What’s the best thing going for you right now?
When people ask me what I do, I neither cringe nor sigh before answering. I think this may place me in rare company in the world of employment. I haven’t quite perfected the most efficient answer to the question yet, though, because it’s not a job, exactly, and it’s not really school in the traditional sense of the word. It’s something in between and much, much better.
From my house, I have a 7-minute walk up a hill every day to a hospital, inside of which sits labs that contains a lot of chemicals that can be used with or without electricity to potentially result in answers to questions. I belong to one of those labs and can play with the aforementioned chemicals and electricity to my heart’s content, provided I set neither myself, the lab, or anyone else inside of it on fire. From my perspective, I get to try to solve a huge puzzle every day by building the pieces and attempting to put them together in such a way that makes sense and ultimately contributes to both scientific and medical knowledge, understanding, etc., etc.
So, the best thing that I have going for me right now is that I’m getting paid to think very hard about a problem, with the added bonus of having the freedom to decide how to go about solving it. Jobs like these are few and far between. I actually sometimes dread finishing. The thought has crossed my mind to just keep going forward in a different discipline, racking up degrees until I officially know everything. I could do it, too. In a few years, I’ll be able to refer to myself (privately) as a computational biochemist. I could then apply to the neuroscience program in an effort to become a computational biochemical neuroscientist. Perhaps follow this up by walking over to cancer biology and becoming a computational biochemical neuroscientific cancer biologist. Imagine the power of having that on a CV! Potential employers calling and scream-sobbing into the phone, “YOU HAD ME AT ‘COMPUTATIONAL BIOCHEMICAL NEUROSCIENTIFIC CANCER’!” Ultimately, of course, I’d still be inclined to end up as a computational biochemical neuroscientific cancer biologist greenskeeper, but now we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves.
I love what I get to do every day and it does worry me a little that I might not get to do it with the same freedom and purpose after I finish here. I consider this so close to the perfect job that I’ve likely ruined myself for any future prospects at job-related contentment and this is a bit of a worry. So, I try to focus on the now, enjoy it for what it is, and let the future take care of itself, as it inevitably will.
Sir @ November 27, 2010