I’ll be in your intertubez, clogging them ;-).
So, a couple of entries ago I mentioned that although life in the flesh in 2012 sucked, life on the web was more promising. Now that some of these projects are live I can talk a bit more and share with you what’s going on.
Almost every week I get at least 1 email from a young person, be it an undergrad, grad student or even postdoc, with questions about life in academia. Some are not sure of where to go, or what to do, or whether to stay in the lab, move on, or else. Others simply need encouragement to make a decision.
Some of these emails break my heart, some situations are plain unfair (bad mentors, vindictive labmates, crappy school), others are part of a general lack of mentoring. I had an awesome mentor in grad school … in fact, pretty much all my mentors have been very good. So I feel like in a way, I can give something back if I can answer a question, provide insight or be a mentor in a way.
I answer questions as soon as I can (though sometimes it’s hard to find time and sit and give an answer that makes sense). All this, and Twitter, provided a platform to make an idea become a real thing. For a bit the good people at Benchly and I had been talking about collaborating some way. After a particularly sad email we came up with the idea of a column to hopefully give a sense of reassurance to some of you out there who may be facing a tough time in the lab, or are maybe thinking about exploring other options in academia or just want to see what others are doing. In it, a few of the most common questions we get are shown together with answers from people who have been there, and survived and are now in a much better place. And if you haven’t checked out Benchfly, you’re missing a lot of goodies. Benchly is “the premiere video platform for scientists designed by research and video experts.” Need a video tutorial on a technique? Go there and check it out. Need advice, there’s a column for that. And there’s also a great blog with lots of great advice.
The first column is up and running. Every few weeks someone new will be showcased along with their answers and individual situation and how they’re doing since moving on from their bad situation. I hope this helps those of you out there with a tough situation and what to do … know that you’re not alone, it does get better. The first column features your truly. If you’ve had a bad postdoc experience and are now doing much better, please get in touch with me or Benchfly. It would be great to see how things changed for you. And on a related note, check this out.
Second, a few weeks ago I was approached by the fine people at Bio Careers. Bio Careers is a site “dedicated to expanding professional options for life science PhDs and MDs.” They feature a great job board, offer career tools and have a blog where scientists from all walks of life offer advice on everything career-related! I’ll be writing a monthly entry on career issues and my experience going from academia to non-profit research. My first entry is up! Check out the blog, and if your institution is a member, you can sign up for an account with them. That is super cool.
I hope you enjoy these entries and that they serve to keep you upbeat when you’re down and give you a sense of hope when you don’t know where to go.