Swift kick in the gut…

Posted by barb on Sep 29, 2004 in Thesis/Grad Life |

I suppose I should have been expecting something bad to happen — it seems that any time something really good happens in my life, I get a swift kick in the gut a week or two later to remind me that life can suck, too.

Kim had warned me a few weeks ago that she might have trouble finding funding for my thesis work, but that the lab should be able to cover it if she couldn’t find money from her own grants. Well, her grants ran out, and the lab will have to start covering my grad salary, but they won’t pay me at the contractor salary that I’ve been making. The upshot? I’ll have to take a pay cut of 25% if I want to continue my thesis work.

So that’s now the big question. Do I want to continue my thesis work?

My intial gut reaction was, no, of course not. I quit my grad work in 2001 because I no longer wanted to life on a grad student’s salary — it was too much to have to constantly worry about how I was going to pay all my bills each month (answer: they didn’t always get paid…)

But, on the other hand, I’ve come so far, and I am at least in a different situation than I was before when I first quit. First of all, I’ll still have “real pay” for half of my work, so I won’t be dropping into the absolute pit of grad-student life again. Secondly, I have a husband who wants me to finish (if I want to finish), and will help out with expenses and cut our budget where we need to in order to make it work.

Back to the other side, though, I’ve been finding my thesis work unsatisfying and a slog for the last year. I find that I don’t necessarily care about the results, and I’ve been wondering if my choice to return was really wise. I’ve discovered that while my reason for leaving may have been primarily financial, it seems that it was also based on a true dissatisfaction with my choice of career.

I’ll regret it if I leave now.

I’ll be miserable if I stay.


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