Career Paths



Find your Passion

Having talked with many life science employers and many scientist candidates for their jobs over the past five years, one overarching theme for successful candidates has come to mind. The most attractive candidates are those who have done the deep search to figure out what their “second passion”...


Reineke Pohlhaus

Science Policy: What is it?

Science policy is one of those “alternative” careers for scientists, but what is it really?  In its most simplistic sense, it is the policy around science, much the same way we think of business policy, education policy, or housing policy.  But there are also complex meanings to...


Ex Lab

How to Sabotage Your Promotion in Ten Easy Steps

After two-and-a-half years in my current government position, I have been offered and accepted higher-level acting positions, filled in temporary departmental gaps, and received the accompanying higher-level pay. Others at work, with similar or more job experience, have not been given the same...



The Great Wall of Experience

As a number of the bloggers here have noticed, one of the biggest obstacles that postdocs face in moving into the commercial world is the dreaded “3-5 years of business experience” requirement seen in so many ads.  Many times, it seems as if there are no entry-level positions at all!&nb...



Political activities as a post-doc in the government

With the November elections coming up, I began thinking about how “political” you can get while doing a post-doc in the government. In grad school, I was surrounded by classmates who carpooled to New Hampshire on the weekends to do door-to-door campaigning for Obama. I have many friends who ...



Help Me Help You on the Job Hunt

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking on another little “project” at work. This one won’t involve pipettes, chemicals, or the lab bench. Instead, it’ll be me, my reading glasses, a few labmates, and piles of resumes (and CVs). A great co-worker recently left the lab for greener pastu...



Who is the Boss? Part 2

Last time I wrote about the boss and how to be a great one.  This time, I’d like to write about the qualities to look for in a boss based on my previous experiences.  Sometimes I think I’m too subjective about these things but, interestingly enough, when I read articles about great ...



Five cons for doing a post-doc in the government

My previous post included five good reasons for doing a post-doc in the government. It seems only fair that I now list five “cons”:


A decision I never regretted

Hello again! Last time, I left myself in the middle of the forest with a biochem degree and a year of forestry expertise. At that time, I was able to look at and smell a piece of wood and from the grain, texture and scent determine the species of tree from which the wood originated!! Technically...



How I got into freelance writing: An unintended consequence?

We've all been there. It's Sunday afternoon and the feeling of dread hits. Tomorrow is Monday and it's the start of another work week. I'd been working at a medical communications agency for about 3 years doing medical writing and publication planning. I was their one and only in-house PhD. It s...