Where Little Cable Cars Climb Halfway to the Stars

Way back in April, my boss revealed to our lab that he was “seriously considering” a job offer from UCSF. This came as sort of a shock, even though this is the usual method for furthering one’s career in academia – you get an offer from some other institution, and you use that as leverage to advance your position at your current institution. However, it doesn’t usually get to the point where you inform your lab members of a possible move. So when he told us this information, we all knew that he actually was considering moving, not just doing this as a way to get a better paycheck. But still, it seemed out of the blue – Tony is very involved in programs at UCSD. He’s vice chair of my PhD program this year, and was in line to become chair of it next year. He’s on the thesis committee of many a graduate student (including Pete), and even co-advisor for some of them.

But listening to his reasons, I understood why he was considering the offer, and was even convinced at first that we were probably going. But as weeks turned into months (3!), and we hired some new people, I lulled myself into thinking that maybe we were staying. UCSD was fighting hard to keep him in San Diego, and his friends at the university were also fighting for him. The past three weeks, there’s been hardly a peep about San Francisco, which I took as a sign that we weren’t going to move after all. Which I was happy about (even after initially being excited about moving to a bigger and potentially better city), because I’ve managed to carve out a nice little niche for myself in this town in the past few months. I like the people and the scene in this town, and my photography stuff has really been taking off lately.

So it was somewhat upsetting when, at the end of lab meeting yesterday, Tony told us his final decision – the lab is moving to San Francisco. This catapulted me into panic mode rather quickly – where am I going to live? How am I going to afford it? How am I going to replicate all my hookups in this town up there? Because all the times I’ve been writing “we” in this post, I’ve been referring to the fact that I’m moving, along with the lab. There’s simply no way around it. I’m far enough into my thesis project that I don’t want to scrap it in favor of joining another lab at UCSD, but I’m not far enough along to finish up my research before the move. So up to the Bay Area I go.

Of course, the main question now is when. It looks as though the lab will start moving around January, but it’s going to be a long, slow process. I’m hoping to stay in San Diego long enough to allow the lab to get somewhat set up at UCSF – basically try to minimize the added time on my thesis that the move will create. My apartment lease runs until May, so I’ll be here at least that long. I know that’s almost a full year, but still – it’s a lot to digest. Until then, I’ll carry on normally here, and at the same time try to get a handle on the scene in San Francisco. I’d love to carry on the blog and photography up there, but I’m worried about the “bigger pond” and “more fish” issues. The challenge will be good, but it’s still all a bit overwhelming. As such, any information, tips, contacts, etc that anyone has in regards to San Francisco would be much appreciated…