A talented postdoc should be able to add their own unique perspective to the research, and they should see their role as an opportunity to be creative and to add value. However, as we plow through CVs and resumes we find applicants who expect a course to be laid out, or a lab to be already established. That’s never the case with a start up. There are so many uncertainties and variables that can lead to failure or bankruptcy. Therefore, finding a postdoc who understands this and can navigate these obstacles is critical.
Budgets can help you understand fixed costs, like salaries and maintenance contracts. However, everyone in science knows that the variable costs associated with research are as predictable as the hypothesis itself. Therefore, to understand what those variables are, and to predict them, requires collecting the financial data associated with the science. It requires us to be able to separate those costs relative to the projects and operations.
Focus your efforts toward being mindful with your decisions on what to act upon. There are always going to be distractions and these distractions can derail the focus toward deep work. It is that deep work that’s important to really develop novel breakthroughs and innovative approaches to your work.
More than 50% of students drop out of STEM programs due to the intense ranking systems. Academic careers are marred by this effect and increasingly hold people in this mindset to feel inadequate until they’ve proven themselves. Most often this train of thought can extend well into their future career.
Your mental energy matters significantly, because knowledge work requires deep concentration and creativity. Many young research scientists struggle with time management, not only as a product of time, but that of mental energy. The cognitive load that one experiences can be tremendous, especially when it comes to intellectual focus and decision making. This is a critical resource that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The results can be catastrophic when we’re deciding whether to invest our time into completing a manuscript or completing another assay. Therefore, we need to make room to reserve our most critical thinking during times where we’re most refreshed and focused.