When I started contributing this blog a few months ago, I did what was intended to be a one-time Google search to see what bloggers were offering regarding career advice. I was astonished by the fact that there were over 1 million hits on “career advice blogs” and nearly 8 million hits on “career advice,” but I was and continue to be surprised by the fact that among the great heaps of drivel – “get a job that you like,” offered one oh-too-serious blogger; “remember to dress for success,” offered another – there are a few nuggets that I found. I thought I’d pass along some of my favorites.
Monster.com’s career advice blog (http://monster.typepad.com/) is generally excellent, as you might expect from the Web’s leading job search Web site. One recent entry (July 11, 2008), “The Right Way to Leave a Job,” struck a cord because of this sentence:
“The way you leave a company says as much about your caracter and the kind of employee you are than all of the work you did during your time with the organization.”
If you’ve ever been to a networking type function and find that the next day you can’t remember if Bob from DuPont was the guy who liked to fish or if was Linda from Dow, the May 22 entry on the same blog offers some great advice that I’m going to use in the future.
Never having had a pointy-haired boss, I sometimes find Dilbert a little unbelievable, but Scott Adams offered some great career advice on the Dilbert blog last June (http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/career-advice.html). In particular, this nugget stayed with me:
“If you want an average successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.”
For me, I was better than most people at learning and understanding science (but not at working in the lab) and at writing. What are your two great skills and how can you use them to craft an interesting and rewarding career?
For the ultra-competitive among you, the Brazen Careerist blog offers this tongue-in-cheek advice (http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2006/06/13/improve-your-career-by-moving-the-candy-dish/):
“Now you can blame your co-worker for your tanking career and science will support you: A candy dish at work can make you fat. But a candy dish that is more than 6 1/2 feet away from you will be less tempting. Measure your co-worker’s dish. If it’s too close, move it every morning before she gets in. She’ll never notice.”
And finally, I’d like to point you to a new blog that I stumbled on recently. The Alternative Scientist blog (http://alternative-scientist.blogspot.com/) discusses alternative and mainline career options for scientists. The July 20 posting, for example, presents a great description of the types of jobs available in the pharmaceutical industry, while the July 15 posting talks about the basic of networking, a foreign concept to many of us. Check it out.
This article was written by Joe Alper, a freelance science writer, technology analyst, and admitted hardcore Web searcher in Louisville, CO.
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