The Sassy Scientist – COVID Crisis Care

The Sassy Scientist – COVID Crisis Care

Michaela is stuck at home, both physically and mentally, with the hope that she does not catch nor spread the new COVID-19 virus. Without the comforting environment of her own university desk, and not the itchy couch at home that’s hardly been sat on, she wonders:

What is the best approach to efficiently work from home?

Dear Michaela,

Feeling your pain of enforced home isolation, I wonder too: if you’ve found a way to write me this email, surely you’re able to do so much more? Apparently your internet still works. That means you’re able to read papers. When set up properly, you could even manage to connect to your university’s computer management system. Access to your files is not a problem, though reading on that small laptop screen instead of a couple of transformed trees is a pain. I get it. Running a model on the cluster? Not an issue. Unfortunately everybody seems to think so. I understand that some last-minute self-video cut-and-pasting seems like a pain, but your students do deserve to fast forward every single slide of your presentation and self-serve all that pristine science you’re offering without the soul sucking interaction. Finally, you’re free of the latecomers, the text message and app frenzies, the bobbles and noddies, the same-similar questions on repeat and the flavored sewage excuse of a coffee. That espresso machine certainly was a fantastic Christmas present.

OK. So you don’t have the same amount of, let’s call it human but you would prefer scientific, interaction. If you want to receive some poor ideas, you can still schedule conference calls, right? Don’t overdo this. Before you know it, you’re talking to a screen for half the day screaming whether people can hear you whilst you’re looking at their moldy ceiling. If you’re talking efficiency, it’s easy; not more than two conference calls a day. And only with people you need to talk to. Otherwise well-written emails, pdf’s of assignments and blog posts are acceptable. Really. It’s hard I know.

Nevertheless, you should take advantage of the social distance enforced upon you. Well, more appropriately a social chasm. A ravine. A canyon. One grander than the one in the States. Don’t you have some paper writing or funding application to do? Literature research and self-evaluation of manuscripts is a task usually put off until the very last minute, but now that last minute is not even in sight. What’s better than coming out of the isolation crisis with a couple of submissions in the bag? And maybe even a bag of money to do some very interesting research out in Greenland. I mean, someone’s got to do it. Why not you? I think I’ll switch to glaciology too. Much nicer surroundings. A higher level of preparedness for situations like this.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written from home. Where we all should be. Far away from each other physically, but not psychologically. Nor mentally. At least I hope so. No, I expect so. Am I rambling? I’m rambling. Just a few more days…

The Sassy Scientist
I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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