Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I like (and maybe don't like) my work

In case you do not obsessively read all my bloggy posts (and if you do, my condolences, and also Go Get Yourself A Hobby, sheesh!), I am a social psychologist and research associate. I'll now hold my breath in anticipation of blank stares. It's okay. No one knows what I do. Sometimes my boss does not know what I do. Just that it's all researchy and stuff.

So, briefly (I swear), here's a synopsis of what I do to earn my $: I research, write about, and analyze topics (mostly) related to public health. Also, I write grants.

**What I really do, in geek-eeze: I use qualitative and quantitative techniques to determine meaningful data trends and identify reasonable organizational changes based on these findings and the relevant literature. Also, I write grants.**

Now that absolutely no one is paying attention anymore, let me get to my point. One of the projects I am currently working on is to determine ways to increase breastfeeding in rural Appalachia. Part of this project requires me to do an extensive literature review on breastfeeding. Now, this is pretty cool (the favorite part of my job is learning about different topics, because I <3 nerdy things) and very timely, as I plan on breastfeeding the future offspring I hope to soon conceive. However, it is also very not cool. Not cool because I keep having to read about damaged nipples!
Nipple trauma, nipple lacerations, and nipple damage, OH MY! Also, other words that keep popping up: engorgement, infection, swelling, biting, and pain.

For some reason, this is throwing a shadow over my rosy future-mommy glow. For the life of me, I can't think why. 

The bright side is that I have learned a lot about how to increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding. And I got paid to learn about it! (insert happy dance here). This is really great and helps fill in my knowledge gaps. Though I have seen both relatives and friends breastfeed, I never really thought to ask them procedural details. Now I know AND avoided lots of awkward conversations. Huzzah.

Also, this is infinitely better than learning about the early warning signs of diabetes (my bladder is the size of a doll's tea cup and every time I read "frequent urination" I hyperventilated a tiny bit), or the likelihood of developing some sort of cancer. So, yay for personally-relevant, non-life threatening topics!

That said, I am now going back to data coding...which is definitely a part of my job that I could do without. Seriously, it is just as exciting as it sounds. Sigh.

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