So, an online friend had a fantastic idea: to spend a day sharing the impact that a certain Scientopia blogger has had on us as scientists trying to navigate the NIH game.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Drugmonkey has majorly influenced my success onto and through the tenure track. I first started reading back in about 2007-2008, when I was a fifth year postdoc at my wits end with scored but unfunded K99/R00 submissions and one last chance to go, and a season out on the job market with only one interview (possibly contributed to by some sabotage by one of my letter writers, but you never know). I stumbled across his blog from a link on Female Science Professor, and it was like finally walking into the room where people talked to me like an adult, told me what it was really going to be like, and laid out what had worked for them in the past. You know, like mentoring is supposed to be.
Between the DM himself and his (back then more of a) co-blogger CPP, I felt like I could formulate a plan with evidence-based information. I had the extremely lucky break of both the K99 and the job happening that spring of 2008, and from there launched into the PI game. They spread the word about my own blog, and gathered me into the "fold" like I was one of the regulars. Without the community, camaraderie, specific advice and encouragement to dig in that I got from the Drugmonkey blog and interactions with those two, plus the extended relationships that grew out of their outreach to me as a young PI blogger, I would not have had the confidence in my path to tenure that I traveled with. I didn't know for sure that I was going to make it. I had some scary funding situations and scrapes against catastrophe. But I always had this network of people, built by DM (although I don't know if he realizes or would admit it), who I could turn to and let it all out, who I could trust, who were unconflicted about my progress but who just wanted to extend the potential to find satisfaction and even joy in this roller coaster of a job.
So thank you, Drugmonkey. You have had a role, a BIG role, in my success, and in my energy and enthusiasm to pay it forward to others who I try now to extend the same mentoring-at-large. If there was an award for the broadest scope and widest range of mentoring activities in the NIH research land, you would be the inaugural winner. (with CPP on deck for year 2--gotta make sure he knows how important he has been as well)