For years my university and working life has revolved in and around laboratories. For my sins, I decided to study biomedical science and pursue a career as a scientist.
Usually when people find out what I do for a living they are a bit shocked. I always get told "you don't look like scientist!". The most popular response is "you look like a hairdresser". Ive also been told (more than once) "you look like you work in Topshop" / "I thought you did beauty stuff" / "didn't you study fashion and design?". After being judged on my looks (a daunting thought) I usually get quizzed on what I do from day to day. "Is it like CSI?" / "do you work with ebola?" / "what do you actually even do?" and the winner is always "who would you be in The Big Bang Theory?". My answer is always along the lines of 'I'm similar to Bernadette but her job was only one of the subjects I studied'.
The job I am in now is quite different from where I seen myself going. I love my job but it definitely wasn't in my life-after-uni plan. My day-to-day duties are 100% dealing with blood. I liked haematology at uni but I preferred working with viruses and diseases of the body. Hey ho, you cant plan anything in life can you? I am glad I landed in blood work, it just goes to show that sometimes plans are a waste of time and life will take you wherever you need to be.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. As much as I love science... it is an absolute fucking nightmare sometimes. Believe me, by the end of the week I need a cocktail or 7. Here is what it is really like working in the science field:
- Sometimes all of your machines and equipment just break. For no reason. None at all.
- You can spend hours on one project to have it all ruined in a few seconds. Not good. Especially not good for a clumsy girl.
- You have sweaty hands all the time. Latex gloves are not glamorous in the slightest. They also destroy your nails.
- You spill really disgusting stuff down you. My past record includes: rat intestines, guinea pig insides, human blood, animal blood, acid, a wide range of chemicals and bits of animal shit. Thank goodness for lab coats!
- Working in a lab is either like working in the Sahara or on the North Pole, depending on what you're working on. Never a happy medium.
- You are on your feet the majority of the time so life revolves around comfy trainers and sore backs.
- And really shit hair. I go for the 'messy bun and being dragged though a hedge' look. Health and safety doesn't allow hair to be long and flowing in the wind. The lazy girl in me sorta loves it...
- Wearing lab coats 24/7 makes it feel like you are getting dolled up to the 9's if you even put on a skirt or some pretty shoes.
- You forget what its like to have a cup of tea whenever you feel like it. No food or drink in labs... Office girls, I envy you! I drink a lot and I hate not being able to have some water or tea regularly throughout the day.
- When nothing goes right I don't get to go home. Each sample is a patient and if there is a backlog of work then it needs to be done. A far cry from my retail days where I could just finish everything on my next shift!
- Lastly... I drink because I need a little reward at the end of the week for not running away and joining the circus! Sometimes I think I'd fit in there... but being a crazy scientist always wins.