Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Professional Meetings

I spent most of last week at my discipline's annual professional meetings. This is the first time in two years that I went due to conflicts with dissertation data collection. Last time I was there, I shared a room with Dr. Brazen Hussy and Dr. La Blonde Parisienne and they were sorely missed this year. Say you'll come back to hang out with me someday? Sniffle.

This year's meetings is the first time that I have presented any of my dissertation data. I wasn't going to present anything at all, but my friend asked me if I would be his co-author and do a presentation synthesizing some of our research. I said that sounded good. I had most of my stuff ready before the meetings, but I still had some anxiety about it. He was still putting together his end on Thursday night when we were supposed to give the paper later that week.

I really wanted to see what was going to be presented before it was presented, so he said he would meet me after lunch. I assumed that meant around 1:30. At 3:30, he finally showed up ... he was late because he just had to "take a nap". I was PISSED OFF. We only had time to practice it once, so it was kind of choppy and not very good when he presented it. After the session was finished, I was invited to lunch with the other speakers. I knew I HAD to go to, for face time and schmoozing and answering questions, but I really would have preferred to relax and get a beer with my friends. After FOUR HOURS of talks, the last thing I wanted to do was to be mentally on my game some more.

On the walk over there, another one of the presenters in the symposium told me that she has an article in press that covers a small portion of my dissertation data, using the very same methods. The first thing I thought was ... shit. Then she said that her data came up wildly different. Double shit. Then she asked me a whole bunch of questions, some of which I think I answered kind of badly (about my study subjects) and some of which I answered kind of well (about statistics). Lunch was a little awkward and I sat there silently trying to look intelligent, and attempting not to say anything stupid.

Good things that came out of the meetings:

(1) Because this woman has something in press about my dissertation data, I have re-evaluated how I am presenting mine. The power of my study is in that I have a lot of complementary data on different things. I am going to concentrate on that aspect of my work.

(2) One of the other people who presented in my session is doing really cool work on complementary stuff and wants to collaborate with me at some point. Yay!

(3) I discovered I have the perfect data set to publish a paper on an extremely trendy aspect research angle.

Please hire me? kthxbai.

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