To work or not to work, that is the question

Posted by barb on Sep 21, 2008 in Random Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, my government manager mentioned that she had been talking to our project manager about taking me on full-time through the next fiscal year. Prior to this, I only knew that my full-time employment was only guaranteed through the end of this calendar year. For any normal person in that situation, with no future job on the horizon, it would be good news that their employment could be continued for another 8-10 months.

I’m not normal.

Currently I work on three different tasks at work – one is a research task for 50% of my time, one is a web development/science support task for 30% of my time, and the last is an education and public outreach task for 20% of my time. I only like one of these tasks – the outreach task. The others are things to be tolerated (an loathed).

Sadly, the full-time position that my one manger is offering, is actually an extension of the web development/science support task. This is the longest-running of my tasks, which started over 5 years ago. For over 4 years, I have hated that job. A big part of the problem is that I often have *nothing to do* – I’m not talking about nothing meaningful or nothing interesting, but rather nothing at all. Another problem is that when I write new text for a web page, I can’t get anyone to approve the text. The result? First, I have a bunch of new web pages that I’ve worked hard to research and write, that just sit on my computer without going live. Second, our web pages get further and further out of date. And does my manager think that turning this into a full-time job is going to relieve these problems?

My outreach position can continue my funding through May (at the 20% level), so I asked about maybe doing the new position at the 80% level through May so that I could at least continue some part of a job I like (that’s not how I worded it with my manager, of course). She didn’t seem to like that idea at all – she’s convinced that they’ll need me full time.

As it happens, Andrew and I are in a position where we can survive on just his salary (pending a large amount of budget-trimming). So, do I take the full-time position just so I’m taking in cash, feeling like I’m contributing to the household? Do I take some time off?

If I were to turn down this position, I would still be able to work the 20% time on outreach. In addition, I would plan on working on my writing – I’ve been told that my fiction is publishable, but to do that I need to polish up some of my stories and research which markets I should submit them to. The house needs a top-to-bottom cleaning and some work (painting and such). I’d also like to work on getting CraftyPhD
up and running. Plus, it would be nice to have some time for my science blog. There’s no way to fit all of that into my life with a full-time job.

But, is this just selfish? Andrew supports my desire to turn down the job. But I’m worried about how much we need to trim the budget. Will he start to resent me for turning down full-time employment when I had the chance? Will I feel guilty over pursuing my interests instead of contributing to the household? I know that when I do find a job, Andrew and I may find our positions swapped, with him having trouble finding a position in whatever town we move to, but is that really a good reason to turn down a job now?

I have to give my decision to my manager tomorrow. I’m honestly not sure what will come out of my mouth at that time. Wish me luck.

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Airport blogging

Posted by barb on Oct 26, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts, Thesis/Grad Life

Greetings from the Huntsville airport, here in sunny Alabama.

I thought I’d blog earlier this week, with being at a conference and bored in the evenings, and all, but obviously it didn’t happen.

I’ve been at the Eight Years of Science with Chandra meeting this week. I travelled with the Constellation-X booth, but I also had a poster at the meeting. Attendance at this meeting was actually fairly low, but surprisingly, it was the first time I’ve had any interest in my poster from researchers doing work in my field. Yup, I’ve brought posters to 3 or 4 AAS meetings and the last Chandra meeting – all relating to my thesis work, but this is the first time I’ve had a discussion with anyone *in my field*. And they seemed interested in it! I have to say that it’s nice to finally have some outside validation of my work.

Con-X booth Felicia at the Chandra meeting

Other than that, it was a typical conference. A few interesting talks, a few boring talks, and several talks that I just didn’t understand (either due to language/microphone difficulties and/or due to material).

Felicia and me at the Space and Rocket Center

Yesterday (my birthday…hurmph) the conference ended at noon, so I packed up the booth, and then Felicia and I went over to the US Space & Rocket Center, which was right next door to the hotel. I actually had gone many years ago, when I was in junior high or high school (can’t remember exactly when), with my aunt, uncle and grandma. Sadly, I was a little disappointed this time around. One of the coolest things to see was the Saturn V rocket last time. Now the Saturn V is getting a new home, in an under-construction building next to the main building. Translation: I didn’t get to see it. They also have a mock-up of the Saturn V standing in the “rocket park”, but the area was also under construction, so I couldn’t get up close to it.

Oh well. I did get to see the other rockets, and took some pictures with Felicia (more posted to Flickr later). Plus I got some astronaut ice cream – since I couldn’t have cake on my birthday, at least I got some ice cream.

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Posted by barb on Jan 9, 2007 in Random Thoughts

I am so cranky

  • Got back from Christmas at my parents
  • Had to throw together a poster for the AAS meeting using the results of my meeting with my thesis advisors the day before I left for Christmas. (A meeting which should have occured much, much, much earlier)
  • Also had to get Christmas out of our house before leaving for the meeting.
  • Left for Seattle Saturday (fortunately with poster in hand)
  • Had 3 inches of personal space on the plane after the woman in front of me decided to recline for the last 3 hours of the 6-hour flight.
  • Our booths had not arrived, so my planned trip to Archie McPhee after set-up on Saturday was canceled (we ended up having to wait around until after 5 PM to see if the booths would arrive).
  • First day of the meeting, I sat at the booth *all day*, 9 AM to 6:30 PM
  • The second day, I had a poster, so I decided that I would not sit behind the booth at all.
  • Today I had to listen to my boss bitch that she had to sit there from 11 AM to 4 PM yesterday. Oh boo-hoo. At the Atlanta, San Diego, and Denver meetings I had to sit behind the booth *every day*, *open to close*. Shut up about one f&^%ing day, not even open to close.
  • And my boss seems to think that things with the booth just magically happen. She’s asked me at nearly every meeting how the booths get set up. Oh, that would be me. And she’s asked how they get taken down. Duh. That would be me. And I’m expected to be the one to get things setup in the morning, and put away in the evening. And she’s bitching about 5 hours in a row at the booth? Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I’ve nearly been in tears every day when I get back to my room. I hate my job. I hate work travel. I hate the West Coast. (No offense to the West Coast, it’s just way too hard to acclimate in the 5 nights I’m here, and way too hard to figure out a time to call my hubby.) I’m on the verge of quitting my job, and I’m about to tell my boss that even if we send the booth to the next meeting in Hawaii, I’m not going.

One good thing to come out of this: I got to visit Archie McPhee. Yay for the small things. Now if I can just fight the urge to quit my job.

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Is it bad…

Posted by barb on Oct 31, 2006 in Random Thoughts

…if I even hate my job in my dreams?

I dreamed last night that I woke up to the alarm, and just hid under the covers, telling my husband that I just couldn’t face my job. I forced myself out of bed, and got ready for work, all the while in a big funk because I really, really, really hate my job.

Not exactly one of those dreams that’s real hard to interpret, huh?

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I *AM* that cool!

Posted by barb on Jun 12, 2006 in Random Thoughts

One good thing that’s coming out of the change of contractor in charge of my position at work is that I’m getting the big honking raise that I requested!

When I was originally hired, I didn’t yet have my Master’s degree – I was a semester of paperwork away from it. So, they hired me as a person with a Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience, and they gave me the impression that I’d be compensated when I actually got the piece of paper for the Master’s. Of course, they were just blowing sunshine up my ass.

I looked at the change of guard as my opportunity to rectify the situation. Forunately, my manager saw it the same way, and I’m walking away with a 20% (!) raise. Yay me!



I LOVE Mondays!

Posted by barb on May 22, 2006 in Random Thoughts

Believe it or not, there’s only a touch of sarcasm in that title.

About 4 years ago, I moved from one side of the Beltway to the other, but my job stayed on the other side of the Beltway. I had good reasons for this move – namely to be with my honey – but it increased my commute from less than 10 miles to more than 30. Perhaps in a rural area this might not be a huge deal, but in Washington DC, this is a gigantic deal. My commute that had been about 20 minutes, on a bad day, was now an hour on a good day.

To mitigate the commute, I talked to my employer about telecommuting two days per week. I wanted these days to be the same every week so that my managers would always know where to find me (though, one of my “customers” couldn’t seem to figure out the schedule, no matter how often I told him). I decided to telecommute on Mondays and Tuesdays for a few reasons including many of my meetings being on Thursdays and Fridays and wanting two days in a row at home so I could get and keep my momentum. This seemed like a good idea for a long time, except that I ended up commuting Fridays, often at 5 PM (because of a late meeting that couldn’t be moved to any other time). Fridays. On the Beltway. Add an accident or some rain, and my commute would balloon to two hours or more.

In the last couple months, though, my Friday meetings have migrated, and they are now on Mondays. I’ve switched my telecommuting days from Monday and Tuesday to Tuesday and Friday.

Why, oh why, didn’t I push for this sooner?

I left work at 3:30 this afternoon and got home at 4:10. Forty minutes. After 3:30. That’s how long it takes without any traffice. Yay!

I can tell you that I’ll fight any change that requires me to commute Fridays again. I love this, and don’t mind Mondays so much anymore.




Posted by barb on May 4, 2006 in Random Thoughts

Small, black, enclosed tent in the sun + throngs of 6th graders = margaritas!

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Random Notes

Posted by barb on Apr 27, 2006 in Random Thoughts
  • I saw the coolest company name this morning on my way to work: Cleany Boppers. I don’t know what they do, and I can’t say they’re any good at it, but clever name!
  • Tried the new Diet Dr. Pepper Berries and Cream this morning. It was good, very berry-y, but almost too sweet.
  • The ads I see while watching TV tell me that I don’t watch the most sophisticated shows. (Car title loans, “your job is your credit” car dealer, we-take-anyone insurance, if-you’ve-been-injured-then-sue law firms, payday loans)
  • Is it just me, or are car manufacturers making blinkers really hard to turn on? My car seems fine, but a least half the cars I encounter on my way to work seem to have trouble with it.
  • It looks like I’ll be back up to half-time soon – someone at work looked for money to pay me to work on E/PO, and found some! Yay!
  • Ares has been in violation of House Ordinance 0001-A, which states that “no kitten shall display his or her tumbly in the house except when cleaning his- or herself.” I’ve had to take drastic measures; namely, petting him to within an inch of his tiny self.
  • Why do all of the animated movies coming out in the next couple months look completely uninteresting? Does Disney or Pixar not take pride anymore to produce quality stories along with their quality animation?
  • The sudden car crash interrupting a random conversation is now officially cliche.
  • I’ve officially become addicted to scrapping. There, I’ve said it.

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Posted by barb on Apr 13, 2006 in Random Thoughts

Well, it’s better than last year — I’m going home before everyone else arrives for work today. And, maybe even before traffic.




Posted by barb on Apr 13, 2006 in Random Thoughts


I hate my job
I really do
It’s a stinky job
And I say P.U.!

It’s 1:50 AM. I’m not as tired as last year, but it is waaaay past my bedtime. I hope my honey is snuggly in bed with at least one of the cats. Sigh. Wish I was there, too.


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