One of my mentors once told me, that to be a productive scientist, the key was to avoid any participation in committees and organizations. This individual is a well respected scientist and a leader in their field so I listened although I fundamentally disagree with this idea. How are you to improve anything if you don’t get involved and have input? It is far easier to stand on the sidelines and complain than roll up your sleeves and join in. I am (like most scientists I think) naturally an introvert and therefore suffer normal anxieties about meeting people.&
I am wondering how many people know the difference between a mentor and a sponsor?
I am sure everyone has heard of mentors, but have you heard of a sponsor (and this isn’t someone who is trying to raise money for a deserving charity!)?
My description of a mentor is someone who teaches or gives help to a less experienced individual. Often we refer to our Dissertation Advisors as our mentors, therefore, indicating that they are our wise advisor steering you towards your doctorate with practiced ease.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog on “Changing Your Name,” and I have been having discussions about this subject ever since!
The odd thing was that, while people considered the issues with identity crisis and confusion over the name change, no-one really considered the amount of effort that goes into a name change. So, I thought I would write a follow up blog on what exactly you would need to change, should you decide to go down this road.
A few weeks ago, I went to a national conference for a new association which I am now a member of. As usual, there was a “newbies” information session which introduces you to the association, their leadership, and hopefully other new individuals who are probably feeling as nervous as you are at being at a new event.
A couple of months ago we decided to put a submission in for an NIH grant. No big deal, I hear you all say. Well, we had decided so late that we only have 17 days to do it!
I was the main writer for the project, and so it fell to me to do some major blue skies, thinking about what we would put in the grant, and then to craft the content. At day 17, I thought it was a lot of work, but was optimistic about the amount of time it would take to put together. After all, I had a number of other documents I could pull from.
Today, I want to discuss something that I think half the population (at least) will never have considered. The other half will probably think about it at some point in their lives. For some, it is an easy decision, while for others (and that includes myself), it is problematic. I am alluding to whether you should change your name or not.
Today I am going to broach a subject which is really quite tricky, and as scientists I am not sure that we are really trained or prepared to do it. My subject today is that we should not take things personally. I know that we have all defended hypotheses in either public or private settings; but how many of us defend our idea due to its merits and not because it is our idea? I am sure most of us say that it is always due to the merits, but is it?
When you saw the title of my post, did you immediately think of negative connotations? Taking responsibility for mistakes is what usually comes to mind. However, I like to think of all the positive outcomes instead. If you become the lead on a project, it is natural to then take on the responsibility for it; whether it is a success or a failure. If you would like the opportunity for reaping the rewards of success, you also need to take the risk that you will take the heat if things go badly.
I haven’t been on Twitter a lot recently, but imagine my surprise when I glanced at my news feed and saw all the scientific bloggers I follow, talking about the same subject. This is unheard of, and they were all very unhappy. They even had a hashtag specifically for it #istandwithDNLee. Clearly, I had missed something and began digging for information.
I would like to share with you some key advice which really helped me before. The first time I heard this phrase, or at least actually took note of it, was a few hours before I gave a presentation. I was (as those of you who follow my blog will be familiar with) a little nervous, to say the least.