March 11, 2009

Temporary Disenchantment.

I am dissatisfied with my work these days. Actually, more with the outcome of my work, if one can say so.
I work in a research lab, connected to the university. The lab is like a secluded world, which has a life of its own. It is a working environment like no other, in that respect, that it changes constantly. This due to the fact, that most of my colleagues are young students, which stay around for a couple of years and then leave. Sometimes I miss having colleagues that stay for extended period of time and are more my age, sharing my sentiments about life and understanding more the experience I have, and recognizing themselves in subjects I like to discus.
I remember when I was the youngest one in the lab; it feels like yesterday. Now I am almost the oldest.

I have described my work in one of my earlier post. Don’t misunderstand me; I completely LOVE what I do. But science is tough. Sometimes I face problems that just simply feel unsolvable. It takes persistence end devotion and all of my energy to move on with something that is not working. The most difficult part, at least for me, is to keep ones logic and sanity, to rely on facts and not let ones imagination run wild when experiments yield contradictory results.

At times like these I often wonder what would happened if I pursued something else in my younger years. I had many plans on what I wanted to become.
In a way I envy those who knew since childhood what their calling was, just like my mother. Already when she was a little girl playing with dolls, she was always treating them for something imaginary. She always knew she wanted to be a pediatrician (a child physician).
I on the other hand changed my profession as I went along. As a child I dreamed of excavating old tombs and digging up old bones and pottery. After reading about Heinrich Schliemann and his excavation of ancient Troy, I was going to be an archeologist.
As a teenager, I was interested in nature and agriculture and contemplated to marry a farmer and tend to a large piece of land.
Later on, on the encouragement of my art teacher, I played with the idea of studying art. However, after he took me around a few art schools and they all declined taking me in, I gave that idea up, somewhat disillusioned.
As a young woman, becoming more a realist and less of a dreamer, I realized I liked chemistry and figured maybe pharmacology would be something I could study. Eventually I ended up in the field of biochemistry.

Growing up in the 80s, we were encouraged not to pursue wild dreams, but get a real profession. A traditional one, such as a teacher, a lawyer, a physician. Becoming an artist or a journalist was out of question.

Today I wish someone would have told me, back then, that studying art did not mean that I had to make a living making my own paintings. There is so much in art I could have done and I wish I would have.
At times.

But then again, I know, that in a few days, in a few weeks, maybe a month or two, my impossible scientific problem will be solved and my troubles will be history and I would have overcome yet another hurdle. And then, when someone will ask me what I do for a living and I will describe to others what my profession is about, they will tell me that I indeed have the ultimate dream job, working in such a free and creative environment. In my line of work, I am a bit of an adventuress, pushing the frontiers of science forward - if it is ever so slightly. Like ancient traveler, I am privileged to discover and to thread a ground no one has before me.

21 comments :

Hilary said...

I would imagine that in your line of work as with any aspect of life, you occasionally get into a rut but the title of your post says it all..."temporary" is the key word.

And you can still study art.. in .. you know.. your spare time. ;)

Chin up, my friend. This too shall pass.

steviewren said...

Like you, I've never known what I want to be when I grow up. I took my present job because it was available at the time I needed a job. I didn't start college until I got divorced. I tried to think of something practical to study...something I could make a career of, but my only real interest was in the art world. So I go to a job everyday I don't really like and spend my lunch hours drawing and dreaming.

It sounds like you've chosen a career in which you get to think creatively. You seem to have found a job which has an art to it after all.

Diane said...

I'm still amazed that a scientist lives in a body with the heart of an artist. But I suppose Science is art in its own right.

Someday I hope to know what I want to be when I grow up. Someday. Sigh.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I suppose we need to start a club here...the "I do not know what I want to be when I grow up" society!
:D

My only interest now is art...so, I have a job to pay bills and in whatever spare time I have, I devote to my art! Financially I'm not rich...but, creatively I'm a millionare!!

I have daydreams of changing jobs...lately, I was thinking of working for a vet...or doing dog walking...something with animals.

I get tired of these human animals!

p.s. I saw where Diana Krall has a new CD out that has "Bossa Nova" tunes on it...I think it is called
"Quiet Times"!

Mahmud Yussop said...

Hold on to your seat. You may be on a breakthrough.While I'm not a scientist, I continue to love the history of science and especially on the development of modern science.You may be on an impasse, the calm before the 'Eureka' storm.Keep pursuing. The apple may fall on your lap.

Michelle H. said...

These are the days that lead to inner retrospect. But you are an adventuress in problem-solving such dilemmas. I hope this one will bring happiness when you find a solution.

swenglishexpat said...

Like you say yourself, it will pass, it is only a blip. We all have our doubts sometimes. But I think it is best to stick to your guns, although you can always make a career change, it's not too late.

I recognise the frustration you might feel trying to get a solution. I worked for a while as an Oracle Developer, analysing and programming big databases. The programming was very challenging and sometimes drove you nuts! But there was always a solution to the task at hand, it just took longer sometimes! Keep smiling! :-)

♥ fashion chalet said...

Sometimes the best solutions arise when one walks away... hang in there && good luck! ==]

Thanks for the "blogging birthday" wishes, dear. I hope I can continue to post fun things for you guys. xx

Shelly's Style Shop said...

It sounds like you have a fun and interesting job. But, you my dear can still pursue the dreams of being an artist. You can make it a hobby to take away the stress from science.

I still am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up?! ;-)

xoxo, Shelly

Rosezilla said...

What you do sounds very interesting, but also hard! I am so bad at science. I could never make my experiments work in high school. My hubby and sons have such deep talks about science and I'm lost! When I was young I either wanted to be a lawyer or a professional dishwasher, lol! I guess as a homemaker I kind of went with the professional dishwasher!

sallymandy said...

Hi dear,

Seconds to what everyone else has said.

And...did you know that this time of year apparently has something to do with people becoming restless and disenchanted? Remember the other day on my blog I said I have seasonal affective disorder? My doctor said that late winter is a time when statistically more people become DEPRESSED and disillusioned. Something about us tending to have higher expectations about the return of spring than are realistic. I don't know if this resonates for you, but it does for me. I often find myself restless and irritable with my circumstances this time of year.

In any case I do encourage you to pursue your art to any degree you want. I feel we have so much to offer an art at this time in our lives. You obviously have a leaning that way given what you write about. I love your blog, and yes, I did know you had the Vitruvius man on your header. That was one thing that made me stop and read your blog initially. I had coincidentally just published the original version of that post a few days before I found your blog.

Keep up the good work friend.

Mel said...

I find it fascinating that you're so balanced art-and-science-wise. You must use both sides of your brain equally. I'm pretty equal brained too (according to tests I've taken), but not nearly as talented in either hemisphere as you are!

Holly said...

I think that you are extraordinary. I love that you can be a scientist and tread on the hardcore manipulation of fact, while at the same time feeling as deeply and as intensely as you do the emotions of a true dreamer and artist.

I am sorry that you are disenchanted with work right now. That is always a tough hurdle to get past, but I imagine in some time when you solve your dilemna you will feel a sense of victory that will make it all worth it.

Hang in there Z,...both the worlds of art and science are very fortunate to have you.

p.s. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!!! :)

Protege said...

=Hilary,
thank you for your words of wisdom and consolation; you are correct, this too shall pass.;) I only wish this passing was a bit faster.;))
Thank you for this great comment, it helped a lot my friend.;)

=steviewren,
I think we all at times feel unsatisfied with our professional lives. I still envy you your lunch breaks, they sounds like breaks that I would like. I like the fact that you can leave the place for a while; sometimes I think i would need to leave it for an hour in the day too.;)
You are very talented (MUCH more than me)and one never knows, perhaps one day your talent will come to use.;)))

=Diane,
thank you for those kind words, you put it so eloquently.;)
And the last sentence made me laugh, you are the best dear friend.;))

=Lulda,
LOL, you are right, I am joining that club!;))
I am so with you on being tired of human animals, I ave enough of them, especially the ones running around the lab, hehe!
Your comment made me remember that in fact I wanted to be a vet as well when growing up! There you see, I have always been a bit confused.;))
Some thing never change.:P
Walking dogs sounds very refreshing actually.
I will have to check out that new Diana Krall CD, thank you for letting me know.;)))

=Mahmud,
you are so right on - often when solving something unreasonable I have managed to discover something new. I will stick with this and hopefully solve it soon, as I am fed up with sleepless nights.;))
Thank you again for those words.;)

=Michelle,
thank you for that comforting comment; I also hope for a solution soon. It will happen though, it is all about not giving up.;)))

=swenglishexpat,
exactly, I will stick with it. You, who had worked with software development will recognize the dilemmas that arise in research. But having been in this for 20 years, I too know that solution is somewhere in sight; so sticking with it is the right thing to do.
Thank you for your wise words.;))

=Erika,
thank you sweetie, that is so right on!
I love your place and have no doubts that it will be a pleasure to visit for in the future as well.;))
xoxo

=Shelly,
welcome the club then; as Lulda said, we should make one.;))
Thank you for your warm and kind words; and you are right, art is free and I can do what I want with it in my spare time.;))

=Rosezilla,
professional dishwasher! That was wonderfully refreshing! That reminds me of the time when I was in the backseat of the car as a 5 year old and announced to my parents in the front, when we were passing fields with grazing cows; "Mom and Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up - I want to milk cows!"
Thank you so much for that wonderful comment.;))

=sallymandy,
it is funny how coincidences bring us to places in the world and make us meet new people. I never knew that the picture in the header would attract someone to read my blog.;))
Thank you for those wonderful compliments, you know I enjoy your blog too very much.
And it is interesting to hear that people are indeed disenchanted in the spring. I have too heard about the spring depression. Lets hope that it will not effect us too much this year.;)))
Thank you so much again for his lovely comment.;))
xoxo

=Mel,
I am not so sure about how balanced I am .;)))
LOL, ask people in my vicinity and they will tel you that I am actually quiet unstable.:PP
I am very convinced that you are smart and talented (MORE than me), but thank you for such a great compliment, it made my morning.;)))

=Holly,
you are so sweet and kind and you have a big heart! Your words almost made me cry when I read them, as they are so sincere.
Thank you so much dear friend, I know you are right.;)xo
And the club of us not knowing what we want to be when we grow up is growing; isn't it great to be a child?

Gal Friday said...

I go through spells like these with my work and life--the "what if's" and really, there is nothing wrong with thinking how you might have done something different. It doesn't mean you can't, either.
I think also, your realising that you have missed out on workng alongside at least a few contemporaries that *stay* is maybe most at the heart of the matter? (I work with all men, most younger, and they also come and go and I miss how it was at past jobs with all women and how we would all get together from time to time after work)

Things will work out...because you are thinking these things might mean some changes in your life(big or lttle) are in your future.

Please come over when you get a chance and see what I have for you in my Mar. 11 blog.

Hazel Designs said...

Protege, I think the disechantment happens to all of us occasionally - though your job sounds especially cool.

Protege said...

=Tina,
yes you are right, sometimes it is good to keep things in perspective. And as we keep evolving all the time, of course it is sometimes strange to feel that we are suppose to only do one thing in our lives. And these thoughts typically enter our minds at the age we are now.;)
Thank you for your words and again for the award, I really appreciate it.;)))

=Hazel,
I think you have figured it out quiet well; you have your job and your jewelery making on the side. That is exactly the way to go.;))
Thank you for your nice comment.;))

Blog Princess G said...

Dear Protege, this is a post I think many of us - who are lucky enough to love our jobs - can relate to. It's like a relationship... even the best ones go through slumps... it's all hills and valleys. Your description of your "free and creative environment" really caught my eye. It has always seemed to me that the most effective scientists are very creative... if they were just digging the same holes all the time, how would they make the discoveries they do?

I probably wouldn't understand much about what you do at work, but I do know, in the way you write, in your gorgeous personal sense of style and in your paintings, that you are a majorly creative woman and you always will be in whatever you decide to do, either at work or outside of work.

By the way, I'm still working on my novel (hence taking a break from blogging), and it feels SO good to do something for myself. It may never be published, but it's a great release. :)

Protege said...

=G,
your lovely comment touched me greatly and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your sincere words.

I am so excited about the prospect of you writing a novel, I can not express how much I admire that. I hope one day to have enough material for one. I am not sure if the talent is there.;)
I also so understand what you mean by the statement that you like doing something for yourself; it is like you are reading my thoughts.

Good luck with your writing and for taking a moment to stop by here, despite taking a break.
xoxo
Z

Noelle Chantal said...

Hi, Protege! It's been a while and I miss your blog! Anyway, I think you have the coolest job! You are very creative, talented and smart lady. Your personality and your thoughts about life, work and pleasure reflects truly in your writing. I must say I learn a lot from you. I think you being a scientist suits you perfectly! A person with the passion for art and science is the perfect combo to become an amazing scientist. And that's you, Protege! I think it's ok that you didn't get to pursue some of your dreams, maybe because God has better plans for you. And that's when He leads you to become a scientist and a magnificent writer at the same time! Just like I said, your interesting knowledge about life, work and pleasure mirror your wonderful personality. :)

Protege said...

Ah sweet Noelle, you make this worth my while. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, it is very refreshing to hear such wise thoughts from a smart young Lady.;))
I am glad you enjoy your visits here, you know how much appreciate and love when you stop by.
Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you for this lovely comment.;))
xoxo