Behaviors that will get you off the bench

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Behaviors that will get you off the bench

Postby Dustin Levy » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:32 pm

Over the years, I’ve met many scientists who have a desire to move away from the lab bench, but consistently exhibit behaviors that are destined to keep them there. The following is an example that I use to illustrate behaviors that are likely to keep one in their present bench role, versus others that will get them recognized to be leadership and management material.

Consider a scenario where your manager puts a journal article on your desk with a note saying, “please read, need to discuss first thing tomorrow”. You find this note about 30 minutes before lunch and your afternoon is booked solid. About an hour before, you agreed to have lunch with a business development manager to discuss your thoughts on a potential opportunity they’ve just uncovered with a prospective customer. A quick scan of the article reveals it to be about a 90-minute effort.

You have two options. You can cancel the lunch meeting and spend that time reading the article to prep for tomorrow’s discussion, or you can keep the meeting and read the article after normal work hours instead. If you choose to cancel the meeting, you are behaving in a manner that is more likely to keep you on the bench. Should you be considered for a future leadership role in R&D, or pursue an opportunity outside of R&D, your peers from other functions will be assessing how much value you’ve added to them during your tenure as an R&D contributor. A behavior such as the above would be an example of you missing an opportunity to add such value and creating an image that adding such value is not a priority to you.

If you keep the lunch meeting and work the extra hours, don’t expect any immediate rewards, but others will notice these behaviors if you maintain them consistently over time and you’ll earn a very positive reputation as a value adder to others outside of your primary area of responsibility. That will set you up nicely for a promotion off of the bench when the opportunity arises. A bit of sacrifice in the short term for the potential of a greater return in the long term.
User avatar
Dustin Levy
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:33 am
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA

Re: Behaviors that will get you off the bench

Postby Dick Woodward » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:53 pm


Very well put (as is typical of your posts). Thanks for your continuing contributions to the forum.

User avatar
Dick Woodward
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: David Lathbury and 20 guests