Tag: babystepsforward

Review of Aries New Moon Goals: All that is left is to flesh out the plans

So it’s almost time for May’s new moon–it should be moving through the Taurus constellation over the next day or two (tomorrow marks the new moon for the US). The pandemic is still going strong (especially in India, which is suffering from its second wave). When I wrote the original Aries new moon goal post last month, I mentioned that the number of cases globally were just over 137 million, and within the US just under 32 million total cases. Now–globally there are over 159 million cases, and the US is just under 33.5 million cases. While some areas are getting things under control–we’re still a long ways away from a ‘new’ normal.

But back to the moon transitions–before looking ahead to the Taurus new moon, it is time to look back and reflect on the goals that I set during the Aries new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Aries new moon included:

  1. Making a new 12-month plan.
  2. Start with Country Heat and transition to 21-Day Fix Live in terms of fitness
  3. Try to start incorporating more fruits into my day and then more veggies
  4. Read a book on positive thinking
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of the 12-month plan–I have a very rough draft that I’m still trying to flesh out in terms of quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily goals.
  2. In terms of fitness, I did about a week of Country Heat and then moved to 21-Day Fix Live. At the same time I was doing an intentional movement challenge of moving at least five minutes everyday. Therefore, keeping to that mindset my daily movement may or may not be a workout–it may be yard work, a walk, housework, or something to that extent.
  3. I’ve gotten a couple of books on intuitive eating that I’ve been looking through as I try to improve my relationship with food. I’ve realized that I like fruits a lot more than I do veggies. This makes cooking at times interesting since I don’t like to re-heat and eat most veggies.
  4. Nope, I didn’t read any books on positive thinking or psychology.
  5. Meditation is almost becoming a habit, especially in the evenings. While I’ve tried to also meditate in the mornings–that habit hasn’t stuck, so I think I’ll stick with the evenings.

So I set five goals for the Aries new moon (and actually one is almost a monthly addition to help me keep the habit going), and I managed to meet four of the five (so 80% completed) goals. The reading is something that always depends on my mood and whether or not I can get into the book, which is why I usually end up re-reading certain series constantly.

The health and nutrition is an ongoing journey. I realized quite a few months ago that I needed to change my relationship with food, get off the diet bandwagon, and ditch the mindset of counting calories, restrictive eating, and strictly follow a workout schedule. Currently I’m mending my relationship with food (realizing that I’m not eating enough protein, fruits, or veggies), and starting to think of intentional movement instead of daily workouts.

The 12-month plan has always been difficult–because that would mean that I picked a direction to go in (and then constantly dealt with the ‘fear’ that it may not be the direction I ‘really’ want to be going in). Currently I’m going to focus on online work (freelance/remote/contract) in the realms of writing, data analysis, project management, photography, and possibly consulting and tutoring/teaching.

I also realize that I have quite a bit of work to do in order to step in (and stand out in) those arenas–but I’m at least slowly edging out of the shadows and into specific areas–baby steps are still progress.

I’ve decided that I’m going to be ‘bouncing’ around in the realm of progress, and ‘floating’ in the area of imperfect, but doable work.

How have you manage to overcome analysis-paralysis to set (and meet) a long-term goal?

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Reflected and organized–planning still to be done: Review of Libra Full Moon Goals

So April is almost over, and that means that we will be heading towards the fourth full moon of the year on Monday. It seems taht time dragged by this time last year, but is speeding by this year. I’m not sure if it’s due to having a competent federal administration (at least at the executive level) and/or getting the pandemic slowly under control. But before I can look ahead to the next full moon, I need to look back at the goals that I set for the Libra full moon and reflect on how I did with each of them.

While it wasn’t a ‘goal’ per-say, I did managed to get a picture of the moon with my camera and longer lens (not the greatest, but not bad for the first time either):

March’s Libra Super Full Moon

So now back to the goals that I set for the Libra full moon? They included:

Working on my focal points (idea from the book ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobensteine). Either ‘focus’ them more (making them more specific) or at least have my ‘whys’ added to them.

Create the ‘April brain-dump’ page; basically try to get all ideas and thoughts for the month of April onto paper. Giving me some direction for the month, plus allowing me to see what posts/pages I would like to create.

Continue working through various personal and professional development courses. Probably wouldn’t hurt to develop at least a rough draft of a personal/professional development plan.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of working on my focal points, while I didn’t make them any more specific, I did add my current ‘whys’ to each of them.

My evolving focal points plan

While I decided to keep the focal points semi-vague, I added in my ‘strengths’, core values, and my current ‘whys’ for each fo the five focal points. Keeping the focal points slightly vague was an attempt to try and keep my inner critic/imposter syndrome in check. I had spent a couple of weeks staring at the focal points and trying to make them more specific, but then I remembered this passage from ‘How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emile Wapnick:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission. […] That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus but because you’re finished”.

I felt like this passage could almost sum up the past twenty years of my life, and I wish I had spent more time in my 20s trying to figure out my life, instead of just going with the flow. Going with the flow can either lead you in the right direction–or carry you so far off your path, you have no choice by to start foraging a new one. Truthfully, I find myself in the second category–having to forage a new path to try to connect back to my ‘original’ path that I deviated from decades ago.

I created my ‘April brain-dump’ page almost as soon as I finished writing the Libra Full Moon post. In terms of making use of it–only a few things have actually been crossed-off/highlighted. I think this was due in part to the weather slowly warming up–I like to spend time outdoors when it is nice, and the other part were the more subtle ways of my inner critic/imposter syndrome pulling me back into my comfort zone.

While I have noticed different ways that I ‘self-sabotage’ myself at times, and with even having ideas on how to deal with those issues–I still fell into those habits this past month. I spent way too much time either surfing social media and/or amazon, plus reading various fiction books (I was pretty much binge reading the Fatal series by Marie Force to get ready for State of Affairs that came out on the 20th).

I’m going to actually try and make use of the one ‘time-management’ app that I downloaded earlier this year (it is called Self Control), and see if I can get more things accomplished in May than I did in April. As I sit here writing this post, I realize that I probably should have been making use of the app for a couple of months–but I allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to keep me from activating it with their best ‘lie’: ‘what if there is another webinar or whatever being announced, if you have the site ‘inactive’ you’ll miss hearing about it’. Well–I’m going to take that risk that I will miss out on hearing about something right away.

In terms of working through any personal or professional development course–yeah, that didn’t happen this month. Again it was a combination of the weather getting nicer (therefore wanting to be outside more), and having managed to work myself in a decent anxiety attack with trying to develop a personal/professional development plan (therefore having then ‘shut down’ for most of the month).

I’ve realized that I’m still struggling with trying to define any type of long term goal (basically where do I see myself in ‘X’ years), both professionally and personally–which makes trying to create any type of long-term plan difficult. While I can keep most things vague–I realize that I should try to make a semi-focused long term goal of say 5 years (which is something that I’m slowly working on), and also realize/embrace is the fact that the goal can (and probably will) slowly start changing as I really start figuring out what I really do enjoy doing on a daily basis.

So while I only had three goals set for the Libra full moon, I managed to meet (at least in part) two of the three goals. I added my ‘whys’ to my focal points, and did a ‘brain-dump’ of ideas for the month. I also realized that I tend to start having ‘problems’ getting more things done once the weather starts getting nice and I want to be outdoors more than I want to be indoors. This means that I will need need to try to get all the computer work done in the morning/evenings, or set up an ‘outdoor’ space for working. I will also start making use of the ‘self-control’ app to keep me from scrolling through various sites all day instead of working. Though as I look at what I’ve managed to accomplish (and what I had hoped to accomplish) this month (and year) to date–I realize, that I can ‘start’ the year over at any time. So that is what I will be trying to do: I will use this last week of April to reflect and plan for a ‘new year’ and May will become the new starting point.

This is allowing me to keep with the following quotes: ‘Progress over Perfection’ and ‘You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last chapter’. Progress, no matter how small will add up over time, and will carry one forward–the biggest hurdle is just getting started.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reflections: 10 pieces of advice to my younger self–college edition.

As I sit here, my eyes are bouncing back and froth from the blank word document to the to-do list in the bullet journal. My mind is racing with the numerous thoughts on different topics I could cover—either through a new blog post here, a new page attached to the website, or even possibly venturing into publishing my first “article” on LinkedIn.

I have to pause, take a deep breath and remind myself—“Progress over perfection”. The though of publishing anything on a site that has millions of users terrifies me—so I’ve slowly started by sharing a photograph and a quote. Neither has garnered a huge number of likes or comments, but that’s okay—I’m dipping my toes into the water of LinkedIn publishing.

Why does the thought of publishing an “article” on LinkedIn terrifies me? In the most simple of terms: imposter syndrome. While I have my PhD (something that only a small percentage of people—less than 2% of the total world population holds a PhD), and I can hold a conversation with people—it is that little voice that’s says they know more than I do, and I’m only going to make a fool out of myself.

I’m slowly trying to convince that ‘perfectionist/quiet/wallflower’ persona that it’s fine that others know more than I do on various subjects, and everyone makes a fool out of themselves at least once in their life, and they survive.

While this has been my ‘persona’ around most people—the ‘perfectionist’ has only tried to pop out in the past few years—mainly in terms of trying to figure out what to do next career wise. She is scared of making a jump that could possibly end as abruptly as her first postdoc position did, and not have a backup plan.

While this is a legitimate concern (especially now with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic still holding on), she is forgetting that she is resilient and can bounce back.

I’ve realized that there are several things that I wish I had done differently throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers, and if I could send a message back to my younger self, I would tell her:

  1. Take the time to actually take a couple of business courses (such as marketing or finance)—don’t judge all courses by the single one you took. They will be beneficial down the road.
  2. Don’t feel rushed to declare your major; also don’t feel pressured by various people to take certain courses. If you want to take the intro foreign language course—take it (again, it will be beneficial down the road).
  3. Don’t just live in the lab—try to find an organization (or two) on campus to join (and actually participate in).
  4. Network early—I know that you’re an introvert with deep reservations against talking in front of people, but you never know who you’ll talk with that could spark an interest for you in something different.
  5. Go to seminars that are offered by different departments—again keeps your interests broad.
  6. Once you’re in graduate school—again take additional classes that interest you. You might have to audit them (since they may not go with your plan of study)—but they will keep you well rounded.
  7. Read, read, read—not just the papers in your field, but whatever other subjects interest you. Also remember that you can also stretch your fiction/non-fiction wings as well.
  8. Continue to network—try to get to conferences, go to other seminars, get involved in different campus organizations.
  9. Figure out what your plans A, B, C, and D are—nothing is going to go the way you originally thought, so now is the best time to be trying to determine which direction(s) to swerve when things start to turn south. Start developing your own personal/professional development plans for your future.
  10. After graduation and you move—still make time to network in your new location, learn about different paths you can take with your degree, and above all else—realize a short break from ‘learning’ is fine but stretching too long will cause the anxiety to reach new levels and you’ll feel like you’re on a hamster wheel.

I’m getting a little better at some things:

  1. I’m remembering how much I did enjoy learning, and the different subjects that I enjoyed (such as ancient/medieval history, art history, geography, archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, in addition to science).
  2. There is no time frame/clock on when to finish the various e-courses that I’ve bought—but working through one or two a month will help me get back into the ‘learning’ game.
  3. That slowing down is actually okay—going full speed for so long, I almost hit that brick wall, but managed to slow down enough just before seeing it.
  4. Everyone’s paths are different—there are those who know exactly what they want to do, and they don’t deviate from the path; and then there are those who try numerous things before finding what it is they were meant to do—I’ve realized that I’m in the second boat.
  5. Having conversations with people on-line. While still difficult, I’m making slow progress on this front—baby steps.
  6. Changing directions in terms of the career—there is going to be a learning curve, and there will be people who know more on the subject(s) than I do—and that’s perfectly fine. There is more to life than just work, and it’s fine to take things slow.
  7. Realizing that everyone is probably going to have an opinion on what I’m doing—I shouldn’t internalize any of their opinions, I can acknowledge them, but I need to listen to my own internal voice (intuition).
  8. Working through the various issues (and triggers) of my anxiety will take time—no one is perfect, and I really don’t need to give in depth explanations to anyone in terms of certain aspects of life.
  9. While making personal/professional development plans are a pain in the ass—they are beneficial. I just need to remember that I don’t have to try to cover all aspects of life in a single year—I can focus on one or two things, and then build/branch out from there for the following year(s).
  10. And finally—realizing that the first person who I should be absolutely loyal to is myself. I need to step into my own power, embrace my strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and everything in between. I acknowledge that by being (and staying true) to myself—not everyone will like the ‘new’ me, and that is perfectly fine. It’s time to figure out who really belongs in my ‘tribe’ and who only liked me for trying to blend into society.

All in all, the past ten months have been productive in terms of self-reflection—I know where I slipped up in terms of professional development when I was younger. It may take a little more work to play ‘catch-up’, but if I go at my own pace I will get there. Anxiety isn’t the happiest of companions to have on the trip—but if I make time to sit and talk with ‘her’ weekly I think we can find ways of working together on this journey called life. And finally—realizing that it is perfectly fine being a compassionate, caring, empathic person. While I’m not sure when those traits became politicized—I’m not going to apologize for being that type of person, neither am I going to apologize for being more spiritual than religious.

Have you ever wanted to write a letter to your younger self?

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Self reflection time: naming my “roadblocks”

As I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal development/reflections over the past few weeks—I’ve realized that when it comes to my two or three biggest obstacles in trying to transition from academia to industry, they all have one thing in common—they’re all mental and I need to do the following to get past them:

            Acknowledge that there are obstacle/blocks to getting to my goals.

            Devise a workable plan for dealing with said obstacles (without hopefully adding more anxiety or obstacles to the path)

            Work daily to make small strides towards getting to stated goals.

            But remember that the goals may be fluid and change as I move forward.

So what are these obstacles or blocks that I’ve recognized over the past few weeks?

The first one is actually the major one—movement paralysis. What I mean by this is that I’ve overthought things so much, that I’m basically afraid to move in any direction, due to the (almost totally irrational) fear that I’m going to be making another large mistake. This is actually a three part paralysis problem–as described below.

This is due in part to how my first post-doctoral position ended—not well. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken that position—I only learned a few new techniques, made quite a few new friends—but I didn’t end up having a very good working relationship with my mentor. When the position ended, I was financially in the hole and felt like I was pretty much emotionally in the hole as well (due mainly to stress).

I came back home to get my financial feet steady again, and to see if I could still find enjoyment in academic research. So—I do have my financial feet steady (for the most part), and while I do enjoy the freedom of academic research—I’m so far off the path from a faculty position, it isn’t funny. If I were to stay in academic research—it would have to be in a support position, and if I was paid a decent salary I’d almost consider staying in academia—but I know I won’t be, and therefore it’s time to move on.

Switching from academia to industry is going to be a complete culture shock, and I know this—also this is where the movement paralysis comes in—what direction do I want to go in?

            There is research at the bench, research away from the bench, marketing, sales, writing, data analysis, clinical, law, ethics, and everything in between. There is also the fact that companies want to hire people focused on a couple of things, and not jack-of-all-trades (and that is how I currently feel—like I’m more of a jack of all trades than a specialist).

So that is the first part of my movement paralysis—determining which direction(s) do I try to go in? Which then leads to the second part of my movement paralysis–what do I feel like “specializing” in, and what do I feel like being a “jack-of-all-trades” in?

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and at times I tend to get bored and let my mind wander if I have to do the same thing over and over again—though I have tried to get better at this with my most current position. I also know that there are probably quite a few techniques that I’m lacking knowledge on for certain positions. I know that I can pick up the techniques fairly quickly, so that isn’t the major problem (though it is tied with the second issue—which I’ll get to possibly in the next post)—but I’m worried that I’ll get bored with what I’m doing and that there may not be that much to learn with the position.

So this means that I need to look through my diverse scientific background, and list out basically everything I’ve done and decide which two or three things (or areas), are the ones that I’d be willing to spend forty to say sixty hours a week of my life working on for the next thirty to thirty-five years. I know that most of the areas have a numerous papers published monthly, and that it would take quite awhile to feel like I’m an “expert” in those areas—getting back into reading scientific papers is something else I know I need to work on (I lost the little bit of enjoyment I had for that during my postdoctoral years).

This then brings me to the third point of my “movement paralysis”—determining which companies to work for, and brings the triangle of my “movement paralysis” to a close. This point is tied in even more closely with the first point (which direction), than the second one is. There are numerous companies, of different sizes (small start-ups up to large multi-national companies), and they all have their own different culture, ideas, pursuits, and so forth.

So once I have an idea of the two or three directions I’m wanting to go in, then I will also start looking at the different companies that are in those areas and work from there. One way of pursuing this—figure out a way that the different directions could almost go together and therefore make it easy for determining which company (or companies) I want to work for and which biotech hubs I want to be working/living in as well.

So those are my three areas of “movement paralysis”:

            Determining which direction to go,

            Determining what to be an “expert” in and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” in, and then finally,

            Determining which companies to start looking into, and what biotech hubs to also look into.

Now how am I going to address each area of “paralysis” and move forward?

In terms of which direction to go in—I have several different ideas, but the main “issue” would be trying to figure out how I could go from research at the bench to doing marketing research behind the scenes for example—I know it has been done, but my thought would be can it be done after being in industry (say a second job transition from the bench to behind the scenes).

I have a list of different basic job “titles” or areas that peaked my interest (though one of them is basically my “comfort zone”), and they are:

Other than the R&D Scientist/Manager–which still will have a learning curve mainly for techniques, the other positions are all outside my comfort zone for numerous reasons including:

Not being at the bench–with my current position I do miss being at the bench, but I can’t say for certain if I miss it because I love it, or if I miss it because it is where I’m most comfortable at.

Writing heavy positions. This isn’t to say that I don’t like writing–but grad school and my first (and to a smaller extent my second) post doctoral position dulled my enthusiasm for writing. This is something that I’m trying to get back–starting with writing in my journal, creative writing, and working my way up to summarizing journal articles (to then hopefully write a mini-review on a topic).

Number heavy positions. Dealing with numbers really isn’t the problem–I would just need to learn statistics, and then brush up on basically everything business related (finances and economics for example).

While I’m not looking at positions that are constantly on the road (as I know there are at least two to four different positions that travel at least four days a week), there are one or two that might have some travel time. Currently I want to limit the amount of travel, since when I do move–I’ll have my cat with me (and then I’m planning within six to nine months after settling of getting another kitten or puppy), and that means I don’t want to be paying a large amount of money every month for a pet sitter.

So as you can see—I have numerous directions I can chose from, I just need to decide which are the most interesting and which ones could possibly overlap and make it an easy transition into the second, or third industry positions (as now a days—people may or may not stick with the same company for more than say three to five years).

I almost consider all the positions (other than the R&D scientist/manager) to be some sort of data analyst position—which would be interesting in their own way—but I’m not sure if I want to be stuck at a desk all day or not (but this is something else entirely to deal with).  The R&D position would be staying somewhat within my comfort zone. I’m saying somewhat—because I know that there are technical skills that I’m lacking, but would be able to pick up fairly quickly on the job. The position is listed, because currently I do miss doing actual research at the bench—I’m just not sure if it is something that I want to continue doing for the next thirty or thirty-five years.

All of the positions have a learning curve—there are technical skills, coding, subjects (such as marketing, statistics, and economics for example), and possible foreign languages to learn (or brush up on).

So how can I go about paring down the list? Well, for that to happen I will also need to make headway with the other two points on the triangle (what do I want to be an “expert” in and where do I want to work/live (biotech hubs and the specific companies)—and then hopefully work on getting some informational interviews with people to hear first hand about these positions.

In addition I have listed in another journal things that I can start brushing up on (or learning) that would help with transitioning into the different positions, and may also help get me back into enjoying learning something new and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

This is also going back to my issue with time management—I know that there is enough time in the day to brush up on one or two things, and that I can go between different things (say have a M/W/F schedule & then a T/Th schedule—just like college)—I just need to clean up a work space, install some time management apps—so I don’t spend all day going onto social media, and sit down and get stuff going.

That then brings me to the second area to figure out: my niche. So how do I decide on what to be an “expert” on and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” on? If I had to pick a couple of skills/areas that I would enjoy doing frequently they would be the following:

I think that knowing how to do “old fashion” molecular cloning is important, only because I’m sure there will be a time when money runs out for a lab and they will still need that one last plasmid to get the grant—if someone knows how to do it the “old fashion” way—they can put in the grant application; if no one knows—the lab folds and closes. This is something that one might not have to do much of in the industry setting (as time is money, and companies may rather just pay another company some money to make the plasmid for them), but I do feel like it is something that any molecular biologist should at least know the theory behind (and if possible, have tried their hands at it).

            If nothing else, I think this would be a good subject to design an entire series of blog posts around, and maybe even a small online course.

The recombinant protein expression and purification fits in with that aspect—because you have to put your gene/protein of interest into a plasmid to be able to study it. Proteins and small molecules are what makes the cell run—knowing how to study them, how to target them (in cases of cancer and other diseases) for treatment is something that I think I’d enjoy doing. There are also numerous technical skills that I would hopefully be able to pick up as well doing this; though with this area—there are so many different proteins, that again this would be an duel edge sword—being an “expert” in one or two, and then a “jack-of-all-trades” in a couple of other types of proteins.

Cell biology fits in with both the above two topics and the last one (small RNA biology) because you have to understand how the cell operates to be able to understand how to start to manipulate it. This is a subject that I would need to brush up on, as I only took one or two classes in college, and while my dissertation topic touched on it a little—it only touched on a very small aspect of it (post-transcriptional modifications).

Small RNA biology is an area that can span different industrial sectors such as biomedical, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural. This is also a growing field, with more being discovered about these small molecules that play a large role in the cell. Having done small RNA biology with both plants and animals, I can go either direction, biomedical/pharmaceutical or agricultural, and probably be happy doing the research at the bench.

So these four areas can probably be condensed down into two areas: molecular biology and cell biology that I feel like I could be an “expert” and a “jack-of-all-trades” in at the same time (as both areas encompass numerous different subfields). The other two areas that I would feel more comfortable having a “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expertise in would be biochemistry and chemistry. As I’m typing this, I’m finding it funny that I’m willing to consider myself an “expert” in molecular biology, and an “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expert in biochemistry (since both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were in biochemistry and molecular biology)—it has only taken me about nine years to figure out which subfield I’m more comfortable with compared to the other.

So, while I’ve chosen the areas (and to some extent the subfields)—I’m still going to need to spend time reading papers, and giving myself a refresher in certain subjects (namely chemistry, a little biochemistry (all those pathways), and a little cell biology). I need to design a tracking system, or something that will make it interesting and fun so that I don’t lose interest after a week or so—plus I will design a schedule to where I focus on only say two “subjects” on any particular day (pretend I’m back in college).

So I have some idea of the direction(s) I’m probably willing to take; ideas of what I wouldn’t mind becoming an “expert” versus an “jack-of-all-trades” in—which then leads to the third point—where do I want to relocate to, and then which companies within that region am I going to look into further. This is actually a two-part problem: location to live and company to work for. I’ve realized that I’m going to be going about this issue in a different manner than most people: I’m going to first focus on narrowing down the biotech hubs that I’m willing to relocate to, and then focus on narrowing down the companies within the biotech hubs that I want to work for.

So when it comes to choosing a biotech hub, I already have several different criteria that will have to be met:

            The cost of living has to be reasonable. I know that moving to a larger city, rent is going to be relatively high, but I don’t want to be paying an outrageous amount of money for a small studio or one bedroom apartment.

            There has to be a decent public transportation system in the city. This is currently an absolute must have, as I don’t drive (and until I work thorough my anxiety issues associated with it—I won’t be driving). So that is one thing the city has to have—public transportation. I don’t mind riding buses, trains, or both to get to work—you do what you have to do, with what you have.

            There has to be things to do within the city (both free and hopefully also fairly inexpensive). With a transition into industry, this will hopefully mean that I won’t have to be working on weekends (though the occasional one is perfectly fine), and I can spend the time exploring my new city and the surround areas. That also means that there should be ways of getting around the outlying areas as well (for example—Boston serves as a hub and you can take a bus almost anywhere within a four hour drive).

            Finally, there needs to be a decent number of companies within the area. I realize that I may not spend the rest of my career working for the company that I start with—but if I’m going to be changing companies (for whatever reason, say five to ten years after starting with company one) I don’t want to be moving cross-country, or even between states (if I can avoid it). The move to and from Boston for my first postdoctoral position soured me on long distance moving (moves are expensive, and time consuming [packing, arranging movers, finding an apartment/condo/house, setting up utilities, getting your stuff delivered, and then unpacking], and as far as I’m concerned—an all around headache).

            When it comes to trying to pick the companies, this will be in part dependent on which direction I chose to go in, what I’ve “branded” myself an “expert” in, and of course the city. I know that companies all have their own culture, values, and visions—so the best way of narrowing down the companies will be to setup informational interviews. These will start first online (or over the phone), and then when I have an solid idea of the place(s)—hopefully in person informational interviews, when I take some networking trips in the spring.

So there it is—my “movement paralysis” layout, and each little circle opened up to reveal another “knot” that needs to be worked out in order to move forward. I’m going to be doing this a little slower than others might—but by doing it slow, I can hopefully avoid falling into any major panic attacks or introducing a new “movement paralysis” stop.

First things to do: clean up my room and design a work area at home (probably not my desk—which is also currently serving as my dresser), install some time management apps on the computer (to keep me from surfing social media sites during the day—especially once I’m on my reboot break), and design a schedule for the “class” work I need to start working on. In addition, I’ll be working a little on it during the week at work (when I have a little down time in between other things), such as reading business/tech pages to start brushing up on the business side of science.

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