Friday, June 21, 2013

Andre the Chemist, with some excellent final words

Andre the Chemist has posted part 4 (the last) of our conversation. A brief excerpt:
More importantly, I think our conversation has distilled down my thoughts on this to a more basic premise, which is a difficult concept in today's world:
Don't be afraid to make a mistake.
We all are taught to seek out perfection in every step we take in our life. However, one slip on your planned road isn't going to destroy your life.

If you take a job and don't like it, work on finding a new one. If you don't think your grad degree is in the right field, try a postdoc in something different (I've done this one, and it is possible). If you've spent a few years in grad school but don't think it's for you, you should at least consider that slogging your way through it might be worse for you professionally than just leaving.

The harder you work on finding the right spot for you, the better chance you will have of being the success you want.
This is a profound point, and one that is worth thinking on. Thanks to Andre for a great series and lots of good thoughts on the geographical questions surrounding chemistry jobs.

(parts 1, part 2 and part 3.)

1 comment:

  1. @Andre

    "My gut reaction is to say that students should be given a broad experience in college so that they can be flexible in their post-education life (maybe un-employable, but flexible at least)."

    [What follows is half jestful prodding/half quizzical joking.]

    LOLZ! Could this be a reason for the blight on STEM educated people in the US? I've tried to take the middle ground and be a 'flexible' job candidate. To any employer I've run across this is more financial liability than marble block for them to carve into David.

    On a more serious note to add to this exchange, I traded 50% of my best employment offer coming out of grad school to live where I am. I doubt that decision nearly everyday in my windowless office. Everyday at lunch when I go run or walk a few laps around the campus and at sunset during my drive home, I know I've made the right choice of location.

    This hasn't meant that I haven't continued to look for something better/switching careers, but not even the threat of bleak employment prospects, wildfires, damaging hail, or very large accumulations of snow (actually a plus in my book) can get me to leave.

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