• Question: When you started your job did you immediately feel like that job was the one for you?

    Asked by deboii22 to David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ryan, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Lorena, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis, Aina on 12 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by josh183.
    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      My job has evolved to my interests. I wanted to be a doctor, but then I specialised in children as that was what I enjoyed, and have developed my research interest to involve my interest in hormones and bone health.

    • Photo: Shonna Johnston

      Shonna Johnston answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I knew I enjoyed my job pretty early on. I got to go to Belgium for training which was quite exciting. Within in a few months I was already becoming a specialist in the technology and really liked helping the users improve their experiments. My previous job and experience did help and my confidence just grew. I still find the field interesting and enjoy being involved in and going to conferences to learn new techniques and develop my understanding.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      When I started my job after my PhD I felt a bit overwhelmed. It is in a completely different area to what I had studied previously and I didn’t really know anything. My colleagues were lovely and helped me out and after a few months I began to feel like I had come to the right place!

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Not at all – when I first started surgical training in 2013 I found it really tough. I had a week of nights dealing with emergencies. Luckily the team around me were great and helped me out a lot with teaching and support.

      This feeling of being not very good and out of place also hit me when I started my PhD a few years later but I’d gained a bit of perspective and reminded myself I was there to learn. Yet again, friends and colleagues in the lab have been amazing and showed me the ropes.

      I pretty quickly realised with both that it was what I wanted to do and I loved it!

      Having a ‘growth mindset’ and willingness to learn is key in science (and medicine too) and a good support network is essential.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I started my job as a post-doctoral researcher in 2015, doing something quite different to what I had been doing in my PhD so, I didn’t immediately like it. It took some time getting used to, both in terms of the people I was working with and the work I was leading. I did use my skills I had learned throughout my PhD to get used to it quickly and started enjoying it properly after a while. But, my interests are constantly evolving, still within the same rough field of interest so I keep pushing myself to make my job more diverse and grow with me as my interests seek to find answers to other scientific questions.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I worried when I first started my PhD I worried that I’d made a huge mistake! The way of working was completely different to anything I’d experienced before. You have a lot of freedom which can be scary if you’re used to timetabled lectures or a job with set hours and set tasks. But change is good and you can adapt to it and end up learning more. It didn’t take long for me to start really enjoying my PhD. 🙂

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      No, but I’ve been lucky with most of the jobs I’ve done that I’ve had the freedom to explore the areas or questions of science that I found interesting.
      Some jobs I’ve done have not panned out how i expected as i came to realise how my career, if i stayed, would progress.

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      It took me a little time to settle in to being a new doctor – it is a lot of responsibility and can be quite stressful at times – especially when you are just starting out. With the help of the staff nurses and my colleagues however, I soon settled in and started to enjoy it and found it was very rewarding. Whenever I feel I need a new challenge or change, I have tried something new – either changing fields within medicine, or doing different research. I think that variety and challenge is what I like about medicine and scientific research. It sometimes takes time to settle in to a new job, but after a few days, it has felt as it was the right choice for me!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 13 Jun 2019: last edited 13 Jun 2019 9:37 pm


      I’ve had lots of different jobs and I think it’s fair to say that ‘day one’ was always tricky – being in a new place, with new people was often very daunting, but generally I was ‘learning on the job’ and with the right support I always felt I was progressing as a scientist and a clinician. My interests have evolved over time, but I always knew I would end up working on the brain, and I’m very lucky to be able to do this in both a basic science (neural circadian biology) and clinical (neurology/neurosurgery) setting – I love the exchange of ideas that happens between these two worlds which, at first glance, might seem completely separate, but are actually fundamentally interwoven.

      In my current job I am surrounded by exceptionally bright people (12 Nobel Prize winners have worked at my institute https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/achievements/lmb-nobel-prizes/), but at the end of the day, we are all human with different strengths and weaknesses – I have a very different skill set to most molecular biologists but that’s the beauty of collaboration in science! No one can be an expert in everything, to answer the most complex questions in science it takes a lot of people with different talents all working together for a common purpose – and I don’t just mean the scientists. So, even if you try a laboratory/research-based job and you find you don’t like it, don’t give up on science – there are plenty of jobs in this sector that don’t involve working in a lab!

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      Not at first. In my first ever role as a scientist, It was quite a nervous and slightly scary feeling being left on my own with work that quite literally could save someone’s life or even kill them!

      But as you get more experience you gain your confidence. and it feels much better. My interests have developed over time, and so I have changed roles a few times. Each time is the same sort of feeling, but less and less.

      With my current role, I have to say, I have enjoyed it immensely from day 1, but as a scientist, we always want to ask and learn more, so our jobs never stop changing in a way

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      This is interesting because I suppose people dream of a job that will make them totally happy always, and the reality is that it can be disappointing when a job doesn’t meet all those expectations. I knew I wanted to do Medicine because of my desire to help people/have the knowledge to help anyone anywhere. So, when I started as a junior doctor it was a bit of a shock to the system to realise that I was mainly doing note-taking for the senior doctors rather than ‘really helping’ and could not see that I was making a difference. It was only when a patient’s family thanked me for taking the time to explain some options that were discussed during a ward round, that I realised that even I in my small way could make a difference! That’s really when I knew I loved what I was doing. When I joined Paediatrics, I immediately felt in my comfort zone, treating kids and trying to find creative ways to get children to understand the cause of their illness. It’s definitely not all rosey, there are plenty of challenges and difficult shifts, but I accept all these because the positives feel even more glorious as a result! I guess my point here is to go into a job with the expectation that there will be plenty of challenges and hard days, but these only help improve your own way of working, and look out for the people who are there to support you to overcome the challenges (and hang on to them)!

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