That pretty much sums up how I feel after the first week in my new postdoc lab. Despite spending the week in orientations, doing online training, and reading papers for my new project, I’m pumped up about science again. It is a wonderful feeling. Here are a few highlights of the week:
- The institutional environment is quite different–a research hospital as opposed to a university department. So far it seems pretty good, but there’s much to learn about the system.
- The lab is very small (for my field, at least)–less than 5 people, counting the PI–and so far quite friendly.
- We all (postdoc, PI, and myself) seem to be on the same page about my involvement in the projects and future authorship. My project is going to take advantage of methods the postdoc is using and involve setting up new methods. There will be overlap in methods and theme for our projects, but we’ll be approaching it from different sides and probably target unique questions along the way.
- I have received more career mentoring in a week than I did in over a year at my last place.
- I will, for the first time ever, being taking home (slightly) more earnings than I did as a grad student. It’s about damn time.
- The other postdoc is super fit. She often goes for a run or hits the gym across the street for an hour or so in the afternoons and has invited me to tag along. This will definitely provide more motivation for me to amp up and stick to my workout schedule.
- The PI is a huge Yankees fan, which according to Dr. Becca, scores about a hundred points in his favor.
- The lab has some kick ass instrumentation–like SnapID, Typhoon imaging system, new or upgraded fluorescence microscopes–with some substantial pieces being installed just before my arrival.
- My commute is longer but only involves hopping on a train close to my apartment and cruising along for about 30 to 45 minutes. It’s actually been kind of nice because it gives me time to read or write without other distractions–like TV, internet, housework…
- From what I’ve gathered from the postdoc and the PI, unlike some people I’ve encountered, the PI is not obsessed with face time. He takes the view that if you’re not taking care of yourself and your family, then you’re probably going to be miserable, and that misery can, and most likely will, affect your work in the lab.
- Benefits are quite good. I’m still able to afford a decent health plan for Paramed and me, plus a vision plan, to boot. My employer also offers life insurance. They pay for 1x salary policy and then employees can opt for more. It’s a good thing, but it’s weird to discuss with your significant other how much you should take out so they’ll be OK in the event of your death.
The first week was good, but I’m looking forward to digging into some real research this week!