Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mid Month Status Report - Love what you do

Another blog I'm happy to have stumbled upon is "This is Corp Goth" by Trystan, which is a blog about fitting into the world of "Real Jobs" while still maintaining the gothy part of yourself. This is something I really struggle with.

The task this week is to remind yourself why you do what you do. To phrase it in her words
"Love What You Do. Describe and try to show what you love about your job, career, school, or vocation. Few jobs are perfect, but most jobs have something that keeps you hanging on. Whether it's a decent paycheck, reasonable hours, fun coworkers, being able to wear what you want, what makes you appreciate your line of work? Tell us about it and include a picture to symbolize that. If you're studying something you love, share the details. Or maybe you just left one career and are striking out on something new? Do you love that prospect? Why? We spend so much of our lives working, we better find at least one thing to enjoy."
And I agree that it is very important to keep in mind why you originally wanted the job you are doing and to keep checking once in a while if it still fulfills you and makes you happy. Of course, working is not always rainbows and lollipops, but if I didn't like my job I would do it.

I'm a biologist working on human genetics. Scientific work and especially writing a PhD thesis take a lot of time and devotion. I spend time in the lab, visit conferences where I present my findings and learn more about the news in my field, I write papers (in English which is not my first language and German), I visit other labs to learn about new techniques,... You see that I have a lot to do and as in many jobs, the time required to do the job is not necessarily the time your boss thinks is adequate. So I'm usually at least a bit stressed. The pay is horrible (don't even ask, I make less than 20.000 Euro per year) and the hours are even worse.

But - which is an important BUT- I like it. I love to learn new stuff. Digging into new projects makes me giddy with joy. Finding out how stuff works is immensely satisfying! I love to interact with inspiring personalities and wise professors. I like that I can combine practical work with science on the edge - working on stuff that maybe 5 people from my field understand in the same depth than I do.
 I'm near the end of my thesis and now have to decide how I want to continue in future. I know for sure that I can't stay in this lab unless my grant application goes through (which is not that likely). But whether I want to stay in Academia - with low pay and long hours, but the satisfaction from doing science on the cutting edge- or will work for a company I'm not sure. Both have their advantages. If I'd do a Postdoc in Academia, I could do that somewhere, anywhere in the world. But it would be nice to earn some money for a change, which is better in business.

At the end of this month I'll have to start to apply for jobs. I think I'll just look what interesting positions I'll find and see where my life takes me!


Trystan L. Bass said...

Wow, science 'on the edge' sounds fascinating! There must be so much to keep you going. Thanks for sharing your status report.

MindLess said...

@ Trystan: Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment! While the work is hard, I really enjoy being a PhD student. I'm just to curious to stop!

Insomniac's Attic said...

I hope you'll find a job with the perfect mix of Academia AND a decent paycheque! :o)

Jade said...

Human genetics sounds so cool! And so does the fact how much you now about your expertise. :) I hope you find that interesting job in near future!

MindLess said...

@ Insommniac's attic: Thanks, I hope so, too!

@ Jade: Thank you, I hope I find a way to continue with science and learning new stuff.