Sunday, March 27, 2011

bad signs

Someone in my subfield once said (though he was perhaps not the first), "Life's too short to work with assholes"

If there is any perk to working at a SLAC, it is this: I don't have to be so concerned with publishing that I put up with asshole co-PIs just so I can get data and publish publish publish. And I have been really, really lucky to find an awesome group of people to work with at my summer field project - we all get along, we have fun, no one pressures anyone else when life happens and derails project plans. We even have an interesting mix of career stages and institutional settings between us, which provides for a lot of benefits (good insurance from an R1, good undergrad participants from a SLAC, etc).

My winter work is a different story, but one that has largely been tempered by the fact that it is secondary to my summer project and it involves my dissertation area, which I know a lot about. However, the team there is ginormous and I am largely just consulting, with very little interest paid in what I have to say. I have previously considered quitting the project, but haven't been pushed that far quite yet, and there are a number of people I enjoy there even if they aren't working with me directly.

Recently this winter project brought in some other scientists who had previously worked in similar settings; we got a lot of great work done as a result, and we might be able to tell a pretty cool story in the end. I enjoyed being part of a team again, instead of just doing my own thing, but I'm also finding that these particular colleagues are not my ideal cohort. In particular, the head of the team is Famous, and whether that is causative or not, pushy and demeaning of others' ideas at times. I particularly don't appreciate being told that I am wrong about things that I've been the only one to publish on, ever, by someone who just showed up yesterday. I think the collaboration will be useful, but I'm not really enjoying it, and I'm looking forward to my summer team even more this year.

We'll see how long I stick it out. I'd love to get a pub or two from my winter site, but if I don't, I'll survive, and I will probably be fine in terms of publishing for tenure. Lucky me.

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