An explanation I owe you

researchSince the previous post about reading the paper was quite short I decided to update about my struggle for the continuation of the research work.

See one of the biggest problems I’m facing is my incurable need to eat. For some reason, I need to eat daily to be able to function. This is a habit I never managed to get rid off and to fund this habit I have to have some source of income. 

I’m unemployed at the moment. I made mistake, typical for the females, and decided to look for a job close to my husband’s. He is lucky, he has a permanent position, while at the beginning of our life together I had only postdoctoral contracts. 

At the beginning of any scientific career, fresh Ph.D. goes in series of 2-3 year long postdoctoral contracts where one goes and do different research at the different institution. It is extremely rare in astrophysics that person stays to do a postdoc at the same place where they did Ph.D. 

I moved all around the planet to do my contracts and got fed up with moving, stopping research just when it got interesting, and I also got married. 

So, seemed logical for me to try to find something closer to his location, instead of dooming us to constant moving around the planet in search of the next postdoctoral contract.  The problem is, he as a biologist is located in a very remote area without any good possibilities for a job for me. 

I tried to find a job in a closest urban area. That means reeducating myself, so I learned about Data science, and now I’m taking an online course for IT specialist. 

I would find some, short-term contracts with a horrific commute of several hours per day on clogged highways. In the end, commute and other expenses made such jobs as good as working as a cleaner in a local village. Same take-home salary, minus commute. 

Again it seemed logical to stop bothering with jobs in a closest urban area because hours I would save on commute are allowing me to work on other options. 
I have to admit, as European, I consider commute in personal car incredible waste of time. At least in Europe, I was able to work while traveling in public transport, so that time was not lost. In public transport, you can do stuff while you ride. Here in West Coast USA, a commute is tied to a private car, because public transport simply sucks. So, for one job I had to commute 3-4 hours in one direction through the dense traffic full of very irate people. And one cannot do anything but drive a car, very, very carefully. 

I decided to try to create research job for myself. The best option for me is to apply for grants. I chatted with my former colleagues and looked for open grants that actually match my skills. Then I read about conditions needed to apply and ended up starting a small business. Luckily I live in outside borders of any city, meaning that it is fairly easy to start a small business.

Now, I’m a business owner and I applied for one grant, and writing another. Right now, my tiny business is operating with a loss, but I will not give up. 

I’m still facing the problem of finding funds for that pesky habit of eating. So while I’m writing and editing grants and blog, I work at the local businesses in a seasonal capacity. I have to because no one here would accept a person with Ph.D. for longer. They are afraid that I will leave. The hours I save avoiding the horrific commute to the local big urban area I use to write grants, this blog, and search for other longer-term possibilities. 

Anyway, the probability of me getting a grant is low. The competition is fierce because parts of every professor salary at every USA university is funded through grants. Every postdoc position, every grad student is funded by grants. So, I have to be honest with my self, getting the grant is a long shot. Nevertheless, I will not give up. 

But I also have additional motivation. I like to have a sense of purpose in my life, a sense of contributing something to the betterment of the human society. And, let’s face it, working in some local business, as clerk or cleaner, is not really fulfilling. It is interesting at the beginning, and boy, I met people I could not believe exist outside some outrageous stories, but in the end, it seems like I’m cheating the society by not utilizing my talents. 

I tried to get some funding through Patreon and adds. But that does not work. You can see on Patreon how much per month I get (less than $20), and the total income from adds is around $0.10 up to now. So yeah, unless something is invented so that humans do not need to eat, I have to have a job.

And this above is ultimately the reason why I paused my research of flares for now. I have only one computer and I need it to write grants. That means running a small batch of the data analysis so that I can back up my grant proposals. And my old small computer can handle only one serious processing job. 

All I can say is that I will do my best to continue with that research as soon as possible, but at the moment, this is it. 

Do not get me wrong, this is not a plea for funding. I know that you too need to eat as well and that your own income is precious. I’ll find the way, hopefully, to do what I like, research and have enough income to live. 

This is in a way, an explanation I owe you, as a faithful reader. 


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