I'm a paranoid person by nature. When I stand at my bus stop, I am afraid that people will throw things out of their car windows at me, even though this has never actually happened. I'm afraid when I go over the bridge in the bus (but not when in the car) that the bridge will be blown up; I actually spend a lot of time planning my aquatic escape. The list of fears is endless, and although some of these fears have some merit, most are baseless.
Why on earth then did I go into the highly competitive world of science? A world where your publications and funding define your career and, thus, dictate your ability to put Omaha steaks on the table. Why did I choose to study something that has never been examined before, something novel and, thus, probably under investigation in other, more productive laboratories? Why????
You see, my friends, in science there is the very rational fear of "being scooped". Similar to the news industry, getting scooped is bad, very bad. My project is now going on 4 years of blood, sweat, and pools of tears, and let's not talk about the financial cost, and I haven't yet managed to get my data out as a manuscript. If I get scooped (and I know you are out there racing me), it will all mean NOTHING. I'm trying soooo very hard to get this paper out, but there's always one more thing to do, one more bit of data to look at before it's complete. I can't handle the pressure--I'm ready to post my results online and beg one of you to just go publish it already.
It's not that what I'm doing is going to save the world; in fact, my research would be considered quite boring by most. The fact of the matter is, however, that some people are very interested, and it only takes one journal submission to crush me like the ant I am. I really wish I could invent a low-dose valium tab, like those breath freshener tabs that look like tape, to take during times like these. That would be helpful right now...just to take me down one notch.
There is no way I'm going to be able to wait for the bus today, and I'll be damned if I take the shuttle across the bridge. Oh, and I'm not going down to the basement to get the laundry tonight just in case something is living (or not living) down there. Not today...nope.