Thursday, July 18, 2013


Workout: 4 miles, 11:00 average, Pace Gloves

Warning to my blog friends: we're venturing into non-jogging territory today. Feel free to move right along if you're looking for my usual inane chatter (HansonsAlaska photostrashy music recommendations-speaking of which, Blood on the Leaves. Listen twelve times before judging too harshly. Also, Youtube's only got a higher-pitched version. Lame).

There was the mildest of smackdowns on the blog yesterday. I whined about the humidity and was promptly put in my place by Prof and Coach for my blatant hypocrisy. To which I say, "To err is human; to be annoying, Jeano." Or something like that. Does anyone even know the second half of that phrase?

Anyway, I don't tolerate weather whining from others (although I should qualify that statement by saying that I don't tolerate cold weather whining. If it's hot as hell where you are, whine on! Hot weather sucks), so it's silly of me to tolerate the same from myself. Smacked. Down. We're like the extremely tame and extremely inconsequential version of all the smackdowns that go on in the econ blogworld. What, you think I only read running blogs?

Speaking of econ blogs, one of my favorites is Noahpinion. That doesn't really matter for the purpose of this post, but if you're into that kind of thing, the blog's hilarious and a great read even for people with a limited knowledge of economics. Suggested reads include an amazing post on some of the freaks that troll the econ interblogs, and another on the definition of "derp." The post I really want to share with you, though, is about PhDs (title: "If you get a PhD, get an economics PhD").

[To the uninitiated, I'm heading to grad school this fall]

Now, as an economist, Noah is obviously biased. I don't know enough about the PhD business to make an informed decision. Regardless, his thoughts on lab science PhDs made me laugh:

"Lab science PhDs. These include biology, chemistry, neuroscience, electrical engineering, etc. These are PhDs you do because you're either a suicidal fool or an incomprehensible sociopath. They mainly involve utterly brutal hours slaving away in a laboratory on someone else's project for your entire late 20s, followed by years of postdoc hell for your early 30s, with a low percentage chance of a tenure-track position. To find out what these PhD programs are like, read this blog post. If you are considering getting a lab science PhD, please immediately hit yourself in the face with a brick. Now you know what it's like."

To be clear, he's not insulting lab scientists. Not at all. He's just saying that it's a soul-crushing field to go into.

Anyway, I know I've got a few smarty pants reading this blog (see: Prof & Coach) so I thought I'd share.

I'd be remiss not to mention running on this here running blog of mine. I ran today.

Oh, here's a picture:

  • Lab scientists: is Noah right? The scientists at the place I used to work sure looked depressed.
  • Other grad schoolers: make a case for your field, if you'd like.
  • What non-running/fitness blogs do you read?


  1. Hahaha. There's some truth to that statement. I describe it this way:

    When I graduated college, and had a placement in a PhD program, I thought I was getting a great deal. I knew where I'd be in 2 months, I had a spot in a program, I had a stipend coming to me, and I was TRAINING in something I LOVED. Many of my classmates were still floundering around, looking for jobs, soul searching, trying to figure out what they really wanted to do with their lives. My smug attitude lasted about 2 years, after which most of them were making more money than I, were climbing the career ladder, and were working no MORE hours. Plus, the longer I spent in grad school, the worse the prospects for PhDs looked.

    But essentially, the bigger problem (at least in science) isn't the slave-driving attitude of some bosses. Rather, the problem in my opinion) is that market is flooded with PhDs, but funding (and jobs) are scarce. You're an economist. What happens as a result should not be surprising.

    I read a bunch of science blogs, a few writing blogs, a few friends' blogs, and of course...the Dairy Queen blog (brand new discovery, so I'm glad you asked this question!):

    1. I am so very confused by this Dairy Queen blog... is there something of value to be found there? Is it an ex-pat thing? ARE YOU PUNKING ME? I'm sure it's a... great read.

      You always make me scared about what's waiting for me in grad school. I used to raise money for biomedical research so I am well aware of the uncertainty surrounding research funding. The place I work now seems to have (to me, a researcher blissfully ignorant of the financial side of it) great funding, fortunately, but there's obviously no guarantee it'll still be there when I'm done with school!

  2. Also, I know some of the humor in this will be lost on non-lab scientists, but this 'Bad Romance' remake made the YouTube rounds a few years back. It still makes me laugh/cry. [And I am absolutely, 100% incapable of singing the original song anymore.]

    [Incidentally, the lab caught some amount of flak from the rest of the "scientific public" for "wasting time making the video". Sigh...]

  3. Oh, you can whine to me about hot weather - if you don't mind me whining to you about the cold. We each have TOTALLY legitimate's all relative.

    Funny story: Cousin and I went to college in California and New Hampshire respectively, in the same year.

    We both called home freshman winter:
    Him: Mum, it's 15 degrees C. I'm cold.
    Me: Mum, it's -15 degrees C. I'm cold...
    (And then later in January it hit -20F and really, everything became relative from that point.)

  4. My sister's starting her PhD in Epidemiology in the fall, so I'll let you know.

    I'd love to tell you how incredibly touch my MA was (International Studies/Development), but it wasn't. Definitely a LOT of reading and writing, but no lab work, not a lot of memorization/tests, and I got to go on international trips for "educational purposes."

  5. Hah, I completely agree with Noah! I've always referred to PhD's as "permanent head damage" and that was always with a science-based PhD in mind.

    Hmmm I don't read any non-running blogs, does that make me close minded or something? Honestly, I don't have a particular desire to search out other blogs because you get a bit of everything while reading running blogs anyway.

  6. I have so much to say about the PhD track, but I think I can sum it up as: I loved it while I was doing it! It was so awesome and meaningful to me at that time in my life. Looking back? Sure, I was probably overly obsessed with work at the time. It took me to a place/career where I feel forced to do things rather than wanting that. I think if you go in with a good head and know what to expect and know that it is OK to quit if you are unhappy and to be proactive about making your own career yours then I think it is a wonderful place. Please ask me more questions if you want, I could go on for hours.