Thursday, August 27, 2015

"free" conference

I was still technically part of a research group after I'd finished grad school. The primary grant that I had worked under had a few stipulations, one of which was that the research group would present the findings of the work at x number of national/international conferences. The grant-giving organization had money set aside specifically for the conference attendance, and to make a long story short, I was the only one available to give the presentation.

I had just started a new job. Conference attendance wouldn't be a problem, right? After all, my travel and conference costs were entirely covered. Plus, as a newly-minted employee, I would be representing my new firm as a technical expert at big conference (related to that industry).

Not so much. New employer was fixated on the three days of admin/non-billable work that they'd need to pay me to fly out and give the presentation, so I ended up promising that I would squash three days of overtime into two weeks to avoid any extra admin charges.

I was wiped out by that overtime, plus the presentation prep time (also not allowed to be charged to the firm), and so I didn't do any actual conference networking to support my new employer.

I thought that the firm was outrageously short-sighted for not wanting to take advantage of a (mostly) free conference. I eventually figured out the office politics around having a brand-new employee jet off to a fancy conference (even though it was my research), and considered myself lucky to be allowed to go.

Now if I have a conference I'd like to attend, I make sure to have a business case for going and not just argue that I can give a cool presentation. I do miss grad school in that respect - as a grad student, I'd be able to take a free conference in a heartbeat, and not worry about more complicated financial/business development considerations.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

weight and fieldwork

I discussed this a while back, but I tend to lose weight if I'm doing a significant chunk of fieldwork (say, more than 2 months) and gain weight when I'm back in the office. When I'm in the field, I'm constantly in motion - pacing while on the phone, scurrying back to the truck/trailer/storage unit to grab something, hauling stuff around. When I'm not doing fieldwork, I'm mostly sedentary at the office and then I come home and do maybe an hour of exercise one or twice a week.

I thought that most people lost weight in the field like I do, but when I asked around, I found that many of my coworkers gain weight. This is usually for a few reasons:

1. Regular exercise: unlike me, lots of other people who do fieldwork like physical activity/exercise, and when they're not in the field, they're on an adult rec league or they hike six mountains every weekend or they go on long bike rides/runs. When they're working long days, they don't have the time or facilities/equipment to exercise like they normally would.

2. Alcohol. This really deserves its own post, but briefly, we tend to drink more in the field than when we're at home.

3. Eating outside food: some people are diligent about cooking for themselves, either for their own enjoyment/interest in saving money or because they have dietary restrictions. The rest of us eat out. A lot.

I have no idea whether it's more common to gain or lose weight in the field. Readers, do you gain? lose? or can you actually maintain a steady weight regardless of where you're working?

Friday, August 21, 2015

blogroll update

It's been about 2 years since my last blogroll update. I've rearranged some of the headings and made a few other changes. Notably:

Deletions: Diamictite and The Happy Scientist have been post-free for more than a year, and sporadic before then. I'll keep an eye out, and if posts reappear, I'll add them back in.


The field experiences of ecologists and geologists are pretty damn close, and I've found myself using Dynamic Ecology many times for post inspiration.

I'm also adding a paleontology blog to round out the geology list - check out Fossils and Other Living Things.

Feel free to poke through the blogs!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

restarting transmission

So, that was a big gap. I got hit with a whole bunch of issues (personal and professional) that sucked up all my time, and then my posting fell by the wayside when my newfangled "write on weekends, post on weekdays" schedule hit a snag.

However, I do have a big pile of post-it notes with blog post ideas, which I kept accumulating in my posting absence. Let's see how it goes...