Step 3: Take time to prepare thoroughly for your
career choice (refine required skills).
Step 4: Get the job and work.
Step 5: Look at the results. Can you do it, and are you
good at it? Do you like it? Regardless of your answers: Congratulations! You know more about yourself now. If you feel
the job doesn’t live up to your expectations, think about the
possible reasons for that and go back to either Step 2 or 3.
Step 6: The final step is to report the results of your career
experiment. Discuss your results with trusted individuals such
as family, friends, peers (in short, “mentors”). Listen to their
thoughts, observations, and feedback.
Do not lose the data from your career experiment. Keep
track of all you do for your career, including self-assessment,
skill strengthening, goal setting, and career exploration
activities. I recommend using any kind of Individual Development Plan (IDP) tool to keep track. There are many templates
for Individual Development Plans available online. However,
I recommend that you, as an undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoctoral scholar in chemistry, check out
ChemIDP.org, a free, online individual development planning
tool developed by chemists for chemists.
Career and life planning is not an easy task and will take
time. Start this process today, and believe in your research
skills that you acquired during your time in graduate school.
They will get you where you want to be.
With best wishes for your personal experiment,
Joerg Schlatterer, Ph. D., is the manager of the ACS Graduate and
Postdoctoral Scholars Office. Prior, he served as a program director
in the NSF Division of Graduate Educa-
tion in Arlington, VA. Joerg received his
Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg.
He loves dancing Argentine Tango,
playing music, and taking long walks
with his wife Sarah. n
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