It went well, I think. I’m a little hesitant to write my thoughts here, since who knows who is reading!
It was three hours long. What an introduction to interviewing! But not three hours being grilled by the same people, or even anything unpleasant. I liked the concept. I met with many of the people I would be working with. It says a great deal about the PI’s style that they have graduate students interviewing the management candidates. I also liked that they gave me the opportunity to meet with other members of the lab and get an idea of what my position would be like before meeting with them. This meant that I had a good idea of what I might be stepping into.
Points in my favour are that the interviews flowed smoothly, no long awkward silences. They were discussions, interviews in the real meaning of the word, not grilling. There were lots of smiles and eye contacts all around. There were frequent slips into “You will be,” instead of “You would be.” Also, they forgot to ask me for reference, and emailed me later asking for them. Now, this could be seen as a negative, that I’m second-choice, oh we might as well check, type of thing. But I’m choosing to believe that they’re up-front and honest, that they really did forget to ask. Or possibly that they wait to ask until they get a ‘yes’ from everyone involved. Also, I’m sure I looked good, re-arranging my schedule to meet with them on short notice, a very much “can do” attitude.
Oh, and one of the grad students recognized me from the bus. She asked me if I’m Cameron’s mom, then commented that she always wonders how I can manage. I’ve normally got Cameron on my back in the ergo, often I’m standing up, I’ve always got a coffee, and I’m usually handing bites of croissant over my shoulder to him. So I’m thinking, hey, you see me doing this on the bus. Just imagine what I can do for your lab!
There are two points that seem to me to be not so much in my favour. I have zero management background, for starters. Then one of the PIs commented during our interview that he was enjoying talking with me, but it felt like he was interviewing a postdoc or potential PhD student. Oops. There’s some, but not a lot, of opportunity in the position for taking a research project an ‘running’ with it like I could do in Michael’s lab. But then he did immediately point out that there will actually be, on second thought, som opportunity for that, and that just because the people holding that position before me haven’t had much research initiative doesn’t mean that the position couldn’t be made to include some.
So now it’ll come down to my references.
I’m worried about what Michael will say. To be honest, some of what this job entails is the stuff I hated doing in Michael’s lab. And he knows this. So I could see them asking him if he thought I’d be a good match for this job, and him saying that no he thinks that I wouldn’t be very happy there.
Would I be happy there? This isn’t just am I good enough for them. Do I want this? It’s not exactly what I had in mind. I’m not looking at spending a decade there. I have a very solid background in research, but I don’t want to be sixty and nearing retirement scanning barcodes all day long in a high-throughput lab, never knowing what is in those ittybitty wells. I want to have a position where my brain is in use and of value to the company or organization. Which means getting into management to some degree. Which means taking a position like this. This particular one does seem to have some potential for holding my interest with research hands-on-ed-ness, be in a health-related field, some possible writing experience, plus the management experience aspect. In a two or three years it would look good on my resume. The PIs seem well organized and thoughtful, generally good people. They’re well-liked by their students and employees.
So do I want this? Yes much more than no.
Oh – an even without the superpower of my dreams, I still managed to get through the day. I even dropped in on Michael to say hi, wound up having a chat about troubleshooting the allelic replacement by suicide vector protocol, and the big-picture meaning of the troubles they’ve come across.