So I’ve mentioned in a previous post (focusing on the new job search); that I’m looking to move on from my current senior research specialist position by the end of the year (due to the major fact that my current position is only funded for a year).
Looking at the list of steps that I stated I needed to follow to reach my goal of transitioning to an industry position by October, I realize that I’m a little behind schedule on some of the tasks.
One of the things I need to figure out is a good reason why I want to leave academia for industry—I can’t just say because of the pay (though that is part of the reason why). Some of the reasons (and now I just need to figure out how to get them to flow into one good “elevator pitch) include, wanting to have more of an impact in the field of molecular biology—working in a lab does, but only as long as there is money; working in industry you have the ability to see a project through to completion or where it needs to be sent off to a different team (say vaccine design and development; or something of that nature). You also get to interact with a more diverse group of individuals (again in academia it all comes down to the lab you are working in in terms of who you are collaborating with and interacting with). Another benefit is being able to change projects at a fairly rapid pace (though I know some would see this as a disadvantage). If I know my why ahead of time, I can better draft my own transition story to keep me going while I’m looking.
I’m also trying to figure out what exactly my professional core values are in terms of wanting an industry position. Shortly after I was laid off last fall, I started to read a lot of different personal and professional development books-one of them was Declutter your mind: how to stop worrying, relieve anxiety, and eliminate negative thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. One of the topics within the book was figuring out what your core values are for both your personal and professional life; then you rate how you think they are, and then figure out how to get them back into alignment.
So that is where I’m slightly stuck in my transition plan (in addition to striking up conversations with connections on linkedin to start establishing a “real” network in comparison to just connecting and not really doing anything. This has been difficult, because unless I know someone fairly well, I have a difficult time being the first to initiate a conversation (something I’m hoping to work on this coming year). I had hoped to start at least three new conversations a week with people on linkedin—right now I’ve only done one—so yeah, this is something I need to work on over the next few months.
I have an idea of different careers that sound interesting that aren’t straight research & development—but I need to figure out what my core values for working in industry and moving out of academia are, and hope that they mesh with one or two of those different careers.
When it comes to different jobs within industry, I have a couple of conditions that I’m using to try to narrow down the list (even before having my new core values defined): (1) I don’t want to have to travel more than maybe 10 to 20% of the time for the job; this took out several different options (including one that I had been slightly interested in); (2) I would prefer not having to work long days or weekends more than just occasionally (which I know will happen within science), I’m willing to do the occasional weekend or the occasional long day (meetings or whatever)—I just don’t want to be doing that all the time; so this condition also took out several of the positions I was interested in.
So, you might ask—why so little travel, you’ve said in other posts that you want to travel more? The main reason, is that I will at least my cat with me when I move (and I’m thinking potentially of getting a kitten within a few months of settling in so that she would have another animal around)—but I doubt I’d have a roommate, so it would mean hiring someone to come in and take care of her (them). If the job requires 50% travel time, that means there would be at least three days a week that I’d be paying for someone to watch my pets (and that would get pricy fast).
Limited long days and weekends, is mainly because right now I’m burnt on doing them. I’ve been in research in some form since I was seventeen. I’ve done the long days, weekends, evenings, and now I think I deserve to have my evenings and weekends to myself (for the majority of the time).
So the career transition goals for this month include:
- Determining what my new professional core values are;
- Determining the top three to four industry positions that I think fit within those core values;
- Network more with linkedin connections (hopefully start two to three new conversations a week); and
4. Start determining which industries would be a match for goals one and two