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Can we break open the champagne? (plus advice sought)

I have been applying like the dickens for grant funding. I pretty desperately need research funding so that I can afford to do things (like go to conference) and buy needed supplies. Plus, grant funding begets grant funding - and the holy grail of NIH funds begets jobs and more NIH funding (theoretically anyway).

So, I applied for an NIH postdoc - and it wasn’t funded. In the meantime, I got feedback from that first one and resubmitted. Today, I got my score - and I got an 11. As context - the best score you can get is a 10, and the worst is a 90. So, I am 1 point away from a perfect score.

So, unless every other person who applied got a score of 10, then my postdoc is likely funded (for three whole years!). Since I study an area under fire by Trump and Pence, I have been very anxious to make sure I get funded before they ban funding for research in my area (and before they cut the NIH budget).


I’ve been a wreck leading up to this. My confidence has been super low, and my anxiety super high. This led to me hitting refresh on the grant results page pretty much all day yesterday, and the day culminating in me sobbing because it was just too stressful and I was convinced the outcome would be a poor one.

I think it might be time for me to have more faith in myself and start acting like I know what I am talking about.

Academia is hard, y’all.

So, here’s the advice portion - one of our admin staff seems to really hate me. A few months ago, my mentor took us both out for dinner to celebrate something - and the admin person spent the entire dinner talking only to my mentor (despite my mentor trying many many times to open up the convo).* I had signs she didn’t like me before that - but that really solidified it.


Today, she was downright rude. I ran into her and talked to her, and she wouldn’t even look up from her phone to talk to me. At our team meeting, my mentor told her about my score - and again, she wouldn’t look up for her phone and she just said, “great.” One of my other colleagues was like, “Woodle is right here - be happy for her!” And she couldn’t/wouldn’t even pretend.

I’ve tried to broach this lightly with my mentor - and she claims that the admin is just so nice and uncomplicated, there is no way she is harboring negative feelings. But I know she does - and it causes problems at work in a lot of ways (like not responding to my emails, cutting me out of things, being extremely defensive when I give feedback, etc.).


I see her only very rarely - but it is still problematic. Has anyone ever dealt with something like this with someone at work? My desire is to do it lightly and in a way that it doesn’t become a big deal (if I do it at all - since my mentor and I will be moving, that will take care of some of this). I try very hard to make my interactions with her very light and positive - I compliment her and ask her how things are going with her dog ... I’m trying to be prosocial here, but it is not working.

* My hunch is that her negative feelings about me are about jealousy about my relationship with my mentor/her boss. They’ve worked together for like 6 years, and I’ve only been on the team for like 1 year.

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