You’re fired!

“If you want, you can still work today, so you did not show up for nothing” he said, while chewing on his toothpick, “but this day will be your last. You’re done.” Five years I had worked at the nursery. Every Saturday, every holiday, and many winter evening hours were spent there. I loved theContinue reading “You’re fired!”

Celebrate the victories!

I feel absolutely exhausted today – but in a good way! We harvested an experiment that my team has worked on over the past months. Our abiotic treatments included a soil moisture gradient and an heatwave. To maintain the moisture gradient our plants were watered on a balance every day. All 320 of them. WeContinue reading “Celebrate the victories!”

All the lovely stupid flowers – part 1

The weather has been exceptional this week! Fifteen degrees centigrade afternoons, after having weeks of sub-zero temperatures. Quite a change. I walked home today and just decided to be mindful, enjoy the splendid weather, keep my eyes open for once, and look around instead of be in zombie-mode. I can recommend that anyone try this.Continue reading “All the lovely stupid flowers – part 1”

I hate the goodbyes

Today I was confronted again with the reality of life in academia. Since I have started working at the Terrestrial Ecology group at the Technical University of Munich – about fifteen months ago – the group has been relatively stable at the employee level. There has been the usual turnover in students and student helpers,Continue reading “I hate the goodbyes”

I should have stayed in bed this morning

I’m frazzled. Not a feeling you’d expect at the end of a day off, right? One of the PhD students I co-supervise will harvest her final experiment this weekend. Timing would not have it any other way. I’m generally not a big advocate for working weekends. Therefore, I offered a helping hand, so we couldContinue reading “I should have stayed in bed this morning”

Germany you should – a series (part 3)

When you’re expecting or raising kids, being in Germany is fantastic. Why? In the Netherlands*, the conditions to become parents are pretty grim. My country hates kids. Mothers get four months of maternity leave, which includes the weeks before the baby is born. I guess the government thinks dads should not be involved in raisingContinue reading “Germany you should – a series (part 3)”

Who are we to decide?

Each semester my university welcomes new students to its study programs. Students with perfect grades and convincing motivation letters often get readily accepted based on those. Then, the remainder of cases gets an additional interview, usually by a professor, accompanied by another staff member. Today, I was one of the additional staff members. These interviewsContinue reading “Who are we to decide?”

The price we pay?

The long-distance relationship format sucks in almost all types of relationships, except academic/professional relationships. Yet, it seems to have become an unwritten rule that if you want to make it in academia, you have to move around, and preferably abroad. What kind of fucked up rule is this, really? When I finished my PhD, IContinue reading “The price we pay?”


Today spring began in Bavaria. It is hard to believe that we had temperatures far below zero only one week ago. Temperatures hit the 20 degrees Celsius today in direct sunlight and at 5 PM our car temperature sensor still indicated 15 degrees. I have complained before about the lack of activity we experience duringContinue reading “Frühlingszeit!”

The user manual

Today I read an interesting idea online: the personal user manual. Whenever you work in a dynamic environment where colleagues and collaborators may fluctuate over time (for instance academia), it can sometimes be quite difficult to gauge the people at the other side of the table. Academics can be pretty peculiar personalities, and not theContinue reading “The user manual”