Thursday, December 26, 2019

The post where I thank everyone and spin off a new blog for a new decade

When I started this blog in 2012, I did it to make sense of my thoughts about starting my first faculty position as an Assistant Professor and to share with a few friends. Never ever I would have thought 1) that I would still be doing this seven years later, 2) that the blog would have more than 500,000 total views, and 3) that I would have become part of a community of science bloggers and Twitter users who supported me scientifically and personally for this long. On a fateful day in 2014 when Melissa @biochembelle tweeted about my posts and introduced me to the scientific community on social media everything changed. I made lots of pocket friends, many of whom became real-life friends, and I was introduced to an extended support network full of information and new ideas, often providing respite from the lonely life of starting a lab on Twitter and via the @NewPI_slack. I met colleagues who were a sounding board for grant ideas and who helped with my career progression and transition (you know who you are). I found Peg AtKisson @iGrrrl who was hired as a grant consultant and was instrumental in helping me get 2 R01s. I watched science Twitter dynamics oscillate between chaotic good and chaotic evil sometimes, and tried my best to tip the scales towards good. I learned a lot about diversity and was inspired to build a more inclusive environment wherever I go. So first of all, thank you!

With the general decline of blogging and the trend toward shorter and more immediate forms of sharing information, I was wondering if this would still be useful, but when I asked 94% of respondents said they would still want a blog. And checking the stats I realized that this site still gets 3-4,000 hits a month despite me not having posted in 10 months...so I will keep going. Since I'm not a new PI any longer and readers asked to focus on mid-career faculty issues, I decided to start a new blog My Mid-career Academic Life. I will try and cross-reference the two blogs at the beginning to get clicks and get indexed and all the necessary internet things, but I didn't want to change the identity of The New PI blog and I prefer to move on.  I've been meaning to unpseud for a while, but today is not the day and I promise it will be soon (-ish).

In following @drugmonkeyblog's tradition to list the posts of the month at the end of each year, I decided to link 12 posts to close this blog: the 6 most read and 6 favorite ones which may not have had as much attention. Here we go.

Greatest hits:
1) Submitting your R00 proposal to transfer your K99 to your new job: a survival guide  - 12,547 hits as of today. I'm so happy this has been helpful for so many of you!

2) Interviewing for a postdoc: questions you should ask - 11,176 hits. This was for the trainees.

3) A compilation of K99 and R00 advice - 10,890 hits. This links to a lot of my other K99/R00 posts and other blogs/articles that could be useful in the process. I may skip some other popular K99 posts because they're all included here.

4) Where do you find grant money for your lab? - 5,939 hits. This is old and has not been updated in a while, but it's still a good starting list.

5) Tales of postdocs past: what did I learn? - 5,638 hits. Cultivating or identifying resilience in trainees is something faculty discusses ad nauseam and this was one of the first times I articulated some thoughts on finding the right lab peeps.

6) Will I have jumped the glass cliff in 5 years? - 5,554 hits.  Looks like the answer to that question is NO, but this was definitely one of my most emotional posts and it struck a chord with many people.

My personal faves:
1) The New PI hits the 6 month slump: how do you keep proactive? - The first 6 months of a faculty position are so hard! Whenever I bump into friends at conferences who have just started a lab, I think of this post and I just want to hug them.

2) Musings about work ethics and an unstructured schedule - I still stand by this one.

3) Is resilience the name of the game in academia? - Yes, it is. Happy to report that yours truly, Doc Becca and my nameless friend in this post are all Associate professors and NIH funded.

4) The beginning of the R01 twin strategy - This sounded crazy and controversial and it kind of worked...not as I intended because they ended up being Irish twins. But yay, twins!

5) In the belly of the beast. NIH Early Career Reviewer - Part 2 of a two-part post on the NIH ECR program. What I learned about NIH review in my first experience is still helping me now that I've been Reviewer 1.

6) Deciding which university is the right fit for you - A more recent and mature post on how to decide which environment you want to be in and how to find it.

So long, and thank you for all the fish! 🐬🐬

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