Prelude: He is visiting me, but is currently out of town on an academic visit to a University in another city. And so, obviously, I miss him. But then I thought, why not write our story, something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time now.
So here goes…
I was a PhD student at the Institute and so was he. But, of course, I didn’t know he even existed coz we were in different departments and had no common friends at least in the beginning. I was a regular at the badminton court, going there every evening for a game or two to get refreshed. I love sports and not just passively. I like to play, and at that point in my life I only knew the game of badminton. So, I went to the courts almost every evening and played for a couple of hours. This was back in 2007, yeah I know, long time right! In the next 3 years, I made some friends on the badminton court and had a group that I played with. There were of course periods of inactivity in between due to an overload of coursework and/or some other better distraction. But, I was a regular and people kept coming and going on the courts.
So, of course on any given day, there would be 1-2 people who would be new to the badminton courts. I didn’t know everybody. But, the rule on the courts was to wait your turn for a game and then play doubles with whoever was also waiting during that time. So, it happened that I played with him and 2 other people . I only knew one of the guys in his group. There was also a girl from the Netherlands who was visiting our institute for a few months. I think I asked him for his name while we were all waiting our turns for another game. It was pretty unremarkable. I don’t remember anything about this, except that I talked to him for a few minutes.
And, sure enough, a few days later, I received a Facebook friend request!
Inspired by http://dootsiez.tumblr.com/30before30 blog, I thought I should list out the things I want to do before I turn 30. I don’t have a lot of time left for that. Just a little over a year. But, let’s see what I can do by September 2016.
So, here goes:
- Visit at least 2 other states in the US.
- Learn to drive.
- Learn to swim.
- Publish at least one paper on your own.
- Learn setting and bumping at the net in volleyball.
- Run a 5k.
- Publish at least 4 papers apart from the one mentioned above.
- Make a new friend.
- Write at least 12 blogposts in a year.
- Read at least 10 books in a year.
- Go hiking somewhere in the US.
- Start looking for permanent positions.
- Call or email the kids at least once a month.
- Make a decision about my future with him.
- Decide when I want to get married.
- Build relations with his family.
- Get passports made for Mummy and Papa.
- Learn to cook at least 10 exotic dishes.
Ok, I couldn’t get to 30. I’ll maybe make a list of 35 before 35 sometime after I am 30. Let’s see.
My postdoctoral contract is being extended another 7 months, which seems like good news. Coz that lets me stay here in the same lab for some time while I look for a new postdoctoral job. I am grateful that at least I have this job, while some of my friends are yet to find one because of funding issues or have had to leave one because of visa issues. So far, I face neither. I accepted the offer and then I found out that the salary I was being offered was less than even the minimum stated by the NIH. And that, when I was eligible for more than the minimum because at the start of my reappointment, I will have 2 years of experience. But no, I am being offered less than the minimum given to someone with 0 years of postdoctoral experience.
I hate this systemic exploitation. I know I don’t have another job lined up right now. But, this only motivates me to leave this place sooner. How can someone be given so little when so much is demanded from them?
Sometimes I think why I even did a PhD when I don’t even get valued for it! I do love research, but hey, if your boss does not even acknowledge your years of experience, then it is sheer disrespect to yourself. Postdocs are the rare breed that are at that stage in their lives when they want to have a stable life. But, we are over-worked and underpaid to the extent that we have no personal life left and are working even on weekends. I want to move out of this misery. I want to be free, free to work with people who value my contribution, free to have a life and free to be stable and live my life the way I want with no guilt hovering over me when I don’t work in weekends.
My personal goals would then be to:
- Get a new job with better pay where I am valued.
- Find out all the J visa loopholes and rules and regulations and get the waiver in a timely manner.
- Explore options in industry.
- Finally settle down with my boyfriend and stop this horrible long-distance that we’ve been having for almost 3 years now.
Hope I can finally get on with my life…