Penny’s House of Isotopes

National Blog Posting Month – November 2014 – Huge

Prompt – Write about an amazing imaginary brand or organization you’d love to work with. What would their pitch to you look like? What would your post say?


I thought about this and realized that, in the end, I’m pretty darn satisfied with my work situation. The only thing that might be better is if I got to stay home and get paid what I get paid now just to draw, paint, write, garden, and sew (but not necessarily in that order).

But no one is going to pitch that to me.

One of my colleagues today told me that she was leaving soon for an opportunity that had suddenly arisen. One where the employer courted her, and that it would be foolish for her to have said no.

So I rephrased this prompt to be more like that. What opportunity would have to arise that I’d be willing to give up what I already have? What would they have to do or say to make me want to quit?

Thus arose my perfect employer:

Penny’s House of Isotopes

Working there, I’d have access to unlimited mass spectrometric power with multiple instruments, including something for light isotopes (like what I currently run), something capable to run delta-47 measurements, and, you know, a little ICP-MS or something. ‘Cause everyone deserves their own ICP-MS.

These instruments would be at my disposal, and would have technicians on staff to keep them running. I would have funding to keep the laboratory going and technicians paid and everyone happy. We’d do science for science’s sake and wouldn’t need to charge an arm and a leg for a bunch of analyses. We would just do science.

And in order to do science, I’d also have the funding to run long summer-time field seasons to collect all the specimens to analyze over winter. I’d have a fleet of undergraduates and high school students working hard on projects just to get through the abundance of samples.

It would be wonderful!

Now, how would they sell the job to me? Well they’d really only have to say what I’ve written above. I’d be in charge. I’d have support. I’d have students to work with me. And I’d have funding to do field work.

This is the sort of thing academics fantasize about. And I have to say, this fantasy isn’t all that different than what I have. I have access to students who want to do projects. I am able to do field work (though I don’t have much funding for it). I am in charge of a lab with one instrument, but I’m also the support, and keeping a mass spectrometer running takes a lot of time.

All told, I can’t complain too much about my current work situation. It has its challenges, but it also has its perks.

I think I’ll put a sign over the door that says, “Penny’s House of Isotopes.” Then I’ll have what I want. Mostly.

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