Friday, December 08, 2006

Moving Along

While continuing resolution has not ended as “scheduled” today (new talk is “well into January”), things have picked up a little, making me an extremely happy person. It has been a rough two months in this field. One that has, more than usual, caused me to question whether this is really where I want to be. The verdict is still out on that, but my inclination to do something else isn’t based any longer on pure boredom and lack of interesting projects. What is truly frightening is hearing stories at our last directorate meeting a few days ago about people who are in really bad positions, used up their vacation time and have flexed “hundreds” of hours. In a normal company, that screams layoffs, but it hasn’t happened because it is “that time of year” (not Christmas, I don’t work for that great of a company. Continuing resolution). Instead all our projects will likely pay, literally, next year. It was rumored to be a bad year fiscally, but the rumors were confirmed by our ALD the other day. Expect a bad year and help your coworkers find work, he said. However, we are still expected to grow our business volume in the directorate by another $7 million. Go figure.

Let’s see if I can help that out some. Next week is going to be a busy week as Friday the call for proposals from one of our bread and butter clients is coming out. I have a number of meetings scheduled to discuss potential proposals. And luckily, this client allows us to charge business development for them on our existing projects. Phew, funded time to develop proposals. A welcome rarity.

I picked up some work this past week doing some computational modeling for one of the senior staff scientists here. I really enjoy doing computational modeling, but rarely have the real opportunity. Mostly because there is a group here devoted to and specializing in computational modeling, and I am not part of that group. So getting the work can be a challenge. I had a second chat with a relatively new strategic hire yesterday that is fairly sure he is close to landing his first grant since arriving. He came by to “make sure” if it comes through, that I will be available to do his modeling and stated that he wrote into the budget a new computer devoted to modeling for me so that I am not relegated to working on my laptop when simulations are running, and my favorite software. Yippee!

I also had a recent and extensive e-mail exchange with a staff scientist. I was honored that when he needed some advice on a topic, he came to me. I provided my advice to him. He e-mailed me back saying that my recommendations were where his inclinations lay, but he needed concrete proof. The thought of my three to five paragraphs as being concrete proof to a scientist five who was reviewing a proposal and basing his thumbs up or down on this proof freaked me out some. Where is my self confidence that I left graduate school with? (Oh and the poor saps who wrote this lame proposal will be receiving a thumbs down… do a little research people, the individuals reviewing your proposal do theirs!)

So all in all, things are looking up this coming year for me here at work. It isn’t nearly as bleak as I feared a matter of weeks ago. I still have issues and fully expect 2007 to be full of changes on the work front, the level of the changes is the only variable.

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