Monday, October 13, 2008

DPS 2008

I'm currently at the DPS (Division of Planetary Science) meeting in Ithaca, NY, and am feeling a wide range of things - excitement and motivation, guilt, and "who AM I??", all in sequential order. Let me explain.

The first day or two of a conference are very exciting and motivating. Everyone seems so excited about their work, you get ideas for your own project that you can't wait to implement when you get home, and all is just hunky-dory.

Then it happens - people start asking me what I want to do after I'm done my PhD (which will, fingers crossed, be next summer). I start to flounder - not really sure what to say. I try to make it sound like I'm open for anything, but it ends up coming out like I don't really care about my career.

The real answer is that I don't know because we will be moving to where my husband can find a job he likes. We both want this since we'd like to start a family soon and I'll be the one staying home with the kids. Plus, he's going into industry and only has a few options in his field.

So, why do I feel so guilty about this? Why can't I just say "I'm going to wait until we move and then look for a position" and not be wishy-washy about it? I know exactly why

1) I don't want people think I'm making a decision based on a MAN (even if he is my husband)
2) I feel like if I get offered a position (or even the glimpse of an offer) I should jump at the chance because who knows if anyone else would want me to work for them
3) I don't want to admit to people that I really DON'T know what I want to do after I'm done even if I COULD go anywhere. It's embarrassing in this field where everyone seems to base their life soley on their career --- the end all and be all.

This brings me to my last point. At the DPS Women's lunch today we were talking about presentation styles and how men are a certain way and women are another. In our area, I find women have to basically act like men to get respect. They have to talk like a man, act like a man, and dress like a man. But today we were talking about how we shouldn't have to do that. Which makes sense, until you try it and you end up looking like a woman (whatever that means).

So, the question is, do we as women turn ourselves into men to demand respect, or should we just keep plugging away at being ourselves and hope that it all works out in the end?