Wired, Tired, Expired

It’s now official.

I am gratuitously borrowing this meme from Wired magazine but it seemed sooo appropriate. This appointment has been in the works for a while now and is pretty self explanitory from the graphic. Huzzah! Unfortunately, it is also another example of how slowly things tend to move in academia versus the business world as this has taken a few months to get through the system. Granted, some of the delay is due to departmental politics as the university process only required 30-60 days. But, it is officially done and I am pretty excited about it as it means I now have an official license to go after grant funding for a number of projects we have in the works. The wild thing is that because this sort of thing takes so long to get through the system at a major university, you are essentially told to just start working as an assistant professor even though you don’t have the official letter. However, because of the delay, my department has missed out on some contact hour funding from teaching the medical students that I have done. Their loss.

It’s interesting because my experience in the business world has demonstrated that things move fast or you die. You are given authority on your projects to accomplish certain tasks and you get them done with speed and efficiency. For instance, did you know that the original iPod concept moved through Apple’s management and engineering to approval in only 90 days?

At any rate, because of this process, I wanted to simultaneously apologize for delays, thank and acknowledge other offers I had for employment including a most tempting offer from Mark Ellisman at UCSD, but with this position, provided our lab remains here, I’ve decided to stay at the Moran Eye Center in order to continue the work that we are engaged in. It’s going to be far more productive I think, to continue work on our retinal reconstruction project and our work in retinal degeneration. Not to minimize the previous two projects, but there are a couple of other projects that are most exciting. One is called “project Blade Runner” that I may talk more about here at a later date, and the other perhaps the most exciting project is continuing to push the metabolomics work and expand it into other areas of benefit to science and medicine. This is, I believe, one of the most exciting technologies to come down the biomedical pipeline in a number of years and I am excited to help grow the techniques and science and expand them into new arenas. I thought about it a-lot and had planned on leaving after the post-doc, but the alternatives to staying would have resulted in my current collaborations being terminated and having essentially a period of downtime from progress and publication of papers from current projects.

Honestly, lifestyle is important as well. It helps that Salt Lake City (SLC) is a pretty nice place to live and work in, as well as a most affordable place to live. The city is becoming more cosmopolitan and the cost of living here is most reasonable. The outdoors are remarkably accessible with bike rides up a number of canyons being a fifteen minute bicycle ride out of my driveway. The ethnic diversity leaves something to be desired, but at the university here, there is considerably more diversity than in other parts of the state which makes it tolerable. The selection and quality of cuisine has also improved over the past few years with a few absolutely notable culinary gems and although we have to deal with state run wine stores, the folks that pick the wines to sell in the state have pretty good palates. SLC is also a central location with ready access to most of the US and given that the SLC International Airport is accessible with a fifteen minute drive, foreign destinations are also easily travelled to. As soon as UTA finishes the TRAX line to the airport, you will not even have to get into your car to fly out of town, which in the American mountain west is a bit of a novelty. As to the people, I must say that although I have lived here for a number of years now, I grew up in Texas and am still a Texan by inclination. So, I find the people here are a bit cliquish compared to the Texans I grew up with, but they are nice enough and the availability of public lands for outdoors recreation here in Utah has Texas beat. All in all, Utah is a pretty nice place to live and I am happy to have the opportunity to stay.

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