It's that time of year again; that nail biting, anxious, 'why don't they love me', maybe they called while I was in the bathroom, time of year. No, no, no, I don't mean the new National Academy of Science members announcements. That came out end of April, and I noticed I was passed over once again this year in what I can only interpret as blatant ageism. I mean, how is someone as young as me supposed to accumulate the absurdly high research record the Academy 'demands' for consideration?
No, it's the time of year when the yays and nays start to filter out of NSF for the DEB panels (that's Division of Environmental Biology for my non-ecology/evolution friends). NSF program directors tend to call with good news (or send you a blanket form letter with bad news). This results in all sorts of interesting behavior this time of year, especially from junior people. I find it surprisingly similar to those awkward early stages of dating:
1) Excitement: I know the odds are not in my favor. Afterall, NSF is so totally hot right now. They've been rejecting 92% of the proposals that hit on them....but my proposal(s) totally rocked! How could they reject me?
2) Doubt: The "yays' are supposed to filter out quickly...if NSF was totally into me, I think perhaps maybe I should have heard by now?
3) Denial: No one else seems to have heard anything. Well, no one but that one guy who got a 'yes', but that was for such a totally different panel. I'm sure my panel is just busy or, you know, out of town or something. They'll call. Hopefully. Maybe.
4) Insanity: Maybe they just don't like to leave messages. I have been out of my office lately, working in the lab. Did I put the lab phone on my profile? What happens if they call and I'm not there? Do they give my money to the next person on the list? Maybe my phone doesn't work (pick up phone, hear dial tone)..oh shit, maybe they tried to call right then! God I have to pee but I don't dare leave the phone.
5) Depression: They're not going to call. I'm such a loser. How could I have been so stupid to think NSF would ever love someone like me?
6) Binge Eating: ummm, chocolate good.
7) Resignation/delusion: Well, there are more proposal deadlines in the sea. July is starting to look pretty good. In fact, I bet the July panel will LOVE me.