Publications as a measure

My first publication went live today. It is a pretty exciting moment in a scientific career. Lots of hard work and volleying with editors and reviewers, and BAM paper. Put a line on your CV and go onto the next thing.

I think lots of people expect about 2-4 publications out of PhD students these days. I don’t know how I feel about that. I would like to think substantial work should be represented by the time a dissertation rolls around. Does that mean one glamour publication and two small journals? I don’t have the answers today.

What I do have is a perspective of humor for today. You see, I decided that I don’t want to play on the PhD wagon. I started this process so I could teach college students biochemistry. Maybe I was super naive (definitely), maybe I didn’t really understand what it meant (possibly), and probably I thought I wouldn’t have trouble getting the job I wanted.

Turns out this type of job is going to require me to continue slaving at the bench and then move across the country a couple of times to land a job. And, at the end of the day, after working as a TA for six (!) semesters, I don’t even know if I would enjoy that job.

So I made some changes, got an internship, and started putting together a master’s degree. I’ll be graduating in May, and going off on the next adventure. I don’t exactly know what that means right now, but I’m sending off lots of applications.

So how is this related to the publication? This publication isn’t from my master’s work. Its from a rotation in a lab the first year of my program. That’s right, six weeks of work yielded more scientific currency than 3 years in my thesis lab. Now maybe I’ll get a publication from my master’s. I’m really working for it. But it isn’t looking good.

It just really amuses me (in a crying sort of way) that I have more to show from a rotation than my master’s degree. Whomp.