As I embark on the final quarter of my graduate career, I am often filled with a sense of uncertainty. Let me explain. My original goal was to return to graduate school in order to obtain a strong scientific foundation for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
My plan was thus:
- Get a PhD
- Get a job in Pharma
- Work with other scientists to develop new drugs
- Save the world
However, I’ve had several bouts of doubt. I’m not sure this is what I want to do anymore. I’m not sure this plan aligns with what I really want to do for the rest of my life. As usual, I have decided to go about this by assessing my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
So I said to myself: “Self, if only there was some cosmo type quiz I can take to determine what type of career I would be good at based on my likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses”…
My IDP was modeled after the employee career development concept used in industry. It expands upon a structure proposed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) for postdocs in 2003.
Did it help me?
Honestly, the first time I took it, I just breezed through it. I gave myself a lot of 5s: “highly proficient” on the skills assessment (self-love much?). Then I went back, and really thought through each question and answered truthfully.
The quiz is divided into 3 sections
Skills: here you rank your skills on a scale of 1(highly deficient) to 5(highly proficient)
Some things that rank for me at :
1,2 :Writing grant proposals and statistical analysis
4,5: Technical skills related to my specific research area, experimental design
Interests: Ranking from 1: (never do in my career) to 5(do often in my career)
1,2: Analyzing financial budgets and assessing business trends
4,5: Learning how to use new equipment and techniques and planning new scientific projects or developing new research directions
Values: Ranking from 1(unimportant) to 5 (essential)
1,2: Work alone and work in a low pressure environment
4,5: Help society, competition, job security and family friendly
Based on my answers, my top 3 career path matches were:
- Product development scientist or engineer
- Scientific/medical testing
- Drug/device approval and production
Funny enough, “research in industry” ranks much lower on the list based on my skills and interests than i expected. Not surprisingly, principal investigator and research staff in a research-intensive institution rank even lower.
What I really like about this assessment:
- It gives you a framework to work with.
- It really does take into account your skills and interests.
- It links you to information about careers based on your answers.
- It shows you your strengths and weaknesses and offers advice on how to improve on the weaknesses.
- You can download blank assessments and discuss them with your P.I (Ahmazing!).
Has anyone taken it? Did you find it helpful? I would especially love to hear from recent graduates who have gone on to careers in different fields.
PS: My opinions were not influenced by anyone directly associated with MyIDP. It was initially introduced to me by a friend and then again at a conference.