It’s been more than a month since I’ve been to the SFN meeting. My first SFN meeting was in 2002 in Orlando, and since then I’ve only missed one in 2013 when I had visa problems. Last year I was not in academia anymore, nor doing anything related to neuroscience, but decided to attend regardless because I simply love this meeting and it’s a great place to see old (and twitter) friends! Well, that’s what I used to tell myself. This year I decided to attend to the SFN meeting last minute. Filled my itinerary with people I wanted to catch up with, but this year I added some (potential) customers as well. After all, I’ve been working on my *new* job for a year and a half, and I feel way more confident about all the chemistry and products now. Sales it’s all about relationships, and I know that being a people person is a big advantage that I have.
But as days of SFN passed, I started to feel so… happy for being there! Not only because of friends or fun, but because… I wasn’t sure exactly why. Did I miss academia? After talking to a couple of people about dept problems, grants, and funding – I knew that I didn’t miss that part of academia. I didn’t miss the specific research I was doing either, but it took me several days to understand my feelings. I’ve spent some time talking to people that do Science Outreach and Science Communication. I attended to the scicomm pannel. During SFNBanter I’ve met amazing people that made me realize Science can be so much bigger than an experiment, or any particular research!
Immediately after SFN I had a training meeting for my new job. It was a stressful one, after the elections and with the certainty to have to deal with a lot of republicans there. But it wasn’t that what made it a not so nice meeting. It was the contrast of people, of ideas, of views! At some moment I felt like I swallowed the bird (sorry for The OA reference), and I finally saw things so much clearer. What I miss is Science, as a whole, under a broad perspective. There are so many problems with the way Science is funded, published, and communicated to the public. I feel there are so many ways I could make a difference and help Science to be a ‘better place’. During this past month I’ve done a couple of informative interviews that helped me see what’s out there and what type of job I could pursue to go this route. I feel some job where I’d have to meet people and advocate for science would be ideal, but there are other Science Outreach options that I’m attracted as well. Right now let’s say this is a ‘work in progress’ and I’m hoping the right opportunity will eventually show up, if I’m opened to it.
As we say in our Recovering Academic podcast “your next job doesn’t have to be your last, and it probably won’t”. I’m not sure where I’ll go after my current job. I’m not even sure IF I’m going somewhere after this. But right now, I just feel that life can be bigger and better. It’s not that I don’t like my job, but I feel I want to do more. I want to make a difference. And that’s my goal for 2017. Advocate for Science. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing it through Twitter, through our #DiversityJC, and even with our #RecoveringAcademic podcast, in a way. But I’m looking for alternatives, and hopefully I’ll find my new path. And be happier!
Ps. Title of this post inspired by Pearl Jam, Reviewmirror