Musing

Cultivating Patience

I don’t do bored very well. Or patient, for that matter. I can do both of them, although I get a bit twitchy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I joked the other day about being an adult meant that I could indulge in something small from time to time, but it also means that I have to look at the long term, and decide that yes, I’m bored, and yes, I’m frustrated, but that’s no excuse to go rabbiting off the trail. I have a plan, and I think what I’m doing is the best way to implement that plan. I just need to cultivate patience.

Work is a necessary evil. I may be a writer, but that’s because I want to write, not out of any idea that I will make a living at writing. I’d intended to go along writing and releasing a novel now and then so when I retired I’d have a tidy little stream of income off my backlist. Things… didn’t quite work out the way I’d planned. The Pixie for Hire series hit bigger than I’d thought possible, for something I wrote to amuse my First Reader. There was a moment when I thought ‘you know, I could just do this writing thing and not… no. I’ve wanted to be a scientist all my life. I’m doing this.’ And now, I’m doing it. Or rather, to use an invertebrate metaphor, I’m doing the larval version of being a scientist. if I can have the patience to not go hurling myself off nearby heights trying to fly before I have wings, I will hopefully pupate into a full-fledged scientist in two to three years. Maybe. If I am on the right track.

But I won’t know if I’m on the right track if I don’t have the patience to plod through all the boring bits first. It’s not the bench work in the lab. I like that. Sure, it’ll get very repetitive as the months go by, but I can deal with that sort of tedium. The problem I’m having is administrative – I’m not cleared to conduct actual data collection until I have access to the lab computer system. No one wants this to happen, least of all me. But there’s nothing we can do, it seems, except to wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to grind ahead a bit more. So in the meantime I’m really, really bored. I’m training, on paper, and helping with various administrative projects. I’m quite good at admin stuff. But I knew that already.

And in the evenings I try to refrain from looking at job openings, or Master’s programs, and thinking about how I could be doing some job where there was more to, you know, do. Training is good, training is necessary. Jobs all have annoying bits, I just need to wait it out.

I think the worst thing is not knowing if I’m doing the right thing with this. This is a totally new career for me, and I don’t have the network, the mentors to ask for assurance that I’m on the path I need to be to achieve my goals. All I can do is wait and see.

And if I fail in science? Well, then I guess I’ll just write.

4 thoughts on “Cultivating Patience

  1. The beginning bits are always hard. If a lab is where you want to be you are on the right track. Even after the training is done and you get to dig in more, there will be spans of time that will drive you insane with the tedium. I used to pick up side projects. Almost every company has things that could be looked at but no one wants to do it. (Kinda like cleaning out a basement. It needs to be done, but it is not disrupting anything so it gets put off.) Now Big S scientists may do more exciting stuff, but in general they all started at a “bench” of some kind as the new kid and had to learn all the bits too. Keeping the brain busy the way you do is the key.

    1. Thank you Tammie, that helps. I do eventually want to work at getting my Master’s, and then a PhD, but I don’t necessarily want to go into Academia so I’m not sure what that leaves me. And I also know that what I’m doing now, in addition to the bench experience I need, is giving me glimpses of different industries through having worked in food QC, and now drug QC. I’m not sure either is what I want to do as a career. I do know that forensic science needs me to have a couple of years of bench work before I can try breaking in. I was looking at an online Master’s in Criminology which can be had for relatively little money, or one in Bioinformatics which wouldn’t be online and would cost about twice as much. I will take my time and be patient 😀

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