It's a metaphor... I'm not a runner.
Yesterday, I spent more than 5 hours on the phone talking with job applicants. A couple of them I was less impressed with than expected, and pleasingly a couple I was more impressed with. If I have my druthers, I'll be issuing an invitation to come for a site visit in the next couple weeks and contingent offers for employment to three of them, two post-doc and one ABD.
It's touch and go. I have little idea just when the funds for my Second Stage (2-year) contract will hit the bank. I could probably float salaries and benefits for all three for about a month... but that's it. I've been paying myself a month in arrears simply for cashflow. Meaning, of course, I can't hire them too soon, lest I wind up with unexpected delays on my funding.
I should hear back today or tomorrow from my agency lead for the big project if we're a go to submit our materials to the contracts department, which would put us on the slow track for budget and oversight approval. If all goes well, that'll only take a month or two, and we'd be on target for funding around the top of the year. But, I've heard of it taking 4 or 6, even 8 months. I think I've got clean books and a good budget, but this is my first time going through the audit approval process. There's no telling.
I expect to hear also in the next couple weeks from the second agency that has selected my firm about the schedule for award on that contract. It's in the works, that's all I know. Since payment is in arrears after submittal of progress reports, I expect the soonest any funding would come in from that source would be around the middle to end of December. Finally, I'm biting my nails on one outstanding proposal to yet a third agency. If that comes through, I'm good to hire another one or two in the coming year beyond those three.
I'm in my new office now. But they've been renovating the street. Daily I'm bombarded with the sound of bricks and concrete being sawn. Imagine me, sitting here, on the phone for six hours, with that as background noise. But I got through it. Come next week, the renovations (on my block at least) should be through. I hope!
But I'm happy, very happy!