January 04, 2008

I Hate Applications

I have spent much of today working on an application for a small grant from the Mycological Society of America. It's not a very demanding application; a couple of pages about the research I want to do and how I would use the money if I got the award, a CV, a cover letter and a letter of recommendation from my adviser. No big deal, right?

Wrong. I hate talking about myself. You'd never know it from this blog, of course, but I've always been uncomfortable when called upon to talk myself up. It was probably the thing I was worst at as a recruiter, too, truth be told. I am my own harshest critic, so trying to convince somebody else of my value is a bit like trying to put my elbow into my ear. While the description of my proposed research shouldn't really fall into that category, it does. I've put waaaay too much time and thought into it, to the extent that it's very much part of me. Now I have to drop my pants and have a stranger critique my derrière (or at least my concept of what my derrière looks like).

And the CV? Don't even get me started. I have to talk about accomplishments and experience. None of my years in business get to go on there; it's not at all relevant. It suddenly looks like a terribly empty page to me, even though it probably isn't.

So, at the expense of both of my thumbnails and an entire pack of cigarettes, I've finally pushed the CV and research description out. I still have to write the cover letter, but I think it's best to leave that until tomorrow lest it read, "Please, please, please give me the money so that I can pay for the gas to make my big, decrepit car take me to field sites." At this point, I feel like this would be adequate... and that's probably not what the good people at the MSA are looking for.

I'm sure this will get easier with practice. I expect to spend a good deal of time looking for money over the next few years. It will also get easier when I have more to put down when it comes time to list accomplishments. For now, though... I'd rather eat overcooked broccoli.

I think it's time to meet up with my friend Johnnie Walker.

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