Change is everywhere

Nov 09 2017 Published by under industry, life in the office, personal posts

My main reason to leave academia was the short contract I was on, in combination with the difficulty to get funding in order to sustain myself in academia. I wanted stability and be able to think about projects longer than just the year I had funding for. So I left for a position in industry.

However, shortly after I joined the company that I work for, there were rumors that our part of the company would be sold. If that were to happen, it was very unclear what would happen to the employees: would we be asked to move elsewhere, would we be fired? Fortunately that did not happen, but it did reinforce the notion that industry is not synonymous with stability.

And then at the beginning of this year I started an assignment that was supposed to last for six months. Currently, we're near the end of the year and I am still in that assignment. I enjoy it and people around me value what I do. It does however, lead to a whole bunch of uncertainty about what will be next: can I stay in the assignment (which I would like), or do I go back to my actual job? It made me realize all the more that there is uncertainty and change everywhere.

I do feel that I am much better equipped now then when I was a post-doc to deal with change. I know much better what I am good at because people give more feedback here than in academia, and I trust that there will be a job that I like somewhere for me. And it really helps that I have a permanent contract here that is not dependent on whether I find funding to sustain myself.

Most importantly, inside I went from feeling like a tiny boat that could be knocked over by change...

.... to a much more stable rock that stays stable among change, on most days. On other days I REALLY wish I knew what I am going to be doing next year and what I can look forward to.



One response so far

  • Nat says:

    I have the same sense about the possibility of change in industry compared to academia. I definitely agree that part of it is having been able to work closely with a wider range of people, which can be a source of references and help with job searches.

    There's also much less stigma about moving between jobs. As long as you're not serially leaving jobs after a year or less, I don't think people in industry look at job moves with suspicion. In some jobs you simply can't move up without leaving, so moving to a new company is required to gain new skills. There is also less sense that a person's job is the single most important aspect of their existence, so moves for personal reasons aren't black marks.

    Finally, there are times when you can be an excellent, productive worker and still get laid off. If the new CSO comes in and wants to change directions completely, then you might get fired, but through little fault of your own. Or if the company is low on $$, then some people are getting cut. That's scary for sure, but it's not necessarily a sign of personal failure.

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