It's been a time for me to reflect on where I am in life, and where I'm going. I submitted my second stage contract proposal earlier in the week. I'll still need to work up a contract with them. But it seems ever more expected that this will simply go. I can't quite bring myself to disbelieve it... but I remain amazed at how far I've come these past few years. And I'm hoping to submit yet another new grant proposal in the next couple weeks. That'd make four outstanding proposals, on top of the expected two-year contract. Each one of them represents the potential to hire another one or two or three additional employees over the coming year or so.
Some of you have followed me on this journey from desperate academic seeker to whatever I've become. Three years ago, I wrote:
I find myself, three years later on the verge of heading just such a team. Not quite the plan I had. In some ways, more independent. I'm not running an insititute or a center, I'm running a start-up, a bootstrap as they say (meaning not a penny from investors, just me). I've gotten two contracts, and a third on the way, enough to hire a small team. And it's all on me.
I know where I want to be in 5-10. I want to be director of an interdisciplinary institute or center on my area of study, bringing together researchers and faculty from a variety of disciplines and methodological backgrounds to focus on the subject matter.
There's an ad I've seen on the web, showing a business card, that slowly adds more and more titles: President, CEO, Accountant, HR, Receptionist. I chuckle. It's not a joke. I'm the grants writer, and the payroll specialist, the PI, and the maintenance engineer, the purchasing agent, and the janitor. But soon, oh so very soon (even if it's months away), I'll be the director of my very own hand-picked research team, engaged in my very own hand-picked projects.
It's humbling. And inspiring. It's what I wanted those years ago. In a sense. The odd thing is: I fell into this role, being an entrepreneur, a business owner. Looking over things, I came across a post over at BlogHer by my friend Leslie , that linked to some of my posts from early 2006, when I was still in the thrall of academia, wanting so much to just persevere long enough to make it. I never did, at least not in that realm... but oh I held on.
It's just somewhere along the path, I meandered. I tired of the monotony of application, rejection, application, rejection, appli... Finally, I emerged, hesitantly, uncertainly. Less than a year ago I got word of my first contract four years after completing the PhD. Four .. very .. long .. years. Only a month ago, I got word that the transition funding was approved, and that I was invited to submit a two-year contract.
This is all still new, the paint is still drying. Yet another chapter in my life is about to begin. Wow!