ImageI put things on hold about 4 months ago, and wanted to give everyone an update. I’m afraid there are no insects in this post, but I am possibly going to crank things up again.

Read on for more details of my personal DRAMAZ, if curious.

I am still job hunting, and I’ve had some epiphany moments about what I should be doing with my life.   I’m having an actual Mid-Life Crisis!

I’m still unemployed, at least in the sense of having a full-time job with medical benefits, which is actually kind of important. Since, you know, Mid-Life is when everything breaks.

I’ve had some interviews for the sort of high level, higher education administration stuff that I’ve been doing since I got laid off in Michigan, and I think most of them have gone well. I’m hoping for an offer soon.

You see, being in a Vice-Provost’s office or a Dean’s office is not my natural habitat. It’s not just the suit-wearing, although I do NOT enjoy suits.  It’s the people in the offices. No. Sense. Of. Humor.

Exhibit A:

Most days we ate lunch together in the break room with the Assistant/Associate/Interim Vice Provosts and other upper admin functionaries.  And one day there was a discussion about fruits and vegetables: what was the difference?

Usually I just tried to stay below the radar screen of VPs, but here was a question I could answer!
“Your tomato is a ripened ovary”, I said. “That is the definition of a fruit.”

Dead. Silence.

“We don’t talk about ovaries here” said my boss in a hushed voice. “It’s not appropriate for the workplace.”

And that, pretty much, sums up why I have decided to stop Batmanning.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s basically having two separate identities–one secret, one open. If you’ve met me, you know that I’m basically Bug Girl.  Her personality is me, turned up to 11.

bug girl

Me, at ScienceOnline2013.

I can be NOT-Bug-Girl long enough to put on a suit and function from 9 to 5 as a high level manager.  But…WHY am I doing that?

Instead of hiding my secret identity, why don’t I just find a job that lets me wear the cape and tights all day, every day?

Maintaining both an IRL life and an online life is not sustainable.  I suspect that if I am able to be creative and have fun in my real world work, I won’t be driven to have a blog that is constantly pushing boundaries.

I have been doing some consulting work for different nature centers, and you know what? I actually love working from home! And I stay on task even better than in an office, which I did not expect.  Bonus: no suits. In fact, no pants.

So the next round of applications I’m sending out have nothing to do with Higher Education. They are internet companies, or nature centers, or places where ideas are more important than how you look and what you wear.  I need someplace that will feed my soul, as well as my pocketbook.

Cross your tarsi for me that this isn’t a terrible idea.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. I started working from home as a remote associate for a large company — and I discovered, to my surprise, that I love it and function exceptionally well as a self-motivator. So kudos on your self-revelatory experience! I hope the continued job hunt goes well for you!

  2. Congrats. No good luck wishes, because with your ability to capture an audience you’ll make your own.

  3. Don’t give in. A good friend once told me that if you do anything long enough, you’ll get good at it. I get paid well enough to live in Santa Cruz, California, with astronomical benefits, for just being a huge nerd and telling stories to the public. There’s a place where they’ll give you your name on a door (your own office, not a mental ward) for talking about sex changes and poop-rockets. Good luck, and feel free to reach out to commiserate.

    If you need e-company, here’s a couple of nerd blogs to tide you over. You can say ovaries here.

  4. Nice to see you back posting again!

  5. Glad you’re looking for what suits you and hope you find your place! I had a similar revelation not long ago though to some extent in the opposite direction – I stopped applying for regular academic science positions because I realized I need a job that I can LEAVE at the end of the day, instead of having it hang over me every night and weekend.

  6. “We don’t talk about ovaries here” said my boss in a hushed voice. “It’s not appropriate for the workplace.”

    Seriously? That is their idea of inappropriate talk? For Pete’s sake, I can just picture the conversation around the sympathy card: “Dear Doris, wishing you all the best in your convalescence”. “Oh, poor Doris, what is she suffering from?” “I’m afraid she’s having chemotherapy. She’s been diagnosed with cancer of the girly bits”.

    Appropriateness is a question of context.

  7. Good luck! I wouldn’t want to work at a place where talk of ovaries wasn’t allowed either.

  8. Welcome back. We’ve missed you. And you DO NOT have to work for, or even with, walking rectums.

  9. Buggirl rules

  10. Yay! Glad to see you back, Bug Girl! I hope the perfect Bug-Girl job turns up soon.

  11. Tom had the best comment ever: I’m YOLOmetabolous. LOL!

    I have worked with some *great* Vice Provosts and Deans, BTW. I find it interesting that like me, they didn’t set out to be in upper admin, but thought they could contribute something.

    I haven’t really decided what to do with the blog yet, either–still applying for jobs and now also freelancing, which takes up pretty much all my time. Sigh!

  12. ALL RIGHT!!!! Bug Girl goes back up to the little “Favorites” bar at the top of my computer screen, so I can check you EVERY DAY. Do not let me down!!!

  13. […] You need to read the whole story! So for more about the crisis, job search, and new directions go look at “We don’t talk about ovaries here,” […]

  14. Have followed you since you taught me all I know about scale insects. Best of luck for a move some might call “brave”. [People might not have spotted that you’re on Google+ as well ( Hope that wasn’t a secret :)]

  15. Best of luck! I will let you know if anything opens up near me.

  16. Your plan to look out “of the box” for a job is most excellent (I kinda did the same thing, in a way, and I had to cross the continent and three time zones — from Montreal to Vancouver — to find something more to my liking). And I love the Spinal Tap reference BTW – so few kids get it these days. And some people really do not have a sense of humour – but I warn you that this problem is not limited to academia: In fact, some of the people with the most wicked senses of humour that I know are in or from academia.

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