My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
I am changing the direction of this blog for 2011. When I started, I needed to vent about things that happened while working at the big biotechs. I was angry at the way I was treated and the behavior of others (Take Responsibility), I was angry at the things I had to do (Art of Lying), and I was angry at how ineptitude was rewarded and promoted (Pick a Title). I was angry because I was at the mercy of forces that were not going to change any time soon and that people can win by playing with a different set of rules, rules I wanted no part of. I was beginning to see that moving up the ladder meant moving further away from what I loved. I was at a cross roads- choosing between making the income people dream of vs. doing the job of my dreams.
I am an ambitious person but money alone does not motivate me. However that's how society rewards good work. More money. And I can't stay in one spot too long, career wise. What's the point of busting your ass to be in the same place in 2-3 years? There's no game in that. I am positive that people reading this know what I am talking about, because you are all winners. Winners want to win. We don't just stagnate. But, I had to move on from that life and get back to what really makes me excited every day: science.
Now that the purpose of those articles has been achieved and I am cured, I am ready to write about subjects that I love. What I love is helping people. I've been to hell and back. My PhD years were difficult and the last two could almost be described as mental torture. And many things didn't go the way I had planned. But I am here to say that even when everything seems like a waste of time and your idealistic view of the "perfect job" no longer seems in your grasp, everything really does work out all right. Because winners win. Winners always come back when all seems lost. Never count yourself out. Got it?
OK, so I am going to write more about how I made it through some of the difficult times, and also want to help anyone who needs advice with a lab situation whether with a PI or a co-worker. And I have many years expertise troubleshooting DNA/RNA work so feel free to ask me and I'll tell you what I think. Feel free to write me through LabSpaces or twitter. You can even ask me for relationship advice. I've screwed up pretty darn good in that area so I can certainly tell you what not to do.
Last, I want to thank all the bloggers at LabSpaces for their great articles. I love them all. I don't always comment because of time but I read them. There is so much to read in the blogosphere now and while at work, I try to squeeze in reading articles but it's difficult. And this goes to all our former friends who have moved on as well. I’m reading you too. I am glad we had that time to get to know each other and will continue to follow your tweets and read your blogs.
Brian- thanks for your dedication to LabSpaces and for giving me a spot on your site. I am happy to be able to create my own little lab space here to experiment with my writing and help others in the process. Looking forward to 2011!!
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Love this post Jade! And I'm really happy to have met you (virtually) as well :)
I'm looking forward to the posts. I really enjoy advice columns.
Thanks Odyssey, Evie, and Lady Scientist. It feels good to mentally move on from those days.
I've met so many great scientists/writers through LS and am glad to be among you. When I started I worried about not fitting in because of the subject matter but Brian was very supportive. I hope to contribute more on subjects that really matter to students.
Jade, I think you have a great perspective being in biotech. There are thousands of people all vying for very few tenure track positions. I think it would be really helpful if students were aware and prepared for a life in biotech. You could really help these people find jobs and market themselves better for non-academic positions.
Sounds like a great idea. Looking forward to seeing where it goes!
As a postdoc who doesn't really want an academic position, I would love to read about some of your experiences moving into the biotech field.
Love ya Jade ... post made me smile :)
I know a few people in biotech struggling with the issues you described, and I'll be sure to pass them your way for advice.
Sounds awesome! I don't suppose that formidable nucleic acids expertise extends to... the dreaded ChIP??
Although, the winner thing is not a paradigm relevant to my worldview. :-P
@Becca, I do/have done a ton of ChIP. If Jade can't answer your Q's I'd be happy to!
Great post, Jade! Very interested to see where the blog goes! :)
Hi Becca- I believe both Brian and Dr. Girlfriend have extensive experience in ChIP. I may try to utilize the forum to get people help with questions that require more help than I can give. I think the forum allows guests to post and the Groups requires being a registered member, is that right Brian.
Becca- what part of winning disagrees with your worldview, I wonder?
Thank you Gerty!
Cricket- Thanks for your comment. I think it's great that you know what you want. I didn't actually want to move in this direction but now in retrospect, I can see ways I could have made it a whole lot easier for myself if I had an open mind as a grad student or postdoc. The most important thing to start doing is build your network and meet people who work at the companies you are interested in.
Thnaks Dr. O- I hope to have more fun writing this year. I just read about Monkey's vaccinations today. Glad it went well for him!
I'm happy to hear you have gotten thru those aggrevating days. I look forward to reading whatever you have to offer!
Winning is compatible with my worldview; dividing people up into winners and losers (even for the supposedly motivating purpose of firing up the winners) is not. My competitive drives are not my most constructive drives.
The comment about ChIP was prompted because I'm pretty sure it's the only assay that offers the kind of evidence I really need, but I'm coming to the end of my grad studies and I probably don't really have time to do it. Thus, it is ahunting me.
Fair point. I never talk about losers or call people losers. Sometimes things just don't work out for you no matter what you do, or how hard you try.
But I believe that everyone has it in them to persevere through whatever hardship they are going through. The lessons learned will mean that next time, you will be better prepared to face something very difficult and win. The point is to not stop trying. Get up and start again.
Believe me, I've been beat up pretty good, metaphorically speaking. I want people to know that they should never count themselves out. Even when you really are out, you're not out.
I agree, and I think it's a really powerful message to not give up. And it seems to me that some of the strongest people I know are those that have been through the worst and adapted that kind of mindset. This is a subtle question of imagery and outlook, and how they affect you and what your ideals are. For a lot of people, seeing themselves as a boxer who gets up on the count of nine and goes on to kick ass and take names is the way to keep themselves going after something rough happens.
For my part, I see myself as a lizard with a very fragile tail. It breaks (I'm not resilient in the sense of not-breaking)... but it's made to do that. And so I heal. And grow back (only plumper and fuzzier! ok, so I might be a little overly enamored of the cuteness of geckotails here...). It's a similar metaphor from the perspective of keeping at things, but without the baggage of comparing yourself to others, or having to be tough.
I love the analogy! That approach is very healthy. I think when I started out, part of the problem was not fully understanding that I would have to experience being broken. Not really being prepared for it and the intensity.
It is difficult and important to not compare yourself to others. I still have to keep telling myself all the time.
Thanks Becca- I really appreciate your contributions to the discussions here. You have a lot of good insight.
I think you have been a great resource for people. I have seen this and have been able to chat witth you about things elsewhere and have gotten great insight. Glad that you have reached this point good luck!
Jade, its always great to see people listen to their gut, chase their dreams and watch it lead to happiness (its what LETUBEU is all about). I'm glad its working out for you. Your posts provide an excellent point of view for those who are lost in the lab. On paper, when applying to grad school research looks great ("I'm going to cure cancer!") but we both know once you're there, its another ball game ("Another failed experiment???").
Its people like you who will help the "lost scientist" figure out what their gut is telling them so they can achieve happiness (or as you say, "win"). Most scientists don't know of the other opportunities out there for them besides bench work. You provide them with a nice resource to help determine what they want. I wish we had more scientists from the business side of things, like you and me, open up and share their experiences.
Keep winning, stay happy.
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