Drugmonkey has a very timely post up on the coming institutional squeeze (which Alex also noted a few days ago) and what it might mean for holding onto the old jobby-job. While I cannot predict what is going to happen in my neck of the woods, I can see squeezing heading for me in all directions. My current task, which I chose to accept some time ago, is to make my behind one valuable set of buns. So what’s my plan?
First a disclaimer. I actually have no idea if my plan is working; however, I knew this was coming and I’ve been working on it for awhile now. Moreover, I can read the perception of my peers around here and I think I’m succeeding, at least with a select group of people that might be able to protect me if the crap hits the wall (or the fan).
So here’s the step by step plan:
1) Now is not the time for slacking. I’ve been traveling, working more hours than usual (and for me that’s saying something) and generally saying yes to everything I can possibly handle. All of this by way of demonstrating that I am a dedicated and important (although rather low ranking) part of the local operation. If I get canned, other people’s jobs will get more difficult (at least they might have that perception).
2) Not only am I saying yes to everything I can handle, I am creating new things to say yes to. This means, primarily, doing some extra homework on opportunities. Be they foundations no one has ever heard of, mechanisms that once seemed far fetched or too hard or new opportunities with industries or even starting our own. At this point, everything is on the table.
3) Any previously inhibited bit of creativity that I used to hold back is now spilling out. Now is not the time to stay in the box. Sometimes I fear that this will lead to some embarrassment. Thus far it hasn’t, only to finding out that looking at problems from different angles is well appreciated by my colleagues.
4) I don’t often talk about just how bad I want this career but I have made a point of it a few times in the past weeks. I’ve done this not so much to inspire some sort of empathy that might save my job at some point but to make the point that by staying focused on keeping jobs in place through hard work we can overcome some of the negativity that is creeping into certain circles. This whole financial crisis hasn’t been fun for anyone. Its best not to focus on how terrible its getting but rather to focus on how we can collectively survive it. Whatever you can do to stay positive.
5) Despite the collective fear of what can happen if things truly head south, I have found that certain aspects of the current situation have been somewhat liberating. For instance, as mentioned above, the output of creativity in terms of twisting and turning projects to fit possible funding avenues has opened up my scientific horizons to many things I hadn’t considered before. The nothing to lose attitude I’m adopting has also done wonders for the ever creeping imposter syndrome, which I haven’t detected in some time now. Again, whatever you can do to stay positive.
6) Just in case I do get the axe, no bridges are being burned. In fact, bridges are being actively maintained and some new ones are getting built. Did I mention I really want this career? You do know its a career, right, and that its a real privilege to have it. Nobody owes us anything just ’cause we can do some science.
So, that’s what I’m doing to keep my “eyes on the prize“. How about you?
Oh yeah, and just in case you haven’t done it yet. WRITE THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND TELL THEM WE NEED MORE SCIENCE FUNDING!!!