Oh man I've been neglecting this site. Here's what's been happening:

I met with a biology professor to talk about becoming a research assistant and someday a grad student. He can set me up with lots of work, from cataloging a department library to dissecting pocket gophers to identifying the invertebrates that live inside the pocket gophers. Lots of work to do, as long as I don't need paying. Also he warned me that funding is getting tighter, that people are getting into the biology doctoral program at Local Land-grant U and discovering that there aren't enough TA positions and research assistantships to go around. I quietly began to freak out. I'll get back to you, I said, and shook his hand.

I went home and read up on basic science grants. Bush's proposed budget would freeze the NSF and NIH. Less money every year. Maybe I can't be a researcher when I grow up.

Then I had the run-up to my thirtieth birthday, which freaked me out in its own distinct way.

Then my volatile work situation moved into a not-just-intense-but-actually-hostile phase.

It was about then that I noticed I was a wee bit suicidally depressed around the edges. Just in time for spring break, which I spent under the covers except for 40 hours of zombie-like cash register work.

The week after that, I had to transition back into school, and attend 35 hours of database training. My boss jumped down my throat when I asked a question she thought was subordinate. When she paused to catch her breath, a database classmate offered me a job at his store in California. That raised my morale nicely! I'm not going to California, but I thanked him for the gesture.

Things started to get better. I got flattering attention from a guy (and he doesn't have a stupid name, Em!). The geeky college boys next door let me join in their trebuchet festivities over the weekend. I went swimming for the first time in months, mmmm.

Then I got a call. "We know you got a letter that thanked you for your application, and said we filled the position. However, things didn't work out, and we would like to interview you. Are you still interested in the position? Can you come in tomorrow morning?" Two days later, I was offered the job. Can you see me grinning? I gave notice yesterday.
"Drop of the key, Lee, and get yourself free."

I haven't forgotten about school. I'm going to keep aiming at doctoral admission, but I'm going to take my time and avoid as much student debt as I can along the way. The new job is more flexible, and I plan to take one or two classes next semester. And hey, if the message keeps coming across that the world has enough research scientists already, it won't be the end of the world. In two weeks I'll be working for a company with a much lower coefficient of insanity, which won't eat my soul for breakfast, and I could probably stay there until I'm eighty if I choose.

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