Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Post-grant wind-down

Aaaaahhhhh.

That was me relaxing. I'm drinking a nice cuppa tea and everything.

Due to technical problems with the funding body's website, last week's grant deadline got pushed back to today. This was a good thing, because it allowed us to spend much more time tweaking and revising the application, but it was also a bad thing, because it allowed us to spend much more time tweaking and revising the application. It's funny how these things expand to fill the time allotted to them. I sent the grant to our institute's coordinator for his sign-off last night, and the damn thing is officially submitted and off my desk as of this morning.

Believe it or not, I actually quite enjoy the rush - as long as I'm confident that we'll actually get things done in time - and at least the work is interesting and useful. My last job managed to be both stressful and boring (lots of repetitive work with very tight deadlines), and when I took this job I made a mental note to remember how horrid that combination was during the inevitable stressful times ahead.

This job being a constant cycle between super-busy and more laid-back, today is wind-down time. In my usual tradition, I have spent the day:
  • Attending a very interesting seminar (I tend to skip them when deadlines strike, and missed some good ones this month)
  • Tidying my desk, although Mermaid will still be able to recognise it as mine without checking the photos and tea mugs
  • Printing hard copies of all final grant sections, and filing them away
  • Printing and archiving all of my early drafts / edits of each section (I like to give it a week or two and then compare my versions to the final ones approved by the grant's authors - it's a good learning experience to see what they decided to keep / edit / rewrite / scrap entirely. This time around there's a pretty good mix of the four options, with one section completely unchanged from my first draft!)
  • Organising and archiving my email inbox
  • Having lunch with the whole lab for the first time (fun! And yummy! So full!)
Things still to do:
  • Meet a friend from my old job for a quick beer after work
  • Go home and play with the kitties
  • Get through the night without thinking or dreaming about the bloody grant
The whole cycle starts again next week with a meeting involving the two PIs of a potential new grant submission. And my boss wants to see all the information I have on a huge project that isn't coming along as well as we'd both like, due to the big grant time-suck. But it's nice to have just one day to organise my desk, my files, and my thoughts.

7 comments:

  1. Yay for getting past the deadline, and a day to organize thoughts!

    I usually don't know if my deadline getting extended is good (have time to make my work better) or bad (already burned out! can't continue like this!).

    Oh, and I hope you didn't dream about your bloody grant (I probably would have). Do you think I would get funny looks if I started using bloody in conversations? ;)

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  2. Thanks both! A deadline extension is definitely both a blessing and a curse. No grant dreams last night! It was nice for a change.

    SG, I think you should definitely use bloody, bloody hell, and sodding (as in I'm sick of this sodding grant) whenever possible. They are fine phrases with a proud history.

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  3. Heh, I have to say that as an American, when you talk about a "bloody grant" I totally imagine a proposal with blood all over it. You know from all the blood, sweat and tears you poured into the damn thing!

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  4. Hah! Well, that too. I told you it was a fine phrase, with double meanings no less.

    I guess you're not one of the people who "hear" blog posts in the presumed accent of the writer then! (I'm not either, I hear everything in my own accent). Otherwise I'm guessing that the meaning of "bloody grant" would have been more than clear in an English accent!

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  5. Congrats for getting that grant out! Whew...just thinking about your grant deadlines is making me tired. :-)

    "It's funny how these things expand to fill the time allotted to them."

    It's so true--some people I know deliberately do not start working on grants till a set period of time before the deadline so they don't end up spending huge amounts of time writing and rewriting it!

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  6. Sounds like some people I work with! (If by "set period of time before the deadline" you mean "one week").

    Only kidding, they're not that bad. But everything always comes down to a rush.

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