Tuesday, June 07, 2005


It was my first attempt in a long time. I hadn't done one in a while. I was scared. As I lifted the test tube full of my specimen of study I could only sigh, hoping this run in science would be more successful than my last one. For some reason, I looked at this one simple experiment as a first step in reforging my career and my self confidence.

I had spent the last few days building up to this moment. I planned carefully, playing chess with mother nature.

As I began testing, I watched the computer monitor in quiet anticipation. Actually, almost quiet anticipation -- my foot was nervously tapping on the floor beneath the stool I sat on. "C'mon, c'mon... work. Please work."

Suddenly, I saw my signal appear. The experiment worked on the first try. The data was as I predicted and calculated days ago. As scientists, we almost expect our experiments to fail on our first try. We are trained to believe that our results will come, only after months and years of toil and heartache.

As the results poured in, I felt a warm wave of joy rush through my body. I hadn't felt happy like this in years. At that moment I realized -- did I really need my experiment to work to feel such bliss? Need my sense of self be so strongly associated with external factors? As I drove home, I suddenly recognized that, win, pin or draw, happiness must be an unshakable resident of our inner self.

I have plenty of other experiments to do today. No, I'm not afraid. Regardless of the results, I'll be driving home happy tonight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was pretty bummed out yesterday when I felt that I did not do as good a job as I should have at work. However, just realising that and admitting to myself that yeah, I did a rather mediocre job but I will strive to do it better next time round, I drove home happy. I guess that's kind of a similar experience.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Anandi said...

Yay for your experiment. I think scientists are usually so wrapped up in their work that it is intrinsically related to their happiness. Actually, come to think of it, it's not just scientists - it's a lot of Americans. We're just not very good at defining ourselves by something other than our work, I think. But maybe that's a sign that many of us demand jobs that we love, vs. just having a job to pay the bills. I can't imagine working at a job I didn't like at all, just to make $$. But then again, I've been very blessed to have challenging opportunities available to me.

Anyway, yes, I agree that we should not base our happiness and well-being on how things go at work. If you are, you're becoming a victim to the whim of corporate (or academic or govt) America...

4:12 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

Congrats, Vavoom! We need these victories as often as we can to remind us that sweat and tears will have a chance at success. I know that I am a very patient person but I couldn't find enough to do your job. B) Hell, I'd have to dig deep to lie to myself that I had intelligence enough to understand the data.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Davydgrey said...

So what was the experiment Vavoom? I used to be a chem major back in the day and I am curious as to what you were testing.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

Very good, V. Keep it up!

7:10 PM  
Blogger A Fashionista said...

I hate to be a joy killer, but usually uneventful shit happens in labs. But once in awhile the good/successful/piss positive stuff does occur.

7:19 PM  
Blogger thc said...

V: It's symbolic. What a great way to start with your new group!

7:29 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Congratulations, what a great thing to happen with all that has been going on in your school world lately.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Merry Stitcher said...

I'm with THC...taking it all as a very good sign. Congrats!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Moose said...

I think you've hit something here. It's an all too common event that we are defined by our jobs. But when they take up so much of our time, is it really any surprise?

12:43 AM  
Blogger mis_nomer said...

Finding satisfaction/ fulfilment in our jobs is, in a way, inevitable. It is the rare guru who is able to rise above that. So congrats! :)

Thanks for popping by my blog. Yours is neat too!

1:26 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

This is one reason I decided I could not live my life as a lab person...I get so caught up in trying to make everything run right, but it hardly ever works for me the first time. Even when it does work I am so mentally exhausted I don't feel anything about it. I think the fact that it still makes you happy at any point is a sign you are where you need to be.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

Your experiences sound similar to what I go through writing software, which is strange. In a good way.

Now that I think about it, I can see several aspects of my work which might be similar to planning and performing experiments.

Hope you continue to find joy each day, with or without expected results.

8:16 AM  

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