I am someone that always thought I had very clear goals in my mind. Simply as finding fulfillment in my personal and professional life. Finding the balance it’s never easy, and after sharing my life with someone for a couple of years I realized I left my professional desires behind. Slowly started back on track, still trying not to lose the balance between both. However, after being forced to stay one year in home country due to a denied visa, I felt my time for finding my professional pathway was getting short. Started focusing everything on getting a TT job, and actively avoiding any possibility of finding someone that could lead me out of my professional goals.
I’ve applied for about 15 jobs last year. Didn’t have a single interview. After attending to several job talks at my University I just realized my CV was just not good enough for the positions I applied. No glam publications and no grant or fellowships in the USA. Also, reading on twitter how bad the research funding was, seeing how many junior faculties were struggling to keep going made me think that maybe this life was not for me! I kept thinking that I was going to allow myself to have a personal life again after I got a job, but how long this is going to take? I’m almost 38 and my time to have a family it’s little. Maybe it will never happen, but I still wanted to try… Our R01 is going to finish in January 2015. My PI has retired and now we have a new PI that’s not exactly related to the field. We managed to write a decent proposal for renewal, but as things are so tough out there we have serious concerns about getting the renewal. I told myself I was going to wait until we get the scores to start applying for jobs.
Then, despite all the odds, I found someone. Told myself it was going to be just for fun, that it could never get serious. We were from too different worlds, and he could never move from here. On science you have to be able to move where you find a job, right? But slowly I started to enjoy his company more than I should. Although it never became an official relationship we started to get closer and closer. It reminded me that work cannot be everything in life. And helped me to avoid thinking about my uncertainties and fears. But he was broken too for his own reasons, and now that we finally broke up I feel like both of us were using the other as an excuse to feel a little better.
Now I feel lost. I’m terrified with the idea of our R01 not being renewed. I believe my CV it’s not good enough to go for a TT job, and I’m not sure anymore if I want the craziness involved. The taste of maybe finding someone to share my life and finally have a family made me think that I’ve been postponing this for way too long. But on the other hand, I look at other alternatives and nothing really appeals to me. Industry scares me because I don’t feel like leaving my research that I’ve been pursuing for 15+ years. Teaching would be nice, but again, I don’t feel like I’ll be happy without the bench. But really? I think that I wouldn’t mind trying something different if I was younger, or if I wouldn’t have to move, to change my entire life around for the unknown. A lot of effort for a possible failure.
People around me just says that I’m focusing on the bad possibilities. That there are many other ways to be happy in life, and I should be excited with possibilities of finding happiness somewhere else, doing something new. But all I can think it’s being scared….