Scientists who engage in policy-relevant research yearn to make our results, knowledge, and ideas useful to decision-makers. More and more scientists are talking directly with stakeholders, policy makers and the public face-to-face and via the internet, both formally and informally. At the same time, many of us are employed by universities, and our jobs are stabilized through a merit-based tenure system. This can create daily pressures that add up to annual requirements and ultimately help give shape to whole careers. Given the realities of what scientific institutions require of their scientists, where does societal engagement fit in?