My grandmother often remarked that I had been here before, which meant that I was an old soul. More than knowing what I wanted as a child, I anticipated the future with a sixth sense. This remained true until the end of graduate school. I finished my PhD in chemistry, and all of the anecdotal evidence about transitioning to a job seemed false. Companies were not showering me with job offers.
As my pre-doctoral sentence of four-to-six-years-with-time-off-for-80-hour-work-weeks was coming to a joyful conclusion, I started to look for opportunities. I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nights and weekends of caring for my research subjects, cup-o-noodle dinners in the med student lounge, and endless hours of counting fluorescently labeled cells and sitting at the electrophys rig would soon be a fond memory. I knew I didn’t want to go the academic route, and had little interest in pursuing a career in bench science.
In one of my blogs, I briefly wrote about career options and provided a table with various career types and organizations to find these careers. I wanted to focus on what I thought were unique opportunities that I did not know about when I was in graduate school. Just as a quick background, I was a graduate student in the Pharmacology Department and conducted research in the area of neuroscience. I knew I wanted to problem solve, and have a career where I was always learning.
Are you unsure of whether to pursue a first or second postdoc? If so, be strategic in choosing your next training opportunity. The most important factor in choosing a postdoc is finding a PI who will support your career aspirations and training. Unfortunately, many scientists choose a postdoc based solely on the science conducted in a particular lab. In addition to asking about the projects that you will work on, you should also ask about:
One of the most significant transition points for many scientists is the decision to move overseas. For most people, this occurs at the point of the postdoctoral fellowship, with the experience of conducting research in a foreign country and system, and also one of the key stages in career progression for those who are aiming for international employment.
With many graduate students and postdocs looking for career opportunities outside the laboratory, science policy is becoming an increasingly popular field. I won’t go in to the basic details of what the field entails and the different types of organizations and jobs involved (there are plenty of posts here and elsewhere that cover this), but I wanted to address a common question from those considering seeking a career in the field: how do I even get in to science policy?
I recently read this article from the Guardian website, “Are universities collecting too much information on staff and students?”,and I found myself thinking about the question posted in the title. I’m not sure of the answer, but the gist of the article was that the University of Huddlefield was mining personalized data on student usage of library services to discover patterns about which students are successful.They found that students who didn’t use the library were seven times more likely to drop out of their degree than those who did.
Realizing that we all live in an age of information overload, – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t complain about having too many emails. Here is my list of 10 DOs and DON’Ts1. DO include a response deadline in the subject● Example: September 24 webinar available2. DO include an action verb in the subject● Example: Response requested by Friday for September 24 webinar● Example: Action requested by Friday for September 24 webinar