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Career Planning for STEM Postdocs and PhD Students

"Advancing your Career Plan for STEM Postdocs and PhD Students" This workshop was given at the University of California, Irvine in June 2015. We used the myIDP website to help attendees in their career planning.

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Career Planning for STEM Postdocs and PhD Students

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  14. 14. 1 Advancing your Career Plan for STEM Postdocs & PhD Students June 4, 2015 at UC Irvine Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines Introductory Case Study for Group Discussion: Mary and her husband John were feeling squeezed by their financial situation. Both are almost done with their postdoc appointments, and want to start a family soon, but they are worried that they would not have enough money to live comfortably with children in the LA area (where their extended families reside). Recently, a sales rep visiting Mary’s lab told her about a newly available Field Applications and Sales Scientist position at his company (a major microscope vendor). In their discussion, he happened to mention that she could double her current salary in that role, so she was naturally intrigued. Mary applied for the job, got an interview, and was offered the position. With strong encouragement from her husband, she was about to accept the offer when she began to have second thoughts: • “Sure the money is going to be nice but how will I balance future childcare issues with the extensive travel required in that job?” • “I initially chose scientific research to make an impact on my field, work on cutting edge questions, and maybe even make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Will I be able to realize those goals in this new position?” • “If I were to work in this position temporarily to get some experience and earn some money, will I be able to transition into my ideal job later? How would this temporary job look on my resume?” • “This Field Apps/Sales position has a base‐salary‐plus‐commission salary structure. The people I met during my interviews all seemed money motivated. I mean, they all seemed really happy with their jobs and everything, but they sure talked a lot about the extra hours they spent working to meet their sales goals. Money is important, but I don’t think I want to work SO many hours, away from my family, in order to make a higher level of sales and get that extra commission.” Mary realized that she might not find this position so satisfying after all. Discuss these questions within your group: • What would you do in this situation? • How would you go about making your decision? What would be your decision-making process? • Who would you ask for help, advice, support, etc? (adapted from “Work-Related Values: What is Important to You?” by B. Lindstaedt, P. Clifford, C. Fuhrmann, and J. Hobin;
  15. 15. 2 References, and other Career Planning and Self-Assessment Resources: ● Bolles, Richard “What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career- Changers” ○ Many consider this to be the “bible” of career planning. A new edition is published every year. ● Ibarra, Herminia “Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career” ○ A valuable book for those contemplating a significant career transition ● Krumboltz, John and Levin, Al “Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career”; 2nd edition, 2010 ○ This is the first career planning book that actively encourages readers to create their own unplanned events, to anticipate changing their plans frequently, to take advantage of chance events, and to make the most of what life offers. Krumboltz is faculty at Stanford is one of the most honored and highly respected psychologists in the career development field. ● Schillebeeckx, M.; Maricque, B.; Lewis, C. Nature Biotechnology, 2013, 31, 938–941. ○ Graph of new faculty positions vs new PhDs came from this paper. ● Toor, Rachel “The Art of the Ask”; Chronicle of Higher Ed, Nov 28, 2011 ○ ● Keith Yamamoto (UCSF) talks about careers in the biomedical sciences for grad students and postdocs ○ ● Videos of informational interviews ○ ○ ● Videos from Paths to Pixar ○ ● The Seven Success Stories and Your Forty-Year Vision Exercises ○ ○ The seven stories help you to reflect on past patterns of success, and to see if you can replicate those patterns or circumstances. ○ The 40-year vision helps you to dream of your ideal future, and develop specific goals for you to achieve your dreams ● Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) ○ ○ The MBTI instrument assesses your preferences within four areas: how you relate to people, gather information, make decisions, and interact with the outside world. ○ a free, unofficial version is at: ○ a book to help understand and apply the MBTI: “Please Understand Me II”, by David Keirsey ● StrengthsFinder ○ ○ The Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment identifies your strengths from among 34 themes and within four domains. Purchasing the “Strengths Based Leadership” book will provide background and an access code to take the online assessment.