Advice for Scientists
You see it all the time—in a popular news article about a groundbreaking research study to even the primary literature—that so-and-so researcher is the “first” to make some brand new discovery.
This claim makes me cringe every time I see it. Why? Well to be honest, it’s highly unlikely to be the absolute first at anything with millions of scientists around the world, many of whom are working in similar fields on similar problems.
If you’re attempting a career change — from one industry to another, from one functional role to another, from a sabbatical or family leave to getting back to work – you will be telling employers, recruiters, and others in your network your STORY.
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
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.
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?
Does your stomach do flips when you hear the word “presentation”? Does your throat get drier than the Sahara desert when you have to speak to more than one person? Do you sweat profusely when you have to “network”? Do your legs wobble if you have to resolve perceived conflicts and unequivocally state your opinion?
At my desk, I have a sign that reads, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’ by Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.”
Growing up as a child of a military serviceman can be seen as the ultimate training in becoming comfortable with change. We moved
around quite a bit, and each time, we started over. I attribute my sociability, flexibility, and adaptability to this form of ordered nomadism. Still, I managed to become a creature of habit over the last few years.