Archive for: September, 2015

Exploring all the options

Sep 30 2015 Published by under Decisions, industry, life in the office

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.

One response so far

R&D science vs marketing

Sep 16 2015 Published by under industry, life in the office, science

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!"

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How I should have handled the thing

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.

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The following thing happened

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?

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