We’re going to try something new in the Avasthi Lab. July 27-August 3 will be Career Development Week! I’m trying to encourage lab members to participate in activities that will promote their career development and get them closer to their academic and career goals. It’s sometimes hard to take time out of your life to do optional things when there are so many non-optional things on your plate. I would argue that many career development activities are in fact non-optional and go a long way in the advancement of a scientist. To promote this idea, we’ll attempt to somewhat gamify these activities. What I propose is this: lab members will have a week (really 8 days, see above) to participate in some career development activities. Each activity will be assigned a point value based on difficulty and time commitment required (and which the lab will vote/agree upon). At the end of the week, we’ll tally the points and the person with the most points will get an Amazon gift card (but really everyone wins, if you know what I mean).  Below I’ve listed some ideas for career development activities but points will definitely be given for any other activities that people come up with:

  • Join Twitter.
  • Make a personal website promoting yourself and your science.
  • Initiate contact with a scientist outside the lab/institution that may, after fostering a relationship, be able to provide career advice, scientific advice or provide a letter of recommendation.
  • Submit your CV to be workshopped as a group during a lab meeting.
  • Submit a self assessment: what are your strengths, weaknesses and career goals (w/timeline)?
  • Volunteer for a talk somewhere (for a campus event/seminar or elsewhere for outreach purposes).
  • Submit a blog post about your science or laboratory experience to be displayed on the lab blog.
  • Read/review an article and comment on Pubmed Commons or bioRxiv.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch so you have one ready when you meet new people/scientists.

I encourage others to try this as well and let me know how it went via email or twitter (@pracheeac). I’ll put up another post after the week is done to let you know how our Career Development Week went and highlight any stories I hear from you (with your permission, of course).

Categories: Lab Ideas