As I’m looking at both the calendar and my various goal lists—I’ve realized that I’ve become slightly stagnant in terms of trying to transition into an industry role from academia. Though on an upbeat note, I think I’ve also managed to pinpoint certain areas that have been behind the stagnation in my transition.
Some of the things that I’ve been “allowing” to slow down my transition have been the following:
I’m still not completely sure what I want to do in industry.I know of things that I don’t want to do (which I know if almost half the battle of job searching), but I’m still bouncing between different perspective job titles/positions.
I’m extremely slow in networking/adding value to connections. It isn’t that I don’t want to connect and build a strong network—it’s just I feel award in my progression (probably a hang-up of childhood) and attempts in doing it.
I don’t consider myself an “expert” in things—I enjoy science, but I don’t do nearly as much scientific reading as I should be doing (something I hope to start correcting come the new year).
I have very little knowledge of the biotech, biopharm, and agricultural business worlds (and I read even less on those topics).
So how can I try to fix these issues so that I’m still not stagnate on my career transition, this time next year?
In terms of networking and adding value I’m going to do the following:
Strike up at least 5 linkedin conversations a week (even if it’s just going back and thanking someone for accepting my connection request). I’ll go through and make a spreadsheet (and then a weekly list of who I want to reconnect with) and keep track of things that way. I’ll also try to set aside a specific time period daily to do this.
I’ll also start being more active on linkedin (in terms of liking and commenting on people’s posts). I will also try to be more active indifferent groups on linkedin as well.
In reconnecting with my linkedin network, it will also hopefully help me in time also answer the question of: what position(s) do I want to be targeting. Also over time it should also allow for me to start setting up informational interviews (even if they’re over the phone or via Skype or zoom).
When it comes to trying to determine what position(s) that I may want to start targeting, I’ve realized that it will also require a bit of soul searching, and assessment. I’d actually started doing some of the different assessment quizzes last fall (after becoming unemployed for the third time) to try and start figuring out my strengths and weaknesses.
Though I’ve also realized that after doing the different assessment quizzes, I looked at the results, contemplated them for a while and then shuffled them away and basically “forgot” about them until recently. Going back through one of the assessments, I’ve realized that I’m more of a thinker and a doer, than a manager type of person (based on my Clifton Strength Assessment profile; another post coming on this topic). I’ve realized that I’d probably be happier in positions where I’m learning/thinking/working in a team than being a solo worker and having to oversee a lot of people.
So in addition to trying to figure out the professional lifestyle that I want, I need to make sure that it also complements the personal lifestyle that I want as well. This means that I would prefer positions that allow me to continue to learn and grow, but at the same time has a “manageable” time frame—basically I would prefer job positions that don’t exceed fifty to sixty hour workweeks (basically no more than an ten to possibly twelve hour work day). I know that long days (and possible weekends) are a part of doing scientific research, but I would like that to be balanced with “normal”or even “short” workdays as well.
What am I going to do in terms of becoming an “expert” in my “field”?
One of the things that I’ve realized that I don’t do enough of is reading scientific papers. This is in part due to the fact that through grad school and then both my postdoc positions, I was “semi” limited on the papers that I should be reading. Basically, I was told that I should really just focus on the papers in my field. This meant either reading small RNA papers (both grad school and my first postdoc) or yeast cell cycle regulation papers (my second postdoc). In theory I could still read other papers in other areas, but it had to be in my “free time”, not when I was at work. So, in part I quit reading scientific papers as a way of “thumbing my nose” at everyone. Not the most mature thing to do, but at the time it was how I felt.
So, now I’m going to write a list of scientific topics that interest me; (and see if I can branch out from things I’ve been around fo ryears) and then start downloading different papers in those areas. One goal is going to be trying to write a small review on one or two papers a week for the blog (adding to the science section).
I’m also going to try to read at least one article every other day from various biotech pages, and start following different companies. Basically, I’m going to start trying to get out of the academia mindset and start branching out into the biotech/business mindset as well.
I’m also going to try to get to at least one national meeting in 2019. There are three in the spring (and two are almost back to back in Orlando) that I need to decide which I’m going to attend. Going to a national meeting will allow me to both network more and also see what new trends are happening in the various scientific fields (and hopefully will give me some more ideas for blog (or scientific) topics.
So basically, the goals for 2019 are to get better at time management, and make it the year I transition into an industry position. Look for most posts, as I’m also going to blog updates as a way of accountability as well.