Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The journey of a thousand miles....

One step at a time. And then another. And another, until all the steps are done and the goal is achieved.

Agonizing! Boring! Too much work! All those damned steps!!

Isn't there some easier way? Isn't it more FUN to try to take giant LEAPS toward the finish line? Can't we skip a few steps, whittle down the timeline, shave a few rules off the top to make all this EASIER and more FUN?


I have to take ALL the steps? You saying I have to take all of them, which takes more time, and isn't nearly as fun as skipping the hard parts and taking what I want from the remainder, hoping that will be enough?



One would wonder why I, who live my life according to the above line of questioning and disheartened answering, would choose to pursue a career in a field that is detail oriented, has lots of SOPs and WPDs and rules and quality checks and double checks and review cycles and pages and pages of data to sift through hoping to find the golden fleece of comforting safety and efficacy.

One would wonder, and one would come up with this simple answer: I am a masochist.

There is no other explanation. None.

1) I despise detail work - so why NOT get a job that focuses on details?

2) I despise being corrected - so why NOT get a job for which reviewers number in the dozens and all their opinions are more important then mine?

and, the biggie -

3) I procrastinate like noody's bizznass - so why NOT get a job for which the deadline is God above all and MY job function occurs at the very END of a long process, at which time every other team member shows off their "breathing down the neck" skillz while snapping their fingers and rolling their eyes at how LONG it takes to do what I do?

Sure, it all makes sense now. Sure it does. Rightee-o.

Way back when I was a lab rat (or JAPOH, for "just a pair of hands"), life was good. I could set a goal for the day, get my stuff set up, perform the assay, and go home. Things proceeded at a regular pace, output was a daily occurrence, the cycle was rhythmic and gratifying. Data was the reward, the end, the product, and I was very very good at producing it.

But now? Oy.

Deadlines are months or YEARS in the future, fluidity washes over every phase of the process, a professional juggler is needed to determine which thing should get done first as the deadlines ebb and flow, and yet, through the layers of uncertainly the process needs to be followed, the steps need to be taken, and sometimes retaken, until the final product, a single document, is signed, sealed, and delivered.

Not nearly as satisfying as daily data dumps that shed light on some new corner of an uknown world.

Maybe it's because, as a scientist, I was keen to explore, bent of figuring out what was going on inside those flasks of cells or tubes of enzymes. I was inventing things, maniulating parameters, creating the process rather than following it, clearing a path through the unknown.

And now. Oy.

The sense of adventure is not the same. The process is more laborious. The path still needs to be cleared, but I'm using someone else's data. The parts might not all fit together, but I can't manipulate the parameters to make the process more elegant or the output any more understandable. It don't own it, I have to take into consideration a host of other people's opinions, I have to follow the rules, the steps, the process.

Yup, masochist about fits.

The funny thing is, I LIKE what I do! I think it's interesting, and I learn a hella lot. It's just all the steps. All a billionty of them. One at a time. Over and over.

A girl could get a litle tired of all the steps.

What about y'all? What parts of your job, love it as you might, irritate the living bejabbers out of you?


Kingfisher swears that the 500-word challenge results will be up by noon. I wonder, does he mean EST ("real time," as far as I'm concerned) or some funky Westerner's version of noon?

Time will tell, of that there is little doubt.

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