Sunday, May 10, 2015

Where have I been??

This morning, I was going for a walk, and I realized that it has been almost a year since I posted in my blog.  I am sure that this has been a major disappointment for the millions of loyal readers of my blog. (NOTE: For the sarcasm-impaired, that was sarcasm). 

Anyway, just going to write a brief entry here, describing what I've been up to in the last year and my motivation for starting to write more.  

The main reason the last 12 months or so have been so busy is that I have been applying to faculty jobs in astronomy.   A little background: before one becomes a professor in my field, we have to sustain ourselves through temporary (usually 3 year) research grants.  These grants are either awarded to professors so that they can hire post-docs or (in my case currently) they are awarded directly to the post-doctoral researcher.  I'll spare you the nitty gritty details of how this all works.  The bottom line is that my grant is coming to an end, and it's time that I look for a more permanent position in the field.  

This is a grueling experience, to put it mildly.  We start applying for jobs in the fall, and then we hear back as to whether or not we get an interview by winter.  Finally, interviews are scheduled and jobs are offered in late winter and early spring.  

I applied to several places this year, but came up empty.  Unfortunately, this is more of a result of there being way too many candidates for a given position than any other effect.  Some universities have over 300 applicants (most of whom are qualified), but will make only one hire!  

I am not really complaining here.  I absolutely love what I do, and I am going to search for jobs again and again until I get one.  I just felt the need to explain what has eaten up all of my time this past year (in addition to normal research, travel, meetings, serving on panel reviews, etc.).  Since this blog is supposed to be educational, hopefully this post will serve to shed some light onto what professional astronomers do and what they are up against very often during their career.  We love it, which is why many of us stick with it.  But it certainly makes life interesting.  And by interesting, I mean BUSY.

Anyway, I've rambled on a lot now.  I hope to write more here in the near future.  I love writing about topics that interest me, particularly those with an educational spin on them.  So, keep my page bookmarked, and I'll see you soon.  

P.S. Hopefully, that bastard Background Dominated is too busy doing his dumb X-ray astronomy to even notice the brilliance of my upcoming blog posts.  

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