Friday, January 12, 2007

Details

A few days ago, I posted about the fun I am having searching for a summer job. It seems that leaving out the details, to maintain some anonymity, resulted in unecessary confusion. Since then, I've done a lot of thinking about whether it's really so important to keep my identity hidden. As I have discussed in another post titled Outting Myself, I am especially concerned that a potential employer, fellow student, or university staff or faculty will stumble upon my blog and connect the dots to figure out that it's me. While I'm not ashamed of my mental health issues, I am not convinced that the "typical" person is capable of separating my diagnosis from my person. Despite this possibility, I think I will go ahead and include more details. Otherwise, I'll never get the most out of my blog. I need to be completely honest, somewhere. Strangely, even though I've never met most of the people who comment on my blog, I implicitly trust them, I trust you. Yes, my nightmare may actually happen, but I think I need to trust myself to deal with it and overcome the potential discriminations or assumptions.

Therefore, here's some more details about me that may or may not be relevant...

As I have mentioned, I am a student, specifically, I am a la stoodent (think leegle), full time theoretically. Hopefully you can figure out what I mean even with the camouflage spelling to deter googlers. Also, I'm hoping you won't hold that fact against me. My undergraduate degree in biologie, specifically plants, is from a UC school. I moved to upstate NY from Northern California to get my next degree, a Ph.Duh. in molekular biologie. After I finished that degree, I knew that research wasn't for me anymore. Sadly, while I no longer enjoyed the work, I wasn't too bad at it and still loved science. So while sticking around for a postdoc, I did some serious soul searching to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. In the meantime, I went through my divorce with my first husband which nearly took everything I had in me.

I finally settled on my current field of interest. Ultimately, I want to be in intellektual property (pa.tents, copyrite and the like) for biotek. While I thoroughly enjoy studying this stuff, I have been unable to unlock the secret to success on the exams, of which there's only one per semester and it is the only thing your grade is based upon.

In this professional area, there is a very set way of applying for jobs. The summer after your 2nd year is crucial for future employment. Most students secure a high paying firm job in their favorite city for the summer, and that usually turns into a job offer for after you graduate. We all began the process at the end of Summer 2006. Then, most travelled all over the country during the Fall for the "call back" interview, after the initial screening interview. I landed 6 call backs; this was lucky since I was only applying to the few firms in my area (not a big city) and in my narrow field of interest. I was thrilled with my prospects and had, what I thought to be, great interviews.

And that's where I was wrong. Actually, I have no idea where I failed in this process, the list of possibilities is too daunting.

So now, I am in the no man's land of leegle employment. It's ugly and evil. The little firms will hire once they know their summer needs, but that doesn't happen for a few months yet. I have been scrambling to come up with options, choices. Now, I am looking at in-house counsel for biotek companies, not-for-profit resurch organizations, etc. I am totally alone, as I don't know any other student who failed their Fall employment search as I did. Depressing.

Sorry for all of the misspellings, but I am trying to trick the search engines, if that's possible with my limited knowledge of the web and computers. Also, so sorry for the boring nature of this post, but I needed to complete the story of my hunt for employment. Hope you survived it.

15 comments:

Aurelia said...

OK, now I get the job issues, but really I'm not sure how they could guess it's you even from this. You have really covered the googles though, hehe.
And yes, you can trust me totally. Hell, at this point you know more about me than most people IRL, we better be able to trust each other!
As for the job search, I understand the problem now, since yes, la is set up pretty weird that way.
My husband had a few problems with that in school and he ended up with jobs in the end.
I still wonder about govt. (any level, fed, state, municipal). They quite often hire students, and have programs set up for that.
Or you could go slightly outside your area...health/hospital litig/liabil!ty stuff?
Regardless, good luck, and maybe you could change your comment thing--one resume sent out for every comment, plus exercise. Now, that's a motivator!

theoneliner said...

I wouldn't share your mental illness with anyone other than those you have to.
I wish we lived in a world where people didn't judge people as they do. But the point is they do.
Maybe i'm negative but people will not see you for the obvioulsy intelligent person that you are....
Hopefully they will one day. No one besides my dear readers and husband know about my pschologist...and nor will they ever.
Your degrees scare me. Congrats.

Sara said...

It is so frustrating when you think an interview went well, but then don't get offered the job in the end. The last place I interviewed, they called me back for a second interview. I had a good rapport with the interviewer and thought things went well. He was kind enough to call and let me know they'd hired someone else.

I told him I was going to put him on the spot, and he could feel free not to answer. Then I asked him for advice... could he tell me what I'd done wrong, or what I should do differently in the future? Was it the interviews? The resume? I think I will continue to use that tactic to solicit feedback, although of course I hope neither you nor I will have that opportunity again anytime soon, because we'll both get the next jobs we interview for.

Renee said...

I'm with Sara...it never hurts to find out why a company didn't go with you. On one job I asked and they told me that the other person made a better first impression. I stopped in on my way to something else and really wasn't prepaired for an interview when I went in, so I totally got that...as it turned out, "Miss Greatfirstimpression" turned out to have a night time job of turning tricks and gave out the office number for her clients to contact her and she often fell asleep at the desk. The called me for the job and I stayed with them for 4 years.

Barbara said...

Sorry things aren't going your way lately, I hope the tide turns soon.

I'm always careful about what I will blog because employers google you now. It makes me wish for retirement.

Molecular Turtle said...

We seem to have a simlar background. I did my undergrad in health sciences but I did research with a focus on plant science. I tried to figure out what to do and ended up doing a masters in biotech. I'm currently working for a major pharma company. I went through a similar time with job searching being disappointed and so forth. I have some advice though, don't let it get you down! Persistence paid off. Also just apply to things your interested in and don't give up your dream!

Sharla Dawn said...

I'd say the biggest asses when it comes to 'holding it against you' are those in the medical community that think they actually understand what the hell is going on. I was misdiagnosed for three years, wee fun. And what's insane is that some people, if they find out, get that weird look on their face, wondering if I'm really crazy or not. I used to have an anonymous blog, and the freedom is greater. Now my blog not only has my real name on it, it says I'm in New Jersey. Do I care? Nope. Because a lot of my real life friends read it. So does my sister.... AND my ex husband. Guess what. You get pure, unadulterated ME. I understand your fear, though. That dummy blogger Dooce was the first person fired for a blog. What I did was to just discuss my feelings and such and pretty much leave everyone else out of it.

txandi said...

i feel your anonymity dilemma. i struggle with it constantly.

it may even add to my ~state-of-mind~

i cannot but take small steps, tippy-toe-into-H2O.

i post, i comment; forward, i may...

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Good luck on the job search. I used to have a anonymous blog but because I am an artist, a photographer and a writer, my artist friends advised me to use my real name for name recognition. But I really need both, so I can be more honest and open, LOL! Hard to maintain anonymity. I was living in an upstayte NY Universitie town studying biologie myself. Have a master's in that then switched to creative writing for an MFA! But having my health blog linked to my creative blogs is kind of upsetting.

Dino aka Katy said...

i understand the trouble about the blog being found. I started to use acronyms when I kept getting hits for stuff that was work related because i didn't want people to know it was me

Emilija said...

I think I did something similar. I started out in research (actually psycholinguistics). But I decided to leave research and become an occupational therapist, and it has been a much better fit. As for disclosing at work, I have not. I did all that I could on my resume to disguise years of being on disability (thankfully many of those years I was officially enrolled in school, even if on leave). Now that I have been there for 3 years, I am starting to feel like I wouldn't mind telling people, under the right circumstances. Now that I have proved myself. But I had to prove myself first.

jane said...

Oh my gosh, I am laughing so hard. I didn't realize all your typos were intentional & I was thinking, "This poor girl is in college & can't spell "biology"?" I'm slow..but eventually I get it.
I hope you don't mind me offering this advice, but I will anyways...protect your anonymity. Once it's gone, it is GONE. Those of us whom you trust, your personal info. wouldn't matter to anyways, know what I mean? It would only matter to someone checking up and/or Googling you.

jane said...

Oh yeah & I agree with theoneliner about sharing your mental illness. People will use it against you. Don't give them that chance.

Ol' Lady said...

here is another vote for keeping your mouth shut and not telling anyone...people say they 'understand' but they don't.

Veronika said...

Nicole, you sound like such a wonderful person! I totally feel you on the whole anonymous thing, and can't fathom how people can be so critical of others.
I think employers have a hard time deciding who to hire. Maybe they really liked you, but decided to go with someone else. I say, it's their loss! When you become so famous, they'll be wishing they called on you!