When I was in academia there was more or less one path: from grad student to post-doc to getting your own group and eventually becoming a tenured professor. Now that I'm a scientist in industry, there's what feels like an infinite number of options and where I am it's really encouraged to figure out what your path will be and to take steps to advance on your path. When work was kind of quiet over the summer, I realized that I missed knowing what my ultimate goal would be. I missed that star on the horizon that I could look at to keep me going when things get tough (which in my case is when things get boring I discovered). But what is my ultimate goal? I can picture myself in a number of different jobs and I'm talking to people now and then to find out what their jobs actually entail (revelation: project leader sounds cool, but in reality means keeping track of budgets and all sorts of other bureaucracy). I recently saw the image below being shared and I think this is what I need to figure out: what do I like, what am I good at and what does my company need? What I don't know yet is how you're supposed to find these things out about yourself... to be continued.
Archive for: September, 2015
Sometimes I'd like to write more about the day to day things that happen in my job but a lot of those things are not mine to share on the internet. So let's try the following for a change:
A scientist and a marketeer went on vacation together. The weather was mixed, some days were nice, others not so much. When they come back, someone asks them: "how was the weather?"
To which the scientist answers:"On 2 out of 14 days it rained for more than 8 hours. In total, there was 20 mm of precipitation, of which 2 was from hail and the rest from rain. On 5 days it was predominantly sunny. The average humidity was 82%. The wind came from the east and in the second week turned to the south east at 15-20 km/h. Wait, let me show you a powerpoint with figures summarizing ALL TEH DATA!"
To the same question, the marketeer answers:"It was sunny!"
The other day I wrote about how the following thing happened. As many people have pointed out: a. it is hard to distinguish exactly who the idea-owner was, and if so, this is not that important, and b. I should have said something earlier. Looking back, I clearly see what I should have done differently:
First, while we were brainstorming about what I could write my fellowship about, I should have asked if our stuff would be different enough. Perhaps I should have even asked if they were okay with me proposing this, as they may have felt it was close to their research-niche. I guess being open about this, rather than assuming someone would speak up about this could have avoided this situation.
Next, when they told me after I had just joined the lab that they were performing these experiments, I should have said something other than "Oh. Okay", which is what I said because I was so surprised. I should have expressed my surprise and have a conversation about how to move forward. Instead, I never said anything because I was afraid I would get upset and cry about it. And the longer I waited with saying something, the more upset I got about it.
So the biggest lesson here was that it is important to immediately have a conversation about things like this, instead of just whine about it on the internet.
A couple years ago I was applying for personal fellowships to return to the homecountry and work in a PI's lab in order to set up my own group within their bigger lab (which is how things usually go in the homecountry). I talked to a junior groupleader (JG) in this lab and we brainstormed about what I would write in my fellowship. I wrote the fellowship and asked JG for feedback because they had experience with said fellowship. I submitted the fellowship and it got rejected. Twice. Then I moved back to the homecountry and JG told me they were doing one of the experiments that I had proposed in my fellowship. And recently I saw that they had published the results. Aim 1 of my fellowship is done. But not by me. If this doesn't make you a disgruntledpostdoc, I don't know what does.
What is the worst academic backstabbing you have experienced?