneficial. (I suggest 1000IU Vitamin D softgels, at least one once a day; try more per serving and/or more servings per day.)

      There are more Omega 3s (and Vitamin A, which is available as softgels too) in fish oil. There are also Omega 3 softgels available (from fish [cod/salmon] oil, krill oil, flaxseed oil, etc), but they tend to be quite large pills, that your kids would probably have trouble swallowing.

      I found a pill size guide at http://www.swansonvitamins.com/en_US/pdf/SizeGuideBW.pdf . You can print it out and compare to sizes of things your girls have been able to swallow. (Be sure the ‘page scaling’ print option is set to ‘none’ so that it doesn’t print larger or smaller than it’s supposed to be.)
      Size C is about the size of a 1000IU Vitamin D softgel.
      Size H is about the size of a 1000mg-1200mg Omega 3 softgel. Although much less common, there are some smaller Omega 3 options out there, down to 500mg in Size E.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks very much for the information. Anyone ever tell you you are very thorough? 😉

    And yet, again I will say you remind me of myself at times.

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