We’re joined by Chall (@challdreams) who left academia behind as a postdoc and currently a Project Coordinator in pediatric cancer via a job in pharma quality control science.
Getting out of the Gray Zone
We discuss characteristics PhDs have that might lend them or not to careers beyond the bench. Academia is ostensibly creative and measurements do matter, but in pharma or other fields, precision and accuracy of claims made about products matter and quality testing has to occur. Those cannot be in a gray zone, where in academia, that gray zone may be a hint of something.
Similarly, in academia it can be hard to know what your skills are and what value you have. Beyond academia, it becomes necessary to know and assert what you know and the value you bring to a team
Chall talks about her career transitions, realizing that any hobbies she had as a postdoc fell away, only to be regained after leaving academia, being professionally happier, and realizing her value and skills. Having a sense that there is real opportunity beyond academia has also been a confidence booster.
-“Be able to ask someone else, not you, and go through the experiment with you to see if there’s something you can salvage. Get a pep talk and get someone else to evaluate things” – Chall
-“The other thing that makes me more happy professionally is that I see opportunity. Not feeling as unsure now that she’s beyond academia whereas as a postdoc, that was harder.” – Chall
-“Believe in yourself and think that you know it” – Chall
-“There are multiple paths through the maze” – Ian
-“You’re testing and don’t really know what’s going to happen”.- Doctor_PMS
Mentioned in the show:
Chall’s post on getting promoted and the difference between contentment and complacency.
PhDs in microbiology have wide applicability: sterility and environmental quality monitoring, food production, making beer, and more.