Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's holding me back?

I'm a big picture person.  I can't help myself.  I worry about my job hunt because I'm not sure where I'll be in 20 years, I just want to get on a path.  I've been looking for a job in science for longer then I hoped, but I think I am much more likely to end up in a position I will actually like in the long term.  Meeting people in different fields, in different roles has really helped me shape my expectations and aspirations.  And have been realizing recently that both of those are things I need to resolve before I can find a real job launching career. 

What do I mean?  People ask me what kind of a job I am looking for, and I usually say that given my background, a job in pharma or biotech would suit me well.  But, I'm not really married to bench work.  I enjoy thinking about science more than performing experiments, I'm more journal club than lab meeting, if that makes sense.  It's not important to me to get "credit" for my work, but I do want to know I am working on a good cause.  And I don't want to get bored- I am looking for a position that can lead to other opportunities, and not just in terms of salary growth.  But really, I'm not sure what type of position I aspire to, so it's hard to set my expectations accordingly. 

Here is the thing, when my friends pester me to talk about what I've done lately that I liked, I almost always point to my volunteer work that the Science Center.  I loved playing with science, sharing my enthusiasm with kids and their families, and I've come to realize that Science Centers may play a really integral role in communities and in the future of the STEM economy.  But, I presumed that my volunteer/outreach work needs to be supplemental- it seems insincere to encourage kids to go get a job in science if I couldn't be bothered. 

But, the Pacific Science Center in Seattle is hiring right now.  They aren't hiring molecular virologists, but they are looking for a grant writer.  And I realized two things, 1) I had previously discounted working at a Science Center because I wasn't sure it was "important," but I now view it as part of a bigger picture solution to the worlds complex problems- encourage kids to believe they are innovators at a young age and when they grow up, they'll have the capacity to stop global warming. 2) I was worried about growth.  I figured you join the team as a grant writer or volunteer coordinator, and there is nowhere to go.  I don't know why I thought that, ignorance obviously.  Clearly, I need to expand my circle of informational interviews to include this professional arena. 

And I applied for that job.

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