One of the things about being on soft money and towards the end of a grant is that I don't know how long I'm going to have a job where I am. Currently I hold two posts: one in a hospital's research department, and one as an adjunct assistant professor in a medical school (which is not associated with my hospital). My funding in both places is about to run out. Obviously, I have grants in the pipeline, and more that I'm about to write. Specifically, I have an R01 equivalent to write that I am currently working on an R03 equivalent generating preliminary data for. I think I have a high hit potential on that if my papers currently under review are accepted. I'll be able to point to some legitimate success to build on.
But, it would be irresponsible of me not to be considering other options right now. The problem is that in order to get academic research positions, you need funding. To get funding, you need a position. So, I'm basically best where I am unless I have something fall out of the sky on me.
Not too long ago, something fell out of the sky on me. I got an email from a headhunter looking for an assistant professor doing health systems engineering. It's a tenure track position, pure fantasy job. The only problem is that it's far away, in a strange land where I know no one and do not know the culture. Nevertheless, I am intrigued. I work doing health care engineering, and I need to be honest with myself about my potential to do regular engineering. I'm not going to be competitive for a job as a professor of engineering. I'm not good enough to do the theoretical work. And I don't think I'd like it. But I'm a good health care engineer, and I love applied work, and the sort of softer theory that goes in to model building.
And now this tenure track health care engineering position has fallen out of the sky at me. Which is really exciting. I have spoken to the headhunter a great deal, and was informed last night that my CV has beeen forwarded to the search committee, after the department head decided that I was indeed a qualified candidate. I'm really finding myself surprisingly attracted to the idea of this position. I'd be leaving everything I know behind, and launching into a strange new world, alone. Which is amazing and strange and exciting.
Of course it hasn't been offered yet. I don't know much about building my own research program. But I'd like to try. I have tended to succeed at things I dedicate myself to. Or at least, I've failed without falling apart. I'm beginning to think that I might like to give this a try.