90 days

What would you do with 90 days?

I am 30+ days into a 90 day “transition” out of my current job. I can remember like it was yesterday my disappointment in thinking that I would not get this job, my dream job, back in 2007. A little time and luck turned things around. I can still remember the excitement of the first week in January of 2008 when everything was new (and apologies, recent domain changes mean all of the links in that old posts will be broken). The best way that I found to describe my job was “I help people make their dreams come true.” Best job ever. I am going to miss it.

Just 10 days before I learned that my situation would change I gave this interview on our local news channel related to our annual business plan competition. More info here. 10 days after this moment I learned that my job title/duties would be restructured. I was offered the opportunity to retain a different job but did not feel that I would be the best person for that new position. Some people have told me that I should have accepted the offer in these perilous economic times, that A JOB is better than NO JOB, even if it is a job for which one is not enthusiastic or qualified and that I should have begun job hunting while I was allegedly working at the new job. And there is a part of me that really wishes I could have taken their advice. It would have been the safe thing to do. But at the end of the day, in all things, I am either all in or not at all. When I commit to a job, it’s 24/7. I did not feel that I could give that level of commitment to the new position.

And so, a 90 day transition plan was negotiated. So far, I have applied for 14 jobs. I was rejected for 2 of them (ouch but I’m glad they were quick about it); 2 were retracted (i.e. the companies decided not to fill the positions); and, I withdrew my application from 1 of them (decided I would not give it my all). Just waiting on the rest knowing that long waits are not good things.

And suddenly 30 days have passed. Poof. Only 60 days left before things get interesting. And I am pondering how I’ve spent the last 30 days and how I should spend the next 60. I spent a week with an uncle with end stage renal disease, diabetes, etc. He was in the hospital and it was time well spent. The mother and nephew of someone important to me was in town for the last month and I spent a lot of time with them. Again, time well spent. But I am still thinking about the impact and legacy I want to have. ALL.OF.THE.TIME.

And yet, it’s so easy for me to get distracted and for the hours to pass quickly. I recently discovered ReGenenis on Hulu. I watched 6 episodes back to back. I will likely never watch CSI again. While the lab techniques are primitive, the science discussed is rock solid, likely because they recruited great scientific consultants for the show. While ReGenesis has been off air for a few years, I am loving the hubris, the flawed personalities, the total commitment to the work, the agony and ecstasy of the discovery, the sleepless nights, the dreams of research, the desire to make a difference, etc.

I’ve been closing out an NIH funded research project for the last few years. We are finally almost out of grant dollars. I have very mixed emotions about this. I love watching the scientific drama unfold on TV but the reality of most discovery research is much slower with the potential for a much smaller impact. I want to support discovery research but I don’t necessarily want to do it anymore. I prefer discoveries that are in transition to commercialization. Mine was not. I’ve been working in laboratories since 1985. 25 years. More than half my life. The funding should run out just about when my 90 day transition ends. Yikes.

So many endings coming soon. So much change. I have never had a “break” this long and don’t expect to have one again. I like to be busy, to add value, to make a difference. There are only 60 days left. How should I best spend this time? Travel? Spanish Immersion Course? Volunteer? Learn to Surf?