Tag: jobtransition

Reflections on my job search this year

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.

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Aries Full Moon Goals

Well next week is October already. Somehow the month of September has sped past, and we’re now entering the last quarter of 2018. I had thought that I would possibly have gotten more accomplished this year, and that I would have an industry position—well that hasn’t happened yet. So we’re entering the full moon cycle, and now the moon has moved into Aries—which is always a lovely fire sign.

So let’s look at the top 5 questions from “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland.

Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

Have I been going too fast or been impulsive this month?

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilities?

Have I had enough fun?

So if I number the above questions again 1-5, I think my current answers would be as follows:

  • I actually think that I need to be a little more selfish or argumentative in the coming weeks (mainly for the sake of my mental health). I usually don’t argue with people at work (I don’t like conflict), and I try to compromise as much as possible probably in all aspects of life. I need to start putting myself first in some cases and decide that if I’m going to possibly take time off—it may be time without pay (as I’ve been told that unless I’m having an mental issue I can’t take sick leave for it).
  • No I haven’t been impulsive about things or going too fast. Probably there are a lot of people that are saying that I’m actually being way to cautious and going slower than others in terms of trying to work on my transition into industry from academia.
  • Again, I don’t think I’ve been brash or blunt this month. The same can be said about being competitive—I haven’t been.
  • What finer sensibilities? Right now I have no social life and I don’t think that I’m ignoring people’s sensibilities.
  • No I haven’t had enough fun lately. I’ve been too stressed about the animals that have declining health, trying to find another job, and the world in general.

So the moon is also passing through my 6th house or the daily work and health zone. So, this will be the second time that this house has come around this year (remember the moon passes through each house during all phases—but I’m currently only looking at the new and full moons (and not the quarters). So this is the time that we focus on releasing any issues about habits that we want to break. This is also the time that we may face a tug of war between dealing with everyday things and wanting to find time to ourselves.

This is also the time to look at what you do every Monday to Friday from nine to five—to sum up: your job. It isn’t suggested that you up and quit (unless you can afford too), but to start thinking of what you do enjoy doing and seeing if there is a way to turn that into your nine to five job, or figure out how to transition into a different job. I have decided that it is time to transition out of academia and in industry for several reasons (but that is another blog post)……

So my goals for this full moon period are:

  • Start a workout routine (either a second round of LIIFT4 or InsanityMax30).
  • Work on my transition plan (have the list of job titles ranked, and start looking into the top six a little more in detail [have at least one blog post on the top six as to why I wouldn’t mind having that position]).
  • Get back into meditating nightly.
  • Post an update (or question) in different groups that I belong to on Facebook. I’ve realized that I’m slowly losing motivation (or drive) on the transition plan (I want to transition, don’t get me wrong), and am curious to know if others had as well and what they did to gain the motivation and/or drive back.
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Update on Job Transition: Trying to Narrow down the List

So while I’ve been slowly trying to figure out my transition plan, it seems that the universe is giving me a nudge to get everything moving a little faster (I won’t get into that topic here). So over the weekend I went back through both the career guide map and the handbook to see what titles/jobs sounded interesting and I’m still looking between six to eight different titles/positions:

R&D scientist (or R&D project manager)—the scientist position would almost be me staying within my comfort zone (research), though I’m thinking of looking at other industries other than biomedical/biopharma. Trying for the project manager position would be stepping outside of my comfort zone but at the same time staying within research (I have bought a project management e-bundle course through e-courses4you (and it also comes with a certificate) I just haven’t finished it yet)).

The others would all be stepping outside of my comfort zone (which is something that the more I think about it—the more appealing it is, scary but at the same time I’d be learning more than if I just stayed within “normal research”).

The other positions include:

Operation Research Analyst

Health Economist and Outcome Research

Market Research Analyst

Marketing Communication Specialist

Clinical Data Manager

Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) Specialist

Quantitative Analyst

I know that most will require some base knowledge of programming (which is why I’ve also bought several programming e-courses off of stackskills that I have to still work through). While writing still isn’t my most favorite thing in the world to do, I know that in order to get better at it, I need to do it—so some of the positions would be pushing me out my comfort zone that way (in addition to my posting on my blog; though these for the most part are photos with a small blurb).

My new goals are that by the end of September (and while I know that seven weeks away—it will be here before I know it); I’ve determined within the R&D question which industry sector & companies I would want to work for, as well as looking into the companies for the other positions as well. At the same time I’m going to add value to connections (and continue growing my linkedin network as well); that way hopefully by early October I can set up a few informational interviews, leading to referrals and hopeful on site interviews throughout the winter. My main goal is to hopefully transition into an industry position in the spring. My current position is guaranteed through Thanksgiving (and possibly the New Year), but I have decided that I’m tired of the toxic environment that academia has become, the fact that this position is a dead-end position, and the fact that I have let myself be bogged down both by fear of the unknown and the fear of possible failure.

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Bubble thought approach to job searching

So July is here, and that means that in theory I have less than four months to figure out my transition plan if I want to get a job in industry this fall. As many know this is something that I’ve been slowly trying to figure out since I started this blog last fall—hard to believe it’s almost been a year for that (but that is totally another post for a later date).

One of my biggest problems has been trying to decide if I want to stay within my comfort zone (which would be on the bench doing research) or if I want to start venturing outside of my comfort zone and try something else. Lately I’ve been thinking more and more of trying to venture outside of my comfort zone, but at the same time be “within” other comfort zones (i.e. not taking a job that requires a lot of travel time).

So I decided that I’d try a different way of looking at this—I drew a bubble diagram. You remember those times in English class, when you needed to try to write a story and you tried to connect different ideas together to see which direction you wanted the story to go?? Well that is what I did—I wanted to see if there any ways of trying to connect career paths with things I already enjoyed doing.

Bubble thoughts

So with having basically my hobbies at the bottom of the page, I noticed that I could potentially have more interest in the health economics and outreach research position (as I am trying to focus more on my own health and fitness right now—I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite going into that position (trying to help figure out how to help improve the health of others while ignoring my own); or trying to go into a policy position. If I wanted to try to do that—it would be a position that either helped within the field of conservation biology or science education. As much as I’ve been thinking of getting my alternative certification for teaching science in a K-12 atmosphere—I don’t want to have worry about the potential of school shootings so this one is still a potential, but it’s on the back burner for now.

I wouldn’t mind going into a project management position, as it would still allow me to be close to research, but not necessarily the one doing it. I’ve also decided that if I was going to stay within research, I should think of going into a different sector (background is mainly biomedical/basic life science) and go either agricultural (biofuel or GMO) or potentially into cosmetic or something of that nature.

I know that writing will become a large part of any new position (and probably data analysis as well), so I am going to be trying to post longer blog posts (or new pages) here to help get back into writing. I know that there is a huge difference between creative writing and scientific writing (and that is where my troubles lay) and therefore will be trying to see how many either different types of reviews or even mini articles I can get written and posted this site over the next few months.

In addition, I know that I really do need to start brushing up on the business/healthcare/clinical side of things with the potential of trying to switch to an health economics position. So I made another bubble diagram of things that would be beneficial for me to start trying to either learn or start brushing up on for my transition.

Things to start brushing up on and/or learning

I have already started online courses in both web page design and project management (I just have to finish both courses). The web page design will help in both a science career and also as a potential side business (building web pages for other people). The project management course and certification will help in trying to get into a project management position.

I know that programming will be useful to know (so again I have bought some e-courses; I just have to go sit down and watch all the videos and take notes). I also know that I need to take an statistics course (which I will probably do on-line), and then there are difference business areas that I should at least be familiar with, such as economics (with various sub-fields) and marketing. I’m also going to start trying to brush up on a foreign language or two as well. It’s time to push myself to continue learning and progressing if I don’t want to be stuck in the same place for years. Learning is a life long process, I’m now just trying to un-stick myself from the stagnation that I’ve allowed myself to fall into lately.

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