Friday, August 22, 2014

Australian peculiarities III: beetroot

After complaining about some of the Australian peculiarities in part I and II of the series, here comes one that I really love! 
Beetroot in salads, beetroot on burgers, whole mini beetroots just cooked, beetroot in cake - I just love them! I don't know why they are so popular here and not in my home country, but I don't care either. I'll enjoy this dark red deliciousness whenever possible and I'll convince my whole home country one day that a necessary ingredient for a superb burger is a thick slice of beetroot! Yumm!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

publish! or somebody else will

I'm a slow writer and thus slow in publishing my research. If I manage t write two papers a year, it was a very good year. While writing I often think that my data is not enough, that I need to do another experiment to make the story round. And I develop a lot of side ideas while writing that seem to be essential for the paper and I need to read a bit more literature about it. Up to now this has not been a problem. I published when I had all my thoughts sorted out. But I always worried that one day somebody else will be faster than me and publish the ideas I had been brooding over for so long before I can.
This scenario just became reality. I'm not surprised, I saw it coming, but still I'm saddened and disappointed about myself. I have a 3/4 written paper on my desk since last year, I've discussed the methods with several people on conferences and well, now one of them used these methods on their systems, which are very similar to mine. My head says: no need to be upset. I had a big head start and did not use it. It is just normal that discussions spark ideas - that's how it is supposed to be. I should learn from their publication for my future work. But emotionally I'm disappointed, mostly of myself, a bit of my colleagues. And I slightly start to panic, as for sure they will have a bunch of follow up papers lined up and maybe they will be faster again to publish. Maybe through this lesson I will learn how to not waste months and months on one paper, but to get my writing tasks done a bit more efficient. I have five papers on my to-do list. Let's see how many I can finish this year!

Friday, August 15, 2014

quitting a job for the family

Just stumbled over an interesting blog post by Max Schireson, CEO of MongoDB, about him stepping down from his CEO position to spend more time with his family. He describes that his wife - a professor at Standford - often gets asked how she juggles her career with her family (three kids, 14, 12 and 9 years), but that he never got asked that question. So now he is stepping down from his "crazy full time" position to just a "normal full time" position and the comments to his post are full of applause and admiration for this decision.
It is a big decision, one not easily made and one that will certainly cost him a bag of dollars. And it is great that he wants to spend more time with his family and less with traveling between southern West Coast and northern East Cost of the US. But I wonder how one can even end up in such a crazy constellation. Three kids, a professor at Standford and a CEO of a super growing company - this sounds like a safe way to get a stomach ulcer and a heart attack before turning 50. My admiration goes mostly to his wife, who certainly did the large chunk of family work during the last years, while being a professor at the same time. Her career will speed up like crazy now that she has her husband around much more.
And I wonder what comments a female CEO would get if she'd decide the same way. A lot of applause and admiration? Not sure about that.

Monday, August 11, 2014

LinkedIn for academic job search?

This is what I'm wondering. I have profiles on all those 364 platforms for professional and social networking and of course the ultimate purpose is to use it to find a new job. Now that I have applied to a lot of PostDoc grants and subscribed to even more academic job portals I'm wondering if these non-specific websites like LinkedIn are actually any good to find a new academic job. A lot of my colleagues have profiles there as well, but I've never seen someone putting himself on the market through that. And I wonder if professors or uni HR people really use these platforms to find new folks for their faculty. Or does it look like I'm too lazy to apply for grants? Or not competitive enough? Or like I don't understand how the system works?
Is it worth to add a "I'm looking for.." section to my profile?