It's been so long since the last post that I didn't even remember I have a blog, even with a good following. Now I am exhausted on the sofa, after a long day at work, and with some good jazz music in the background I decided to take the time to write. I really needed that. But most of all I need to be honest with you readers. I owe it to you. I have to explain to you why I tend to be so absent. I often think of new posts, tutorials, courses and a thousand other ideas that I would like to bring to the blog but everything remains unfinished and I cannot give vent to my creativity.

Why can't I be so consistent on the blog? Well, for my job. Work absorbs your time like a sponge. Let me be clear, I love my job. I work as a bioinformatician in the research department of Humanitas in Milan. A really important reality, and I'm part of a really stimulating research group. Of course there are the usual work problems, who don't have them, but I'm not complaining. I am proud to work for this reality.

But working as a bioinformatician is tough. Of course my experience is limited to date but there are some things I have learned about working as a bioinformatician. For example? Well, first of all the bioinformatician has no time, the computer is always there in front of you, it is difficult not to sit in front of the computer and see if your analysis is going in the right way. Then if the bioinformatician notices an error in the output he is unable to postpone its resolution. Even if the world is ending, his head is incapable to not thinking about that damn error in the output. Another thing I noticed is that the bioinformatician and his chair rapidly become a single indefinite body, precisely because it is difficult to detach from the computer to take a break. Furthermore, the bioinformatician is a serial reader, I think that the main activity of the bioinformatician is to search on google tools and read manuals and read stuf in order to complete his analysis in the best possible way. Plus, for a bioinformatician, hitting enter and seeing his code work flawlessly is rare but extremely satisfying. I had indescribable moments of joy seeing scripts whose debugging took almost a week of work, run without any error messages.

I don't think I have a perfect work routine, I feel I have to improve it to be more efficient and less tiring but today my typical work day is composed as follows:

  • Wake up at 8:00 am (yes I don't like waking up early, especially if I went to sleep at midnight because that damn script kept giving me an error). After a quick personal hygiene session and a quick breakfast I sit on my chair, and start working on my bioinformatic analysis, often starting from the results / errors that appeared during the night. My computer never stops executing codes, even during the night. Oh I forgot to say that I work from home, so I'm quickly get to work. It's about 10 steps from the bed to the desk, and yes … Sometimes I work in my pajamas because it annoys me to get dressed.
  • In addition to writing and debugging codes, I spenr a substantial part of my day reading new articles and manuals. In short, I study, study and study again. I try to learn new methods and increase my skills. I would like to spend some time to fill some gaps in statistics and mathematics that I still carry around but for now it is impossible to find the necessary time. There would be the weekend but … I often work during the weekend too.
  • It can happen, rarely, that around 12:00 I find something edible in my fridge and then I take a lunch break. If you can call it a break. With one hand I eat and with the other hand I continue to work on the codes.
  • From here until 6:00 pm I continue to work non-stop. Then as a kind of alarm clock, at 6:01 pm my mind decides to stop working. I no longer understand anything, every line of code or text begins to be more incomprehensible than the Klingon. There comes that moment of the day where, I just have to throw myself on the sofa, relax listening to some music and be with the family. But it rarely happens. Or rather, I sit on the sofa and relax with my family but close to me … there is always my dear computer. I try to run the last few codes of the day in order to find the results ready for the next day. Then in the darkest and most nefarious days it happens that the error code and my mind does not accept the failure so I try to solve the problem until, usually around midnight, my brain finally raises the white flag. I go to bed, I read a little without understanding the meaning of the words and I fall asleep.

Ok, maybe I exaggerated a little but really today my work routine is almost this. I am the first to admit that I need to be more regular and try to take more time to recover my energy. With the arrival of the beautiful days I am sure that I will be able to find a better balance. In this balance there must be space for the blog, I want to go back to being more constant but you have to give me time and trust me. As strange as it may seem to you, I am preparing very interesting articles and tutorials. I just have to find the space and time to publish.

Nothing, I just wanted to write a little, and tell you how my life as a bioinformatician is hard but at the same time very, very fun.
See you...I hope soon.