Friday, January 1, 2010

Common Sense of a Woman Scientist

There is a short back story behind the title of this blog.  As I've mentioned before, I work in academia.  I'm not a post-doc, faculty, or student anymore.  I don't want to call it administrative, but it's an odd, blended position given my background.  A bit of research, teaching, and administration combined.  I'm happy where I'm at but unclear about my future, which I'm okay with. 

One thing you need to know about me is that I've taken a non-traditional track.  I worked years in a research laboratory setting and decided to step outside of the lab and move onto something else, but stay in academia.  This was a foreign concept to all the faculty in my old department.  They didn't know what to do with me.  As a result, I've been blazing my own path. 

The people where I work now aren't sure how to handle me.  I can't be categorized which I like.  I have an odd position.  I socialize with the faculty and the administrative personnel.  As a result, I see things from everyone's perspective, and I often understand it.  I get along with everyone.  I'm the only administrator with PhD from a research laboratory setting.  I'm defining my own role.  

It does have it's drawbacks however.  I've learned that a lot of people (i.e. researchers and other academics) take themselves and their research too seriously.  Many of you know what I mean.  I may get along with them, but I have a different attitude than most of them.  I also have a completely different  background than the administrators.  As a result, I don't always feel like I fit in anywhere.  I like that I'm unique in my position, but it also sometimes leaves me feeling out-of-place.  No one there can really relate to my situation.

Luckily, there is one person there who I get along with very, very well.  She has my attitude, even if she doesn't have my life experiences.  I've been able to talk to her, and she understands my motivation.  I'm looking for happiness in what I do and my life, not specific career goals. 

And finally I get to the title of my blog (I guess this wasn't a short story after all).  She was in a meeting with some investigators and came into my office almost bursting.  What she had to tell me doesn't really matter, it's what she started her conversation with "You are the weird exception. Most educated, smart academics have no common sense." She summed up my feelings quite nicely, so I chose to use this perspective as my title.

Again - enjoy.

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