That’s why I’m still single

Sometimes I catch myself imagining a hypothetical man who describes the woman of your dreams:
“She has to work and study hard, have an inbox always crowded with emails. Her feet must have calluses and blisters because she walks with very high heels, back and forth. She should be independent and do what she wants with her own salary: buy an expensive bag, donate to a social project, travel by herself to Eastern Europe. She needs to be a good driver and to do her own taxes. Cooking? No need! There’s a a certain charm to even mistake the rice. She doesn’t need to be in shape, because she doesn’t have time to do all that she does and still workout. But above all: she has to be sure of herself and doesn’t want to depend on me or anyone else. ”

Yeah. I haven’t heard this speech from any man. Not even part of it. Maybe that’s why I’m single here, still fighting.
The fact is that I’ve been thinking about it. In the amazing dissonance between the way that us, girls and young women were raised and the expectation of most boys, young men, men and old men.
What our parents expect of us? What we expect from us? And what do they expect from us?
We are the generation that was created to win the world. Encouraged to study, work, travel and above all, build our independence. The few cakes I ever made never made my mother’s eyes shine like my A grades at school. The days when I’ve dressed flawlessly never stamped a proud smile in my father’s face as he gave me when I’ve got my PhD. When I decided to do a short course of gastronomy my parents thought it was cool. But when I decided to do a short course in French language and civilization at the Sorbonne they inflated their chest like pigeons.

We never had sewing classes. Never learned to cook a stew. No one asked us to change a cousin’s diaper. No one explained to us the difference between whitener and bleach. Just as it happened with the boys of our generation. But they taught us sports. We did learn a second language. Learned to drive. Learned how to build a good resume. To work without fear and to invest our money. Just as it happened with the boys of our generation.

But, listen, did someone remember to warn those boys that we would be like this? That we would fight for the same jobs with them? That we would prefer to dine out rather than cook dinner? That we would like beer, whiskey, football and UFC? That we wouldn’t want to account for what we do? That we would be willing to find happiness in freedom and we dread submission?
And then, us, with our crumpled shirt at the end of the day, our heavy purse, cell phone beeping with 26 new emails, girlfriends waiting for dinner, car unwashed, 4 meetings scheduled for tomorrow, ask ourselves “what guy on earth will want to be with me?”.

Maybe if I was more delicate … didn’t curse that much. Didn’t have subordinates. Didn’t drive alone at night without fear. Maybe if I appeared fragile. Maybe if I said that I do not mind washing his underwear. Maybe … ” But no. These is not who we are. We want a companion, side by side, as equals. Many of us dream of children. But not only them. We want to make a risotto. But we may want to die if we our partner gives us a blender for our birthday. We want to tell you how our day was. But we will not allow anyone to question our routine.

The fact is, who was educated to want us? Which man is safe enough to love a woman who flies? Who is willing to make us want to land on your side at the end of the day? Who understands that lying on his chest is our way of cuddling? And that sometimes we will need your lap and sometimes we just want company for a wine? That we are the generation of the partnership and not of dependence?

And I’m not here on a tirade, blaming men. No. The fault is not exactly theirs. It’s from the society as a whole. From the way we were raised. The image that the world has of woman. From the parents who raise daughters to the world, but desire brides to live built in family. In the end we are nothing like the collective unconscious that the world expects from a woman. And best of all: we neither want to be like that. Let it be clear, we’re not going backwards. So it’s that old mentality that needs to move forward. We’ve opened ourselves to win the world. Now the world has to turn around to win us back.

Tips for your industry resume

As I am not sure if I am going to have a job or not next year, I decided to be prepared. If necessary, I will have to apply to everything and everywhere. And this includes industry jobs. I’ve never ever done a resume in my entire life, and it took me a lot of effort to come up with a decent draft. Luckily I met a person working for the government that was kind enough to look at it and today we had a coffee meeting to discuss it. It was really useful and I hope I can help people our there!

– Leave the impostor syndrome behind. Academics tend to be too modest and don’t brag about themselves. Don’t short sell yourself. If you think you are good at something, call yourself an expert. Make it stand in your resume. You should put it in a way that you are the best person on earth with those skills.

– Make it simple. To the point. They don’t care about where you gave the talk or even the title of it. Just that you are an excellent speaker with extensive practice on oral presentations and teaching. For every skill, set up how you acquired that skill, in a clear and concise way (I know, it’s easier said than done).

– Try to read it with the mind of someone that doesn’t really have lab experience and explain why that particular point is great. One cannot just say “supervised XX UG and XX GS”, but also state what they were being trained to do. Don’t assume they will know why you think that particular bullet point is important to be there. Explain it.

– Add a section named “Professional Development” where you can add service and other things that are not skills neither job experience. Peer review, member of associations, organizing committee for scientific conferences. They like service. It shows outside involvement and initiative.

– Also cut the BS. Critical thinking and other skills that any other scientist will have don’t need to be in your resume.

Hope it helps! Good luck 🙂

I feel like I’ve failed

So lately I’ve been focusing on trying to understand why I’m in such a mess lately. Of course, a lot is going on in my life, but seriously I’ve never been so beaten down as in the last couple of weeks. It’s not just that I don’t know if our grant is going to be renewed and I’ll have a job next year. It’s not just that I don’t know what I want to do next. It’s not just the end of my “relationship”. Or my green card that never arrives.

Deep inside I feel like I’m a failure. Feel that I’ve failed in my professional life and I’ve failed in my personal life. I am almost 40 years old and I see myself in a foreigner country, with no stable job and no family around me. Deep inside I know that we make our own choices in life, and I know I could still be “married” if I wanted. But after that I also know I focused myself so hard into my professional life, leaving every feeling and every possibility of relationship for a future “after I get a job”. Years went by, I had to spend a year away in home country, and when back everything I did was to find that dream TT job. That never happened.

It seems that this last short relationship just made me aware to the fact that I am getting old, and I’m getting out of time. I still dream to find someone and have kids, but, can I really dream about that AND a TT position? While I was with him it seems that I lost my focus in a certain way. It was good, I was happy. But I lost my focus. Now that I’m finally seeing things clearer now, I can see my fear of the unknown was indeed fear of having to choose between my work or love life. So, as everything is over now, I should be happy and just focus on my career again, right?

Wrong. The little bug has been awaken. It’s there, all the time. Your biological clock is ticking and you have to be aware of that. Don’t shut yourself down like you’ve done during all these years, find someone nice and just settle down. I wish things could be simple as that. I’ve never been that kind of woman. If I was, I’d be married to my long-time BF from UG and be *happily* working as a dentist in a little town in the middle of nowhere at home country. I always wanted more. I always had big dreams. I wanted to be big. Today I realized I can’t be scared of being alone. Maybe a family is not for me and I was born to be by myself. Maybe I’d regret it someday. But I think that’s just the way I am, and I’m way to old to change it.