Tag: learning

Saturday Night Sayings–Day 13 of Photography Challenge

Decided to have fun with laying out different sayings and trying to find a good combination of sayings to share. Initially I had a set of twenty cards, and when I laid them all out, and tried to take a picture, the messages were blurred and lost. So I decided that I’d share a small set at a time over the next few weeks. Apologies ahead a time–I’m sure that one or two of them are going to be repeated within the different sets.

Saturday night sayings.

These first four are especially resounding for me right now–two of them have to deal with both personal and professional development: Never stop learning and stay curious. I will be the first to admit that after graduate school, I did stop learning for awhile–I had switched focus a little in my first postdoc, but there wasn’t much learning on the job (skill wise). I did learn a few more skills over the next few years as I did my second postdoc position and then the two different senior research specialist positions.

I am starting to push myself to start learning again, and I am remembering the enjoyment of learning (yep–I’m a nerd). In addition I’ve always been curious–one reason why I fell in love with science–there is always something new to discover and learn. I love being out in nature (weather permitting, and temperature dependent [I don’t care for super cold or super hot–though I know how to deal with both]) and taking pictures or just sitting outside and enjoying the breeze and being outside.

The third quote: Why not?–this is a reminder that anything really is possible, and we shouldn’t have to answer to people for wanting to learn or for being curious. It is also a reminder that we shouldn’t have to explain either to people when we want to back off a little and relax and take things slow and try to enjoy life every so often.

The final quote: Don’t settle.  This is a reminder that I need to really figure out what it is I want out of life and not to settle for anything less than what it is that I want.  I’ve realized that at times I’ve just settled in a little and taken the path(s) of least resistance. Doing the postdoctoral position(s) was just following the basic academic roadmap–the switch to being a senior research specialist, was a shift away from the basic academic roadmap. Now I’m trying to figure out the direction that the new road map is going to take and aim for a position in industry.

I’m going to start looking more into say three or five different types of industry positions (or non-academic), and then see which ones mesh more with the things I want to try to do with my life: travel (one [maybe two] vacations a year to some place new), par down on the belongings, and get back into a fitness and health routine that I know I need to focus on. There will be post updates throughout the year on the new job search–so check back every so often to see where I am on my professional development/journey to an industry (non-academic) position.

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Settling into the job

So I’m settling into my position as a senior research specialist in charge of DNA sequencing. Right now I’m just making sure that I have my feet under me, to where I can handle doing the sequencing on a day-to-day basis without too many mishaps (loose lid……), before trying to do anything more in terms of protocol modifications/development–that will probably be after the new year.

Right now I’d say my job is 80% technical (with 75% of that being pipetting for anywhere from thirty minutes to three plus hours, depending on the number of samples for the day; and the other 5% is taking care of the machine). Of the remaining 20%, I’d say 15% is dedicated to customer service (looking at the data before the customers get it, and letting them know what happened with their samples (which ones failed/which ones gave noisy reads/and which ones ran fine). The last 5% of my job is administrative paperwork (filling out log sheets, order forms, making copies, tabulating charges, and getting the paperwork to the finance guy in the department).

While it can be tedious and repetitive, it is also interesting because if something doesn’t work–you get to work with the lab to try to figure out what when wrong, and what a possible solution to the problem could be.

I’ve also decided that while I’ve applied for academic positions over the last few months (mainly to make the weekly quota of job applications for unemployment)–that isn’t where I really want to be anymore–I don’t want to be stuck teaching 12 credits a semester and trying to get a research program up and running at the same time. I’d rather find a good position within a company that does outreach (or maybe spearhead an outreach program for a company), then try to survive in the academic rat race.

I’m starting to listen to my gut and realize that it is okay to turn down a potential job offer if it doesn’t seem like it is going to be what I want out of life. A few years ago I may have wanted to have my own lab and do my own research–now I want to work for a company that is trying to do something good in the world (say try to find a treatment for cancer, or a neuro-degenerative disease), and still be able to have a life outside of a lab.

I want to be able to work on crafts, continue working on personal development, getting into shape, spending time with my pets, friends, and remember that there is more to life than the nine-to-five rat race (that is found no matter where you get a job).

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