What’s Next?

Never in my life have I been in a place where I didn’t have something to do.

I started preschool at 4. I received my degree at 20. I got my admission deferred to grad school for a year to take care of family issues but I knew that was my next step. I received graduate degree at 29. When I defended my thesis I already knew where I would be working in the fall. That summer I even worked two jobs (teaching and research) before I moved to New York. With that said, I’m no stranger to work and education. I’ve never been indolent.

For the past 20 months I’ve poured a lot of time and effort into my job. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about my research. I make a decent amount of money which means shit because I live in an expensive city. I work weekends (without pay). I work[ed] 8-12 hour workdays (without overtime). I don’t complain because it comes with the territory. This is the profession I chose. I like science. I like that my work is rewarding and may some day go into saving countless lives.

I like science but I’m also interested in politics. I’ve paid attention to Obamacare to the presidential election to the looming fiscal cliff and more recently the recent sequestration. Politics interest me but it has never really affected me in a personal way. I’d tune into MSNBC or CNN and see accounts of people who were laid off in private and government sectors due to choices made in Congress. While I may have felt for them it never really hit home. Until two weeks ago.

For anyone reading this who isn’t really sure how basic science research is funded I’ll break it down for you. If you are a basic scientist unless you work for a private company like Merck, Pfizer or Johnson&Johnson chances are the money that pays your salary comes from the government in the form of research grants from agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH- the largest), the Department of Defense (DOD), National Science Foundation (NSF), etc. This means that the money that funds the research done in this country on diseases such as cancer, HIV, muscular dystrophy, ADHD, etc is earmarked by Congress and approved by the President of the United States.

These are the cuts that some research agencies are facing due to the sequestration:

National Institutes of Health: $2,393,820,000
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $444,600,000
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: $29,016,000
Food and Drug Administration: $191,100,000
National Science Foundation: $538,200,000

I never really thought about how Congress’ ineptness could lead to me being without a job. That is exactly what happened two weeks ago. My boss called me into her office and told me that she had been writing two different grant proposals and they both got really good scores that under normal circumstances would have gotten funded but because of the sequester they weren’t. Basically she ran out of money to pay as many people as she does. I could write about how my boss had to have seen this coming months in advance but only gave me 30 days notice but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to focus on the positive.

For now I’m content to move back to the DMV (a place I haven’t lived in 9 years) and relax for a little bit. I haven’t been able to kick my feet up in such a long time. I’ll be working on a couple of projects that I’ve never had the time to start, playing in a couple basketball leagues, and I may even get my bartender’s license. I know I will be traveling a great deal this summer so I might be coming to a city near you. I know what my next move will be but I don’t exactly know when it will be and I’m ok with that. I’m excited about the possibility of continuing cancer research while expanding my teaching experience and working with outreach initiatives. Until then I’m going to enjoy time to myself. Something that I haven’t done in a long time.

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30 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  1. Silent Scorpion

    I’m thrilled about your opportunity to regroup and take time to do other things that you love but have been pushed to the way side. I think this time will be the perfect opportunity to enjoy you. So do that and hit the ground running when the time is right.

    Congratulations on your unknown journey! You may not know your exact path but you have a great vision for positively affecting the future.

    Kudos

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      thanks SS! i’m also excited to do those things as well. my job just leaves little room for all my other interests. i had to sneak and right this post on my “lunch break”.

      Reply
  2. fourpageletter

    good for you! this is happening for a reason and just means your next step will be even more awesome!

    Reply
  3. Nathalie Diadhiou

    WOW! This was a good read! the DMV is a great area. I’m from there and its my haven. You never know where life might lead you after this ordeal, but its wonderful that you look at it from a positive lens and not a negative one. Good luck and enjoy the summer πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. She's Savvy

    Hey Tunde! I was literally just on your blog the other day wondering what was up. Sorry to hear about the job situation but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Last year this time I was without a job, or should I say a FT job. I enjoyed all two months of my sabbatical as I still like to jokingly call it.

    All the best while you relish in your time off and welcome back to the DMV! Maybe I’ll see you around. I’m sure you’ll be owt during centennial!

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      Hey Savvy! yeah i don’t think i’ll be getting a full time during this summer. more than likely i may do a little teaching on the side or bartending if i get my license soon enough. i’ll definitely be owt at centennial but i’ll see you around. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Gem

    ive witnessed you deal with this headache from day one and i greatly admire your strength, courage an level headedness. i know this journey hasnt been an easy one and many obstacles have been placed before you to try and throw you off – but you persevered and kept true to yourself.

    i pray God grants you all that you seek in your career and other endeavors. its an ucertain but exciting time for you. cant wait to see the next step manifest πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      Thanks Gem. it was kinda hard to stay positive but with the help of a strong support system i did the best the not let this situation get the best of me. on to bigger and better things!!!

      Reply
  6. *Yoles*

    everything happens for a reason… enjoy the rest, the travel and the time to just breathe… wishing you the very best πŸ˜€

    Reply
  7. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

    This may be a opp for something great. Enjoy your time off and hopefully Uncle Sam removes his thumb out of his a**. (for once.) How weird do you think living in the DMV after such a long time will be for you?

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      its gonna be kinda awkward especially on the family front. i’m the only one who has ever left the area. that allowed a buffer zone between me and a lot of family drama. i am looking forward to hanging out with a lot of my friends from hs and undergrad tho.

      Reply
  8. EvolvingElle

    There’s always a silver lining to every situation! Kudos to you for staying positive and not letting this stop you for pursuing any goals! And if you start bartending, I’ll have to come out and support! And like Savvy, I’m sure I’ll see you owt during centennial! πŸ™‚ (Well, I guess we have to meet IRL for me to know who you are…) Anywho, congratulations on the next steps in your professional career!

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      lol that is true we would have to meet first. don’t really have a list of events but i’m not going to be too owt. perhaps make a party or two and maybe some community service if y’all have any going on. lol thanks!

      Reply
  9. kdbarnes

    Sorry to hear that congress’ fecklessness interfered with your job, but it’s awesome you’re dealing with it so well. Being forced to take time for you can be a great thing. I look forward to the live NBR meeting I’m sure you’re planning.

    Reply
  10. That Damn African

    Sorry about the job situation bro. The government is playing games with these funding situations. Thankfully this happened after you already got your degree. I have funding for the next 2 years, which should be enough to finish my degree, but I wouldn’t know what to do if I was without funding before I finished.

    Like others have said, this may just be the unfortunate situation that you need to help you walk into a better opportunity.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      son i have friends still at meharry that should have graduated a year ago but their research was stalled because they couldn’t get reagents, vectors, etc because their pi’s ran out of money. i’m so fortunate that i picked the perfect lab (money and relationship wise).

      Reply
  11. chunk

    I’m also employed in research and got the warning about potential issues on the horizon. I’m glad to have had more notice than you. I’m trying to get everything squared away so that if/when my time comes, I can be as calm as you. What a great example of embracing the positive.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      see here’s the thing. i’m pretty sure my boss knew this as far back as december but she decided to wait till now to tell me. i’ll use this as a life experience about dealing with ppl.

      Reply
  12. Ms. Bridget

    Hey. Thank you for writing this. You’ve summed up my feelings about my particular situation. I too am a scientist, been in school forever and now I’m a Postdoc. I’ll be getting married this summer and with that event comes a relocation. I do not have a job in our new location and initially that idea freaked me out. It’s hard being the type of person who plans their life meticulously, always working toward the next level, to now have no job prospects. I have come to the realization that I don’t know how to relax, just be, go with the flow…but I’ve been learning. Enjoy your break, try your hand at basket weaving, soap making, or decoupage. The labs, classrooms, papers, and proposals will always be there πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you’re right they always will be. more than likely after i leave dc i’ll be relocating clear across the country to pick it right back up which is why i’m so content on just chilling.

      Reply
  13. Muze

    awww hate to see you leave NYC but whew i’d say you deserve a break. shoot. lol. and i’m sure there aren’t many bartenders with PhDs around, so that will be fun. the unexpected twists of life are always the best. i’m sure nothing but awesomeness is ahead for you Bowtie!

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      yeah i kinda feel like i didn’t really take advantage of nyc the way i should/could have. i just never really had the time. i get off work and i just want to lay down and do nothing.

      Reply
  14. Ni_Ti

    Hey Tune!!! Sorry to hear about this. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Though you may not understand now the purpose of what is happening… You will down the line… Just keep you relationship with God. He will see you thorough and reveal the vision that he has for your life.

    I’m sure these 2 weeks have not been easy and to be honest, it may only get worse before it starts to get better. I can say that because I know EXACTLY how you feel. My situation was very similar. But you are definitely going about it the right way, stay positive. Avoid negative thoughts and negative people. Lean on your support system. There are alot of positive people in your corner! I wish you the best. My one piece of advice: Don’t lose your faith, trust God and don’t question him. Let him work and make moves just do your part.

    Reply
  15. Kels

    It’s refreshing to see someone looking on the bright side of perceived misfortune. Wallowing in negative emotions for long won’t change the situation and will only be a detriment to your health in the long run. We do some much in our daily lives, rarely taking time reflect and appreciate solitude. There’s a certain peace in knowing you can only move forward. Life is about balance, there’s always a silver lining. Hopefully something fulfilling will find you soon.

    Reply
  16. Gretta Albert

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this
    board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out much.
    I’m hoping to offer something back and help others like you aided me.

    Reply

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