Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.

Turns out I didn’t get my Fellowship, meaning I’m almost definitely not going to be in San Diego for another year. It also means I need to start applying for different jobs and/or fellowships back in England. It also means I might need to broaden my horizons with respect to job prospects. So, in an attempt to legitimise my writing, I figured I’d start taking it seriously.

And that’s where this new blog comes in, without any of the f***ing swearing and jokes about masturbating in the library.

To be honest it’s not surprising I didn’t get the Fellowship. I’m a first year postdoc with no first author papers, and no grant writing experience, beginning a new project using other people’s data as preliminary work. The most annoying thing is the lack of feedback, so I’ve no idea how comparable my grant writing skills.

Actually the most annoying thing is being called Dr Alexander. If you’ve read my proposal, including references about how awesome “Alex” is, and addressed an email to ajryan I feel like you should at least know my name! I mean I love correcting people when they call me “Mr Ryan”, but I feel like pointing out the difference between surnames and given names is far below my remit.

Last week I read this on the Science website, summing up this article in Cell. Basically, van Dijk et al. have scoured Pubmed, collected data on authorship, H-index and citations, as well as the highest impact factor for individuals and their most recent university. Then they compared these values to the those with a PIship.

(That word looks wrong. The hell is a piss ship?! And I said I wasn’t going to swear!)

They found out that the only thing that really matters is first author papers, and having a penis. Having an article in a journal with a high impact factor helps, and the current university matters as long as it’s in the top 10. But mostly it’s the penis thing. It sucks, right?

Then they used complicated maths to work out your likelihood of becoming a PI, and if you scroll to the bottom of that first link (here it is again if you can’t be bothered scrolling up) you can see your likelihood of getting your own lab. Luckily I fall into the “I am better at science because of my genitalia” group, with a massive 17% likelihood of becoming a PI (compared to 7% if I was a woman). That’s without any first author papers, and as long as I can get a PI job straight from leaving the 14th best university in the world.

So I really need to get on the first author papers; preferably in Nature or Science…

Unfortunately my two papers have a female first, and as we all know women get cited less than men. (I read an article advocating the use of initials instead of actual names, which I can fully get behind and plan to do with any further publications, but I can’t find it now, so sorry for the lack of link and here is a similar one. Thanks Day!) But luckily a general H-index doesn’t seem to affect it too much, especially compared to first author paper citations.

So again I need to get on the first author papers.

An old model gave me a much better chance of 42% (compared to 30% as a woman), so I just need to make a time machine and head back unti…well, actually I’ll probably be able to get a physics lab if I build a time machine. Or I’ll just go back and help Rosalind Franklin get her Nobel Prize. Although obviously it’d be called the Ryan Prize.


Today’s quote is from Chuck Palahniuk.


3 thoughts on “Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.

  1. Yes I think it would be a good idea for you to look for work in your native England. You see, we Americans are damn tired of letting everyone have our jobs when we ourselves are unemployed. I do wish you peace and good luck.

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