I wanted to apologize to my readers for my long absence. Especially for those reaching out about selective mutism.
2015 was a year of many, many difficult and rather alarming changes for the smart girls and I.
I’d re-entered the work force a few years back as a substitute teacher in the local school district. I found that to be an excellent fit for both my personality and my passion for educating others and sharing my love of science. I also found the pay to be insufficient to support my family. People have asked me why I didn’t go into teaching full time. I am a nonconformist. I know I would have a lot of difficulty tailoring my teaching to make better test-takers than better thinkers.
So I looked for a new job in the biosciences, and stumbled across a microbiology laboratory within a half an hour from my home. It turned out that it was my lucky break that offered an on-ramp back into the biotech field. I loved it and hated it. Interesting work, but long, long hours on my feet. We were not allowed to sit on chairs while we worked, I worked every other weekend 10-12 hours at that (the weekdays were anywhere from 7-9 hours) and standing all day was brutal. I’d come home with swollen ankles. And I had to work every other weekend, which was hard on family life.
And as it turned out, my husband and I ended up separating as well. Long, slightly painful story. He moved out in August, just a few days after the smart girls went back to school.
Juggling my crazy work schedule with being a single mom really complicated matters. Working every other weekend was difficult too. I would come home exhausted, fall into bed for a short rest before I made dinner, and often cried.
We had a high turnover rate, so when people kept leaving, that just put additional stress on my laboratory and my department. I was learning so much in a short period of time, but it came at a great expense. There were personality clashes with one of my trainers, and he was getting ragey at our lab manager, who was a woman. When I overheard him say something about “going on a killing spree”, in addition to hearing about how OTHER people went a little nuts on the job, I decided this job wasn’t worth losing my sanity or my life over. I blew the whistle on my trainer, he got fired (not only for saying that, but for the history of conflict he had with others). Not only fired, but removed from our lab by police escort. I felt a little badly about that, but only a little. I was more afraid of him, who mentioned something about PTSD he suffered from being in the military, some things other people said about him, and taking out his anger with management on the rest of us.
When it came time for the holidays and I wasn’t getting the time off I needed to be with the kids while they were on break, and having them tell me I needed to put in my EXTRA weekend that month just broke me down.
I decided to quit, 8 months after I begun. Not the most ideal way, with no job to go to, but I don’t regret it anyway.
I’m on the job hunt again.
And in my search, I had a short email conversation with the laboratory director of a cytogenetics laboratory at a local university medical center, that unfortunately had to shutter their windows due to low sample volume.
I was hoping to apply to her lab, but now I can’t, which is fine. However, this conversation made me revisit a few of my old project ideas, including this blog, selective mutism, female attrition in the STEM field, and a few others.
And, I’ve neglected this blog. I apologize for that. VERY much.
I didn’t remove this blog, but I also didn’t look at it for the longest time.
I had the interest, but the time and the energy and the emotional strength I needed was being eaten up by the dissolution of my marriage and working 40-55 hours a week and taking care of a home all by myself.
I’m going to be going through the comments no matter how old they are and at least will be trying to respond to the comments left. I also will try to figure out a way to put some of the materials people are requesting somewhere they can be accessed without having to wait for me to get back to you to send them off to you.
I will also intend to write a few more blog posts about a few things that are germinating in me.
I hope I’ll be better able to maintain the dialogue that was started here. I am working my way back to the older comments…and I know it will take a while.
All the best,