Archive for the ‘disappointment’ Category

The I Can’t/Won’t Child

One of E’s most frustrating personality traits that has come out more and more in the last year or so is an attitude of “I CAN’T” or he WON’T even try.

It comes out the most during new physical activities like skating and swimming lessons.

I get that not everyone wants to try everything, and he’s never been the type to jump right into new situations and activities. I don’t want to force him to do anything,  but what thing I find particularly frustrating are

1) he gets so excited about new activities beforehand and then breaks down in tears at the first sign of not being able to do it perfectly right off the bat,

2) claiming he can’t do something even though he doesn’t try (or, even more frustrating, when he CAN do it), and

3) breaking down into tears because he tries to do something new, does it, and then I  (gasp!) cheer him on.

It pushes me to the breaking point every times this happens. It is beyond frustrating to me. Why can’t he just TRY? Who cares if he can’t do it perfectly right away? Why does everything have to end in tears? Why can’t he just have fun trying (sometimes he doesn’t and sometimes he loves it and can’t wait to go to the next lesson, but it’s a crapshoot what his attitude will be like the next time)?

Both DH and I are totally flummoxed by this and don’t know what to do. We don’t want him to give up on things so easily, but we don’t want to force him into things either.

What worries me is that he’ll become so afraid to try new things that a) we’re going to start thinking twice about signing him up for classes/lessons or buying him new things (like a bike) because we don’t want him to give up and essentially waste the time and money, and b) I don’t want this attitude to keep him away from so many cool things in life.

Any thoughts or advice from parents who have been there, done that, with this kind of attitude?

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Still Upset

I’m still upset about how my work situation was handled before I went on maternity leave* back in September.

I have not written about it much yet, but it’s still bothering me, 9 months later. So, here’s the story.

Basically what happened is that I was going to cut my contract on Sept. 13th to go on “leave” (not really a leave, since I was on contract, and would have no guaranteed job to go back to). I was told that the $$ was there to pay someone to take over the position for at least the duration of the contract (March 31, 2014), with a possibility of give them an extension on the contract until I want to come back (plan was August 1, 2014, if there was funding at that point).

At the end of July, we interviewed someone, really liked her, and my boss gave her a verbal offer. She was going to start September 1st, to overlap with me for about 2 weeks to learn the ropes. The contract was drafted, and her references were being contacted…until it just stopped. During August, both me and the person who was to take over, contacted several people several times about the contract, and why it was taking longer than expected.

Then, near the end of August. she was contact by my boss and another staff member to have a meeting over Skype to talk about the position. She asked me if I knew what this was about, and I didn’t..I had no clue what was going on. They had the meeting on the 26th, and it turned out it was actually another interview (without telling her that). They told her the position was NOT going to be what it was at the time, and told her how it would be different (totally different duties, and much lower pay).

In the meantime, I was left out of the loop completely on all of this. I was frantically preparing everything to train the new person the next week, and to make sure everything was all organized for her. Three business days before she was supposed to start, she was offered the new job at the new pay and she turned it down. Again, I had not be told any of this, and never was.

I spent the last 2 weeks of my time there wrapping up loose ends. I knew there was not going to be a replacement for me, but not from my boss or other university staff. In fact, to this day, no one at the university has told me that 1) there would be no replacement for my position, and 2) there would be no option for a job for me to go back too (though we agreed I’d go back August 1, 2014).

Needless to say, I was not happy about how the situation was handled. It still upsets me. Nothing was done wrong in the legal sense, but it was just unprofessional. I have pretty much cut all contact with those I worked with/for**, but I have never brought it up with HR, my boss(es), or anyone else at the university.

What would you have done at the time? Would you do something now?

*Not really maternity leave, since I had no just to go back too.

**Though I do see one of my bosses from time to time with things unrelated to work, which can be awkward (for me, at least…can’t speak for them)

News Flash: Catholics Learn Science!

Today I have a meeting with a few teachers from the local Catholic school board to chat about doing some workshops with their students on impact cratering. In the past two weeks, when I’ve told people about this meeting, I’ve been surprised by some of the responses:

That should be interesting” with a bit of a scoff.

“What are you even going to teach them?”

“How is that going to work?”

“Oh, good luck with that.”

Each time I heard a comment like this, I was taken aback. Really? Is it that weird to think that science is being taught in our Catholic schools? Do people really have such an issue with religion and science being taught in the same building, that someone who believes in one can’t learn about the other?

It boggles my mind that many people cannot fathom believing in both religion and science. I, myself, am not particularly religious (though I do believe there is some sort of higher being out there); however, I know many scientists that are very religious. In fact, a good friend of mine (who is Mormon) said she loves to study astronomy because she feels that’s where science and religion intersect. I also know many people who attended Catholic school and/or teach in a Catholic school. And guess what? They also – gasp! – learn and teach science.

There is always a lot of complaining in the science world about religious “fanatics” having little to no understanding of the creation and evolution of our universe, or of evolution, or climate change, but the intolerance is a two-way street: The number of times I’ve heard someone assume that someone who is religious could not be a scientist is too many to count. These belief systems are not mutually exclusive, and there are many people who have the ability to meld the two.

I’m very excited to work with the Catholic school board, and I know they’re excited about our programs. If we can help break this stereotype along the way, it’s another bonus of the work I get to do.

In Which I Say "Screw It" and Give Up

I’m done.

I’m giving up on the observatory thing.

I’ve been thinking about it since the meeting with the department head. There is just no point to continue to work so hard for something no one else supports. As much as I would like to see the observatory remain open and used for public education and outreach purposes, there are so many other ways I can use my time in this way.

So, that’s it. The observatory is closing its doors on December 31st, and may not ever be open again. I put a year into this project, on top of my full-time workload, for no pay and definitely no recognition. I wrote up a business proposal, I put together a steering committee, I organized two very successful events, and got the word out there about the observatory. I did my best, and although I’m disappointed, I don’t consider any of it a failure.

If I end up getting a potential job (that I’m still not going to write about much until it’s set in stone), we might revisit the idea. After all, the observatory isn’t going anywhere, is it?

September Scientiae: Missing Out?

Karina, over at Ruminations of an Aspiring Ecologist, is hosting September’s Scientiae. She asks bloggers to write about “…what types of tools other people rely on for their research.”

I had to think long and hard about this question because, honestly, my research is pretty boring when it comes to necessary tools. Why? Because I basically sit in front of a computer all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG. It bores me just thinking about it, let alone writing about it! The only thing I could think of to write about was how I use the internet for pretty much everything. Boring!

This makes me sad, and it sometimes makes me feel like I’m not a “real” scientist. I read other blogs where they talk about having to spend time at the bench, or their equipment breaking down, or traveling to do field work. DH also has a very hands-on job: he’s in the lab all the time, designing things, building things, fixing things.

Even though my masters and doctoral work were categorized as observational astronomy, I did very little observing myself. Most of my research was based on archived data. If I did get new data, other people (professional observers working at the telescope(s)) obtained it for me. I did do some observations using the local telescope, and I did take two very short trips to use another telescope on my own. But, that’s about it.

During my two short post-docs, I really wanted to pick up a small project or two that involved using my hands, being in the lab or field, even if it was on the side. I was involved with such a project during my first post-doc (with my PhD supervisor), but the project was only in the initial stages that all I was able to do in the four months was to order some of the equipment. In my current post-doc, the plan was to go out in the field once or twice to help install or fix GPS equipment. But, then Baby G came along, and the trips were postponed, and it just hasn’t worked out.

It makes me wonder if I missed out on something. It makes me wonder, had I had these types of experiences in grad school, if I would have enjoyed that time more and not want to jump the research ship so readily. But, maybe this is why I enjoy outreach so much. I get to be out there, interacting with people, showing them stuff that doesn’t involve me sitting in front of a computer.

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