Musings to start 2023
2022 brought about several unexpected changes. The biggest was facing an unforeseen company shutdown. Biotech navigated tempestuous waters in 2022, and 2023 is no more tranquil. Losing a job that I liked with coworkers that I admired was admittedly disappointing. But being forced onto the job market during a period of mass layoffs was soulcrushing.
Nevertheless, after 43 applications, 5 full interviews, and a waist-high stack of rejections, I’m happy to report that I’m newly employed. If COVID-19 taught me anything, it’s to count my blessings while I have them.
I hadn’t updated my personal website in years.
I made a Google Site for myself as a postdoctoral scholar. For a novice webdev like me, Google Sites felt like a dream: easy to use, easy to modify, clean look, and no coding required. But that page, with its meticulously curated list of publications and conference dates and publicly available talks, sat largely abandoned once I left academia.1 And after building a website for my previous company, I felt more comfortable trying slightly more powerful web design tools.
This website is the product of previous (non-academic!) learning, plus a glut of free time from unemployment. Kudos to Wowchemy on whose template I built this site.
Will this page languish for 6 years like the previous site? That I don’t know. I tried blogging in graduate school, but I lost interest within a few months. My posts were inane and immature anyways. Nevertheless, a new year is a good time to try new things or renew old things. My goal was to renew a love of writing with some blogging. That leads me to the last item…
I never know what to think about social media.
It’s provided me plenty of amusement, consternation, stress, sadness, and more. It reflects (refracts?) any global sturm und drang of the day. For my own sanity, I largely abandoned personal social media several years ago. But I couldn’t shake the professional accounts, particularly my Twitter account. They scratched an itch for career connections that nothing else could. The irony was that my career did not depend on Twitter and could survive just fine without it.
Like me, Twitter faced a renewal in 2022. Unlike me, it seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I still log in occasionally. I still follow professionals whose work or opinions I value. I still occasionally tweet, especially if I’m attending a conference. But it doesn’t serve my needs like it used to.
My hope is that this new page will serve as a suitable replacement for any need to vent. I say “vent” less in the pejorative sense and more in a general sense: I don’t see how the world is made better by voicing my complaints or opinions. Instead, this blog is for me. It sates a thirst to understand the world, my scientific field, and my short time in both.2 Maybe others will find value in it. Maybe they’ll find nothing worth reading. Or maybe they’ll feel some strange need to chew me out (feel free to visit my Twitter for that). Whatever the reason, I anticipate that these pages will offer useful or therapeutic time for me. Hopefully they help somebody else too.
Left? Or pushed out? It’s not my fault that a big grant with a big fundable score didn’t arrive in time. I don’t waste tears on what could’ve been; people had plenty of ideas for how universities could’ve adapted to pandemic pressures. But expecting academic institutions to change for the better is a fool’s errand, so people opted to vote with their feet. We reap what we sow. ↩︎
“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself … It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” - Harper Lee ↩︎