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How to get help?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:16 pm
by Paul H.
Dear all,

I'm a recent life science PhD, feeling lost as I transition away from grad school.

During the last 2 years I've searched for what to do next. I've no desire for an academic career and am averse to more bench research. I've attended multiple campus career workshops and counselors, did some informational interviews, read widely, and sought advice from friends, family and colleagues. I spoke to my PI, but a lifetime in academia led to a vague yet predictable response.

I "tried on" the usual suspects: consulting, post-doc, writing, business development, industry scientist, etc. This entailed deciding and preparing to pursue each path, but then realizing that based on either my personality or skills they were not for me. It doesn't help that I'm introverted and quiet, and while I enjoy small close-knit teams I prefer to work independently. But I still have no idea what direction to head. As a recent example of my despair, my latest strategy is perusing Indeed without using a single search term. I'm also considering driving for Uber.

I read forums and career advice websites, and while I rarely post, I suspect that such internet interactions are too superficial. I'm in California so the career options should be plentiful, but first I need a direction. So, my question:

Where and how can I get some tailored career guidance? Can recruitment agencies provide this? I'm willing to pay money for good service but am not sure if that would help or even where to find it.

Many thanks in advance.


Re: How to get help?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:33 pm
by Dave Jensen
Hi Paul, there will be a lot of good advice here. Keep reading. You'll get more out of reading the "back issues" of the forum than you would by just scanning Indeed without search terms.

No, recruitment firms will not give you good career advice. This is the time to take charge of your career. You need to tap into whatever passion you had for science in the beginning. Sure, you don't want to do bench work and perhaps you'd be better in a solo role than one involving a lot of interaction with new acquaintances. So, we won't steer you into a sales career. But there are so many skills and abilities you picked up in your studies!

I'd love to exchange emails with you via our private mail system on the forum. Let me know how to reach you and I'll suggest a few directions you might take,

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Re: How to get help?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:19 pm
by Paul H.
Hi all. I guess I need to rephrase my question:

Can people advise on how to get tailored career guidance? Could I benefit from paying a career coach? If so, any advice on how to choose one? If not, are there other suggestions for tailored help?

I have been working on my post-PhD ("alternative") career move for almost 2 years now. I've read much of this forum, run the Science IDP tool a handful of times, seen a university career counselor, etc, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps I'm simply overwhelmed but I still don't see a viable path for me.

What are some activities that can get me out of this rut?


Re: How to get help?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:17 pm
by TFF
I can't really help you with a specific resource, but if one does exist, he or she will ask you at least one of two questions:
1) What drew you to a PhD in your field of choice?
2) What interests you in the world--either within or outside of science/medicine?

I think these are key questions that you should have an answer for before anyone can help you.

Re: How to get help?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:29 am
by PG
If you are able to get just a bit more specific about what it is that you actually want to do I think that you will find that the advice on this forum is at least as good as anything that you can pay for. If you are unable to answer the question about what it is that you want to do it will be complicated to get help from any type of career advisor.

I dont know if a personal coach of some kind can be helpful with determining what it is that you want to do but imagine that this type of coaching is different from what you would receive if you contact a random career coaching company that you find online.