Thursday, July 12, 2012

Better, cheaper, faster, easier

In my internship at the C4C, part of my job was to help innovators determine if thier idea would be better, cheaper, faster or easier than the current standards.  If you can be one (or all) of those things, you've got a shot at success- or a market advantage.  (If you have none of these things- go back to the drawing board.) This type of assessment is something I'd like to bring to my job hunt.

I was discussing careers with a friend from graduate school, who was describing her resistance to taking on the PI path.  It's no surprise that it's a hard job, with responsibilities that not everyone wants to be good at (grant writing, mentorship, teaching and lab administration pop into mind).  But the people who are successful at it enjoy those aspects, or don't find them as miserable as I might. Or they find it worth it for the exciting and fun parts (assay design, designing projects, pursuing interesting scientific questions).  My friend said, "I'm not going to be better than my old boss at the fun and exciting stuff, and the hard parts won't be any easier for me."  I'm not going to be better at it, and it won't be easier for me.

This got me thinking about what I am doing right now.  I'm not sure it's my dream job, but curriculum development and instructional design are pretty easy for me.  I came from a standards based education that was very participatory, so assessing objectives and meeting educational standards isn't a struggle.  And I seem to be decent enough at it that I'm fairly busy with it for the moment.  I don't know that I am better that anyone at it, but I don't find the work emotionally hard (unlike, say, developing a blank Western at 6pm on a Friday), which leaves me a lot of energy to put into my real life. 

It might not be my dream job, but if a market advantage can score me a stable paycheck, maybe that is good enough.

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