You might think the title of this post is a desperate attempt to lure in unsuspecting new readers, innocently searching for 1980s cult erotica. But nine and a half weeks is, in fact, the exact amount of time left until my first official day at New Job.
And I. Am. TERRIFIED.
I have this recurring daydream/nightmare (what would you call a nightmare you have when you're awake? Is there an actual word for this? "Daymare?" Eh.) in which I'm alone in my beautiful new lab that I've painstakingly designed, inch by inch, and it's empty. I sit in my office, paralyzed with fear that I'll buy the wrong kind of microscope, somehow get screwed out of my new lab startup discounts, order too many/not enough...I don't know, bottles or whatever. The point is that I can't make it happen. Failure to launch, as they say.
So, what can I do to avoid a deer-in-the-headlights moment of such epic proportions and potentially catastrophic consequences? I've been working on a list of things to get myself in gear, get my head in Professor Mode. What I've come up with so far is below, but I would looooove your suggestions in the comments. New profs, did you do anything in the few months before starting your position that made the transition easier? And are any of my list items bad ideas?
1. Talk to vendors. I'm aware that some of my big ticket items can take several months to ship, and so I've been getting in touch with vendors, figuring out who my local reps are, etc. One even has a mini showroom at my current institution, so I was able to go and get at least a cursory look at what my options are from that particular vendor. I officially have access to my startup funds on July 1, so in theory I could start placing orders this Friday. AWESOME/SCARY.
2. Protocols. No matter how much fancy equipment I do manage to get into the lab, I can't run any experiments until I'm cleared by various institutional boards to do so. Getting my protocols written and approved as quickly as possible seems like a no-brainer.
3. Organize my grants. I have several well-received but unfunded grant proposals sitting in my hard drive, collecting dust. Time to tighten them up, reformat for new mechanisms, and get them back out.
4. Email everyone I know (in a professional capacity). A decade of conference attending plus a generally social personality has left me with a decent network of colleagues and peers, many of whom I imagine would be at least a little interested to know that I'll be starting a lab. I hate sending out mass emails, but if it opens up a dialog that results in even one collaboration, I think it will be worth it.
OK, what else? Have at it!