Sometimes I am proud of myself, for example, when I don't give in to my childish impulses to sass the department chair from hell during our interminable faculty meetings. It only leads to trouble. But there are other times when it is hard work to Do The Right Thing (as Spike Lee would have it).
As I tweeted yesterday (and got lots of wonderful support - thank you peeps), my competitive renewal (which is I think of a competing continuation, because thats the old name, and I am an old farte) did not get scored. When I was younger, I would have left work then, and gone and cried or huffed and given vent to my unhappiness. I would have eventually drunk a lot of scotch and eaten a lot of chocolate. Now I have too many people depending on me. . My point in tweeting about this is: it is fucking hard to get funded. Even for the bluehairs. But responding this way wasn't the hardest thing I've done this week.
We had an animal die in surgery. Not a rodent. A large animal. At the end of a very complex surgery. After 5.5 hrs of work. After more than a week of training. It was my fault, I wasn't paying enough attention to the person paying attention to the vitals. I brushed the tech off and keep going. The person at the vitals thinks it was their fault for not being insistent enough. The post-doc thinks it was their fault for not paying attention to everything, because it is their project. But right after it happened, and we were doing the post with the vet, both the assistant and postdoc looked bad. Green-unhappy-about-to-cry-or-puke bad. I wrenched myself out of my feelings and told both of them to go get a cup of coffee and sit in the courtyard and take a moment. I stayed with the vet, as did the medical students (M1's) who were avid to see the autopsy.
Later both came to me to thank me for responding the way I did. They felt that it was OK to make a mistake (despite my insisting it was my mistake/responsibility as head surgeon for that procedure). They also said they appreciated my response. Do PI's really yell at their trainees and techs when they, the PI, does something wrong? WTF? Anyway, I feel wretched about the animal, depressed about the grant but incredibly good about my team.