WAVE BREAK MEDIA/THINK STOCK
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “what road do I take?”
The cat asked, “where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
– a paraphrased version of the scene in Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Karen is a Consultant within the Postdoc Development Centre (PDC) at Imperial. She gained her PhD in Structural Biology from the University of York, before joining the NRC-BRI research institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. In 2011 she returned to the UK to take a Postdoc position at the University of Warwick. During her time as a researcher she published several publications in her maiden name, Ruane.
Karen is passionate about helping Postdocs reach their full potential and to achieve this, she provides a range of training and support to postdocs across Imperial. She is actively involved with the Postdoc Reps Network and is always eager to talk to Postdocs who would like to join this community of reps.
Although self-reflection sounds extremely difficult, it’s actually relatively simple.
1: What do you like about your job?
2: What do you dislike about the job?
3: What don’t you mind about your job?
Talk. “Find out what others have gone on to do and see whether or not the list of skills and things you enjoy doing would fit into that job,” says Hinxman. And don’t just apply this to familiar roles. Go out and speak to people who do all sorts of things to see how your skills might fit.
However, frequently, graduate students venture into a postdoc out of a feeling of desperation for a job, resulting in a lack of inquiry about basic elements of the appointment and little or no negotiation for benefits. “When you’re finished with your Ph.D., people look into what postdocs they want,” confesses Jimmy Weterings, whose appointment took place at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and who is currently seeking an academic position. “There are some people, and I count myself among them, who will take anything—it’s a safety feeling. You finished your Ph.D., you know you will have income, but I didn’t think beyond the two years.”
Just take some time to think about what you enjoy, because if you pick something you enjoy, then it really doesn’t matter what road you take in life.