Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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Developing career resilience

3.1 Resilience in science

What kind of resilient responses do individuals make? The article below gives examples on moving between different types of roles, specialist and generalist, in science.

Specialist or technical roles (those requiring specific qualifications such as nursing, engineering, computer programming) and generalist roles (such as customer handling, office administration and management) are sometimes difficult to distinguish. In some sectors there is also an expectation that a management role will require some specialist expertise.

As employers seek a more flexible workforce, the expectation that an individual can move confidently between specialist and generalist roles is increasing. The following article by Peter Fiske illustrates this point for careers in science.

Activity 5 Lessons from science for non-scientists

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Part 1

Read the article Peter Fiske, ‘Career resilience’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and consider the questions that follow.

  1. How does Peter Fiske describe the ‘traditional’ career path for scientists, as taken by his father?
  2. What strategy does Fiske suggest that today’s scientists adopt to develop their careers?
  3. What approaches does Fiske suggest that specialists now need to adopt to develop career resilience?
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  1. The traditional science career is described as ‘I’ shaped, requiring deep, specialist knowledge.
  2. The ‘T’-shaped strategy for today’s scientists requires both specialist knowledge and a broader, interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and skills.
  3. Networking, broadening experience away from the lab, recognising the value of the experience you have, problem solving and connecting with a wide variety of professionals in other areas are all strategies that support modern science careers.

Part 2

And what about you? Below are some of the suggestions from the article. Which suggestions might take you into new areas? What one action could you take to start ‘capping your T’ this week?

  • Broaden your experience by some work in a new environment
  • Broaden your network in a related area
  • Give more credit to the expertise you have already
  • Dabble in a range of activities
  • Seek advice from someone who does this better than you

Note your thoughts and planned action in your notebook or toolkit.

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As your answer to this question will be personal/only applicable to your own circumstances, there is no discussion for this question.

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