It’s been roughly nine months since I was ‘assigned’ my first comfort diagram to draw.
Over the past nine months (and truthfully, longer than that–I’d say the past five to six years), I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal reflection/self-assessment to try to figure out what it is I want to be doing with my life.
Research at the bench will always hold a special place–it was my longest ‘running’ job: undergraduate lab tech, graduate student, two-postdoctoral positions, and two staff scientist positions.
It just isn’t want I want to be doing with the rest of my life–maybe due to burnout, boredom, growing tired of funding issues, or a combination of all of the above.
The past year and half since the pandemic start has been a reflection and recovery period.
I’m slowly rediscovering my love of learning, doing crafts, thinking outside the box, and not rushing around constantly.
The second comfort diagram has come a long way from the first.
The bounce zone was added, things have been moved around, other things have been added (intuitive eating and interior design for example), and the comfort, bounce, and stretch zones have all grown–while the risk zone is slowly shrinking.
I’ve explored several different job directions over the past year (medical writing, data analysis, clinical research, and intellectual property), and while all are interesting–I also realize that I need to select one (or two) directions to focus on to begin with.
I’ve decided to focus on science/medical writing/communication to begin with, knowing that it can cover clinical research (and possibly even intellectual property), and I can always add in data analysis at some point.
I also know that I should be trying to focus on one or two areas in terms of my ‘expertise’ in science/medical writing/communications. Truth, be told–I’m finding it more difficult to decide on these two areas, than I did on trying to narrow down what type of industry positions I wanted to initially investigate.
Mind-mapping is a wonderful tool, especially when trying to see how things fit together.
As I was drawing the mind map, I felt like most items could branch off of either molecular biology or cellular biology. I also felt like those two areas were connected by the ‘central dogma of biology’.
I have expertise in several areas of molecular biology: molecular cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, and construction of libraries for high-throughput sequencing.
Luckily, I know that I can add or switch my ‘focus’ area as I progress as a science/medical writer–meaning I don’t have to strictly write about microbiology or botany forever.
Therefore, I will probably start with the ‘expertise’ areas (if nothing else–I’m thinking of creating longer posts or a self-published short e-book giving troubleshooting tips for one or more of the topics), and possibly pick areas of oncology and neuroscience to begin with.
These two subject areas will still allow me to look at the cell cycle, signal transduction pathways, epigenetics, metabolism, and even the ‘program’ cell death pathways as well.
Though within oncology, I may need to narrow the field and decide which cancer(s) I’m going to focus on (since there are literally over fifty different ‘types’ of cancers). Neuroscience and its related diseases are smaller in number compared to cancer.
What question(s) do you have in regards to oncology (the study of cancers) or neuroscience, that you would like me to answer in a future post?