Networking From Scratch — If My Professional Network Suddenly Disappeared, Here Is How I Would Build It Up Again
A reader of my recent networking post, Ten People You Need To Have In Your Professional Network, gave me a follow-up challenge: I’ve been to so many lectures or read articles and they all say the same thing. Rely on your network or use your network to accomplish this or that. What they all overlook is explaining how you obtain that network in the first place. Most people I work with don’t have these miracle networks or have the slightest clue as to how to build one, including me. That’s where we need to start, how do you build the network you need. – Karen
One of the earliest and probably the most important professional relationships you will ever have is with your academic mentors. It shares many similarities with a parent-child relationship. We are the eager ducklings learning to dive into the pool of knowledge, with the help of gentle nudging and the guidance of our mentors.
Years ago, during my grad school interviews, the late Seymour Benzer told me that I would be forced to decide in grad school whether I would “run with the herd,” or instead become one of the few scientists who would be comfortable operating more independently. That succinct statement encompassed all of his advice to me—a clear yet puzzling challenge. I have reflected on this comment during and beyond grad school.
It’s that time again, my contract is ending and I am back on the job market. I’m fairly optimistic this time, despite the fact that this is my third job hunt in as many years. I’ve developed a lot professionally, and built a stronger network. I am also able to learn from my past mistakes, and one of the things I have done to help myself this time is employ a career coach.
When you are working at the bench and taking on other tasks, time management becomes crucial. As a postdoc or graduate student, time is an invaluable resource. For me, there are basically three aspects that make time spent in the lab more efficient. I will try to outline them below.1) Avoid the e-mail trap.Although I always felt like spending a lot of time going through e-mails was not a great use of lab time, the wake-up call came after I attended a workshop for postdocs on how to increase productivity.
At the start of a new year, many of us like to set new goals. Most of them are geared towards exercising more, eating healthier, or other things in our personal life, but how about setting a goal to improve yourself professionally this year? Whether your goals are personal or professional, they can really help give a sense of direction. Don't make them lightly. - it is important to really sit down and think through what you really want to achieve and what the steps are to get there.
Ramos da Silva
Since I was an undergrad, lab meetings have been part of my scientific development. Although some people don’t like lab meetings, I think it is a great opportunity to brainstorm, keep up with your experiments and most importantly, it is a great way to organize your data. Different labs have different kinds of lab meetings. Some of them are based on journal club discussions, which is great, because we were taught to critically analyze a paper, and not just accept everything that is published as black and white.
Ramos da Silva
After reading an interview with a pioneer scientist on Science, I kept questioning myself about how to find a balance between life and work. In the cited interview, the scientist said she took 5 days off work for the birth of all her three sons. I read a lot about life and work time balance, and one lecture had an impact on me because the person said that there is no work-life balance, since work is part of your life. Is it true? So, in that case, if you take your time off, you will no longer be considered as competitive as before?