As a number of the bloggers here have noticed, one of the biggest obstacles that postdocs face in moving into the commercial world is the dreaded “3-5 years of business experience” requirement seen in so many ads. Many times, it seems as if there are no entry-level positions at all! Just like the Great Wall of China was built to keep enemies out, it seems like companies use experience to keep away potentially great employees. So how do you get around this obstacle? Well, I'll use my own transition as an example of what NOT to do.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking on another little “project” at work. This one won’t involve pipettes, chemicals, or the lab bench. Instead, it’ll be me, my reading glasses, a few labmates, and piles of resumes (and CVs). A great co-worker recently left the lab for greener pastures across the country, and those of us left behind are responsible for finding the perfect person to fill the gap.
Last time I wrote about the boss and how to be a great one. This time, I’d like to write about the qualities to look for in a boss based on my previous experiences. Sometimes I think I’m too subjective about these things but, interestingly enough, when I read articles about great leadership qualities, they invariably match. I discussed those qualities in my previous blog: support and respect, good communication skills, providing opportunities for growth and making personal connections. The question is how do you know when you actually have that great boss and
Simply put, your personal brand is what people think of you. It’s the image you project to others, and it’s how they distinguish you from everyone else, professionally. It’s also how people who don’t know you can find you and evaluate whether or not they want to work with, recommend, or hire you.
We've all been there. It's Sunday afternoon and the feeling of dread hits. Tomorrow is Monday and it's the start of another work week. I'd been working at a medical communications agency for about 3 years doing medical writing and publication planning. I was their one and only in-house PhD. It started out as one of the best jobs ever; great people and great work. Then came a reorganization followed by a bit of turnover. Things quickly descended from paradise to purgatory, with every sign pointing downhill from there.
My parents and older siblings are first generation immigrants. I am the first natural-born Canadian in my family. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in a small bungalow. My parents would be considered uneducated, but I learned my most valuable lessons from them: Don’t pre-judge people. You have to work with your head or your hands (said to me when choosing a career path). Self-reliance. Creativity.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cancer Symposium at MIT. Here I was, with some of the brightest names in cancer research: David Baltimore, Eric Lander, Dan Haber, Diane Mathis (OK, so technically she is an immunologist but I was just thrilled to hear her speak…) and sharing thoughts with my colleagues who were also in attendance. My colleagues and I had great discussions about what drives each and every one of us. What is it that makes us tick? What makes us wake up in the morning and go to work?
Nike did indeed precede me in establishing the title phrase of this blog. However, it is a statement that we should remind ourselves to obey. Several ideas and goals have been known to come and go simply because they are not pursued. What exactly does a person have to lose when attempting to achieve a goal? Failure may occur and setbacks are bound to happen, but the rewards gained by undergoing the personal challenge far outweigh the obstacles.
If you’re in the market for a job, it can seem like an overwhelming task to find information on prospective employers that will really tell you what you need to know. Approaching your task from several different angles will give you a better, more complete picture of prospective employers. Start with these: