But starting new things? Like the bulk of what my post-doc is supposed to be about? I'm not so good at that right now. Sure, I've made small pieces of headway on the major and minor projects I am supposed to be working on. I've managed to do enough to meet external deadlines and to have something (small) new to share whenever I am asked how things are going. But I have not succeeded in really shifting my focus to the new project. When I have a couple of unstructured hours or days, I find that I still prefer to work on "old" stuff rather than new stuff.
I've been trying to come up with some
- The pregnancy and associated wanting to get old stuff out before baby arrives and not seeing the point to getting really involved in new stuff before taking maternity leave.
- I haven't moved to a different research group, so my boss (aside from being a cool guy) also has a stake in me getting my PhD pubs out and letting them occupy a significant chunk of my time.
- I didn't have any new data that were exclusively "mine" for the major project until early December.
- There's much more of a sense of professional accomplishment at the wrapping-things-up-stage than at the beginning stages of a project.
- Getting publications taken care of looks good on the CV - which is important when on the job market.
Now, four months into my post-doc, I'm definitely ready to dig in and fully immerse myself in the literature and data of my new projects. But I wonder how much I'll really be able to accomplish by the end of my post-doc funding. I'm pretty sure I can get a lot of data analysis done, but I probably won't get much paper writing done by September (even aside from maternity leave). And unless another year of funding miraculously appears, this means next fall I'll be experiencing what so many of my peers experienced on their first post-doc go-around: starting a new job with a lot of unfinished business hanging over my head and no dedicated time to do it. And I'm guessing that cycle starts, it just follows you for the rest of your career. Shouldn't there be a better way?
P.S. The Princess Pup has made a full digestive recovery. Thanks for your well wishes.