A PI’s job is more than just training researchers; it’s to help scientists become more developed, happier people, says Brian Schmidt.
This is Brian Schmidt’s opening statement in this podcast. He’s concerned for the students.
Many young researchers feel that after having done the PhD training only sets them up for a career in academia. Schmidt likes to think otherwise. A PhD in science sets you up for more than just a career in academia, it sets you up for a career in anything.
In this podcast he talks about his own career, and how he almost left research and might have missed out on being part of the team that discovered the expansion of the universe was accelerating! The lessons he learned from this experience are now ones he shares with his own students and postdoc researchers. And now, also with you.
Here’s a list of some of the key lessons that he touches on in our conversation:
- Scientific training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels is interesting, you learn interesting things to do an interesting thing of some description.
- Research is a great job, but not the only job. Every job is interesting if you make it interesting.
- Be open: There are many ways to apply what you learn in academia to other jobs.
- Revel in the moment: Don’t chase uncertainty
- Do the best you can
- Take time to self-reflect: consider what you enjoy doing, what you’d be willing to sacrifice to do this job.
- Talk to supervisors and other scientists to find out what they’ve done, whether in academia or outside of it.
- Proactive, eager to learn, motivated, driven, enthusiastic and balanced people make good scientists.
- DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
This last message is one that I want to stress too. If you’re not happy with what you spend the majority of your life doing (those careers we keep talking about), it will begin to affect other parts of your life. And any career is just not worth sacrificing your happiness for.