Job Interview Questions

When I was first interviewing for jobs I got the question “what are your career goals?”  The question was something I had given a lot of thought to but I’d never actually transferred these ideas into an interview appropriate answer before.  I muddled through that interview, but I realized I could do much better if I forced myself to put my thoughts into actual words, so I started preparing for interviews by writing down potential interview questions and answers.  I think this has helped to make me more clear and succinct (when I’m nervous I tend to ramble) and I like that I get the chance to review what I said for previous interviews.

Recently, a lot of my friends and family have been applying to new jobs/promotions and I’ve been running practice interviews with them.  It feels good to have another use for all the research I put into finding/coming up with/remembering potential interview questions, so I’ve decided to also compile them here for our readers.  Please feel free to comment with any other questions you’ve come across.

Two general thoughts on interviewing…

  • Make your answers short and specific.
  • Keep things positive, if you want to highlight aspects that you didn’t like, try to put a positive spin on things, eg show how would improve things.

Best of luck to all the job applicants out there, I hope this helps!

Questions

– Tell me about yourself/how would you describe yourself?  This should be geared toward the job you are applying for not a general introduction.

– Tell me about your experience at ____ prior company/lab___.

– What did you like about ______ prior company/lab___?

– What do you wish was different about ___ prior company/lab___?

– Why do you want to leave your current position?

– What do you know about this position/company?

– What techniques/methods are you accustomed to using?

– What is your work style/how do you like to approach your work?

– What are your top 3 strengths/weaknesses?  Make sure to tailor this to the position.  If it was a R&D job I might feel ok mentioning that I get nervous talking in front of crowds (true) but if I was going for a science liaison position I would probably choose something else.

– Why are you interested in this job/company/institution?

– What are your expectations for this job/company?

– What is your management style/how do you like to be managed?

– Tell me about how you like to interact with your lab mates.

– How do you deal with conflict?

– What do you bring to this job/company?  This is an awesome opportunity to brag and really highlight why you should get the job

– Describe a setback and how you overcame it.

– Describe a conflict and how you overcame it.

– Describe a time you were working under pressure to get a project completed.

– Describe a mistake and what you did to correct it.

– Give an example of when you used scientific problem solving/a creative scientific approach to solve a problem.

– What motivates you scientifically?

– What are your career goals?

– Why are you leaving academia?

– What are your hobbies?

– Do you have any questions for me/us? You will probably use some up during the course of the conversation, so have a bunch.

– Do you have any concerns for us?

– How much do you want to make? I hate this one… I always try to say something like; I’m excited about this position and I would just like to be appropriately compensated. Ugh.

 

 

 

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Cherries and cherry pits

For a long time, I was looking for a job. This was my vague list of demands:

Use my scientific knowledge

Use my critical thinking skills

Participate in goal-driven work

Good boss

Good team

As a medical policy research analyst, my demands have been met. My job is to analyze medical research and write policies for a health insurance company. Now, every day, I use my scientific knowledge for a specific goal. I read, critique, and interpret medical studies. I use my critical thinking skills to decide whether the evidence supports a medical procedure. I have a manager and a team I can talk to and get help from. Everyone is helpful and understanding.

Medical policy is quite different than anything I have done before, but it is not unfamiliar. When prepared for my interview, I told myself that I had done this before. I told myself how I had made decisions based on evidence in the lab and how that prepared me to make policy decisions. I made myself sound very convincing, but I wasn’t sure how true it was.

It is pretty true. Critical thinking is critical thinking and evidence is evidence. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to learn. I need to learn what aspects of a study are the important ones. I need to learn how much evidence is “enough evidence.” But the basics of looking at evidence and making decisions? I have that.

So all that to say, while this job is different, it is also not so different. I will continue to do my job and to to learn. I will learn and grow and work and learn. And someday I will have a whole new set of skills and a new vague list of demands.

Posted in alternative career, dream job, Leaving Academia | Leave a comment

A day in the life of – a senior postdoc

Bananaroots is in her second postdoctoral position at a research institute in the UK, after completing her first postdoc at a major university in the Netherlands. She has a long-standing interest in plant diseases and a soft spot for bananas. She is curious about everything related to communication and is active in student mentoring, science outreach, science policy and science communication. In her free time, she enjoys Tai Chi, water sports cooking and traveling. Check out her short video about her project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMS0L7Y56K4

 

I am not yet a group leader, but almost. All the signs point in the right direction. I have secured my own funding – a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Union. I have independently established my research line: Engineering resistance against Fusarium wilt in banana. I work in one of the world’s leading institutes on plant microbe interactions – The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in the UK. I write grant proposal and papers and I supervise a fantastic, small team of MSc students. My group leader is very supportive. He gives me all the freedom I need to conduct research, establish collaborations and lead my projects. Sometimes people want to do a PhD or postdoc with me. Unfortunately, I cannot accept any postdocs or PhDs until I have secured more funding and a more permanent position. So, that’s where I am at the moment. On the verge of my own research group.

So, what does a typical day in the life of a senior postdoc?

6 am I wake up, get into my running outfit and do a quick run in the park followed by a bit of stretching and Tai Chi. It’s quiet in the park at this time and the morning sun blinks lazily through the big, white clouds.

7.30 am Scrolling through Twitter at breakfast. I am active in science outreach and Twitter is my preferred medium. Get dressed and cycle to work.

9 am Checking my emails. Oh no! My banana shipment did not pass clearance at the airport. Working with bananas in the UK is not easy. At the beginning of my postdoc at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), I established a collaboration with a nursery in Israel. They provide tissue culture banana plantlets free of charge. It’s a great collaboration, but today something went wrong. A document is missing. The shipment cannot be cleared at the airport’s agricultural inspection. I spend the next two hours emailing and phoning with our biosecurity officer, the courier, clearance at the airport and the nursery in Israel to get the banana plantlets released from the airport.

11 am One of my graduate students has been lurking around my office for a while and finally grasps her chance to get my attention. She is doing a MSc in plant breeding and genetics and wants to discuss her thesis draft with me. Working with students is one of my favourites. It’s like planting a flower and then watching it grow and blossom. Highly rewarding!

12 Time for lunch. I enjoy chatting with the colleagues of my group. They work on a different project together and also sit in another office.

12.30 pm Quick Twitter check. GM activists (both Pro and Con) debate the field trials for a Vitamin A-enriched banana (Golden Banana) in Uganda.

12.45 pm Time for lab work, I am preparing a big banana greenhouse bioassay for tomorrow. I harvest the fungal spores and bacteria and transport the banana plants from the clean chamber into the infection chamber.

2.45 pm On the way from the lab to the office, I run into a postdoc from another research group. We are organising a workshop in communication together for the institute’s postdoc and quickly discuss catering and location.

3 pm Telephone conference with the steering committee members of the World Banana Forum (WBF). The WBF is a permanent platform for stakeholders of the global banana supply chain, housed by the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation. Policy work is very different from the fact-based research environment. The goal of today’s call with representatives of labour unions, NGOs, governments, producer organisations and retailers is to organize the third global banana conference in Switzerland this year. The call is scheduled for one hour, but, as usual, overruns and lasts almost two hours.

5 pm Catching up with emails. I answer questions of my grad students, order materials for experiments, update collaborators and ask for biological material to be send.

6 pm Finally, make it to the new emails. Good and bad news: My pre-proposal for a huge grant did not make it to the next round. I am not invited to submit a full proposal. Sad. It took a lot of time to prepare the pre-proposal. The good news: my abstract was selected for a talk at a scientific conference in September.

6.15 pm Admin stuff: I hand in my expenses, book flight tickets for the conference and write up my lab journal. We have recently switched to electronic lab journals. Electronic lab journals are awesome. I can quickly check and sign off my student’s lab journals, add PubMed references and large Excel files, share pages and projects with colleagues and when I leave, I will make a pdf of the journal and take it with me.

7.15 pm I get onto my bike and cycle home.

7.30 pm. Since I moved to England, I got into gardening. Tonight, I pick courgettes from my garden to cook a light dinner.

8 pm Last email check to make sure that the banana plantlets have left the airport and are on their way to TSL.

8.10 pm The rest of the evening is devoted to my project management assignment. The assignment is for a “Leadership and Management” course that runs over two years. Although it is a lot of work next to my postdoc, I enjoy the course a lot, because it provides new perspectives on communication, on managing research projects, motivating people, handling budget and leading a team/research group. The video is the result of my project management module.

 

 Twitter: @BananarootsBlog

Website: https://bananaroots.wordpress.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMS0L7Y56K4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feedback on job applications

My partner and I applied separately for a number of Assistant Professor positions last year. We both had varying degrees of success at different institutions that really showed us where we stood in terms of what kinds of institutions were interested in us and also relative to other applicants. One thing that really solidified our understanding of our competitiveness was valuable feedback we each got from one person on a search committee.

Let me start by saying that, at least in this field, it is exceedingly rare to get feedback on your job applications. The couple of times before this I have gotten to any stage in the application process where I can communicate with people on the search committee, i.e. phone or video interview, I asked for feedback when I heard I didn’t get the position/interview, but never heard back on that request. So for each of us to have actually received feedback is amazing.

For me, the feedback came from a thoughtful search/department chair who knew how rare it was to receive feedback in the harrowing and opaque job search process, and made a point to reach out to tell me what happened with the search. In short, I was in the top four candidates after the phone interview, but they later ruled me out because my research methods overlapped more with existing faculty in the department than did other top candidates. This was such a relief for me to hear because it told me that it was essentially beyond my control* and that another similar position/department at another time could very likely lead to a good match, as I was one of the top candidates here.

That information, combined with my phone/video interviews and other non-offers told me that 1) My paper application is good overall – good enough to get phone interviews; 2) My interview skills are probably fine – good enough to potentially get me an offer; 3) It will need to be the right place at the right time, and since I’m picky about geography, it might not happen in a given year; and 4) This is all true for small liberal arts colleges – I didn’t get anywhere with the state schools or a couple more research-focused positions I applied to**.

The feedback my partner got was potentially even more valuable, in that it was thorough constructive criticism. This came from someone on the search committee at a place Partner did not get an interview offer, but the person was a friend and colleague of mine who has always been an amazing resource, going above and beyond to help. Unsolicited, she related some of the concerns that were raised about Partner’s research program and what was missing from a critical recommendation letter. She made the point that these issues may not be concerns at all at other institutions*, but it is still really valuable to know and consider that for future applications. She also noted the huge number of qualified candidates that applied for the job, which is always bittersweet to hear.

So we are both extremely grateful for the candid feedback and advice we received and can take into consideration for the future… and in the meantime, I have already paid it forward, giving feedback to applicants for a position in my lab. I am hopeful that more people will help each other out like this in the future – I know I will whenever I am in the position to do so!


*Although it is important to consider how your research fits in with existing research in the department, it is usually impossible to know exactly what the department is seeking. Typically small departments want a diverse array of research programs, especially if undergraduate research opportunities are an emphasis, while larger departments with a graduate program might be more interested in strengthening existing areas of research with more similar but complementary topics/techniques. It is possible to tailor research plans to fit one of these ideas, but you can’t know for sure which is more appealing for any given department/reviewer, so I usually try to keep my research plan with what I really want to do that fits that institution.

**This is because my experience makes me a good match for a small liberal arts college, not because, as some believe, it is a lower tier than a research-focused university, etc. Each type of position/institution is different, looks for different qualities in candidates, and one shouldn’t be thought of as a ‘backup’ if you can’t land your first choice.

Posted in academia, advice, early career scientist, finishing postdoctoral training, gratitude, Interview, job search, lack of jobs, mentoring, postdoc, strengths and weaknesses, support | Leave a comment

Getting over burnout

The month of May in the Northwest is lovely. So when the days became clear and warm I began taking my book and my food to a sunny spot outside. For a short time, I would escape my world, avoiding data, obligations, and the lab, and be transported to another world.

One day, an acquaintance was sitting in my sunny spot. So I set aside my book to chat. After initial hello’s we moved on to work talk. This acquaintance and I knew vaguely what each other do and our career stages, but our knowledge was shallow. The kind of knowledge you gain with brief hellos in passing.

He told me a little about his work as a pathologist. Then he asked me how things were going for me. “Fine,” I said, not able to muster the enthusiasm to elaborate. He sensed the burnout immediately.

While I love science and would not have said I disliked what I was working on in lab, I did not feel good about the direction my career was going and I was not sure that I was going to be able to know which way to steer it or how. For so long I thought and thought about how to make my career work for me. I talked to people and I tried to imagine a world where I was happy with my job.

I was trying to pick the perfect job and just didn’t know how. How do you know what job is going to be interesting, stimulating, enjoyable, and attainable? Despite not knowing what I wanted to do, I felt like a failure for not having moved on, for not finding that fit yet.

And then finally my networking paid off. A connection I made through a connection of a connection had a job opening in her group. A job I thought might be interesting and in town and with good work-life balance!

And an application turned into an interview turned into another interview and then waiting.

The waiting was so painful. It was a roller coaster of emotion. The waiting went on so long that most people gave up asking. I almost gave up hoping.

And then finally, one day, the phone rang. I was nervous so I let it go to voicemail. The recruiter asked me to call back. When I got her on the phone, she matter-of-factly offered me the job! It felt unreal. It still feels unreal. Years of waiting, for things to turn around in a matter of minutes.

I will post about the actual job another day. One month in, I do enjoy it. It is very different from academia, but I use many skills I gained there.

I feel incredibly lucky. I know I put in a lot of work, but it still feels amazing that this worked out. It feels like if the wind had blown the other way I would still be on the job hunt.

Before this, I kept hearing stories of people getting jobs. It felt like it should happen for me but at the same time like it couldn’t. I’m smart, I’m qualified, but still it felt unattainable. The applications with no replies piled up. I only actually had two unsuccessful rounds of interviews, but it was enough to make me feel like I was not good enough at interviewing to get a job.

So what I have to say to you, job seeker, at this moment of my success, is have patience. Keep talking to people. You think you’ve met everyone, but you haven’t. You may think that because networking hasn’t helped you yet so it won’t, but that’s not how it works. Keep at it. Because, just like in the stories I had been hearing, persistence paid off for me.

 

Posted in advice, alternative career, dream job, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“So, what do you actually do?”

Since leaving “the bench” I get a lot of questions about my work. I’ve written about my fellowship with Mozilla Science here before – the work is outside what I imagined for my career path, and very different from what I did during my nine years of bench work. I work on projects that advance open science. But the term “open science” doesn’t mean much without context. So, what do I actually do?

Open science means different things to different people. It’s an umbrella term that encompass a bunch of other ideas, research practices, and movements. To me, advocating for open science practices working to increase the transparency of science and people’s access to science.

Wright_Robinson_DLF_2017_June_14.pptx

Under the umbrella: Open science includes using open source software or other tools that make research more transparent and reproducible. It includes creating inclusive environments and working to address equity and inclusion in the profession of science. Open science means sharing your work in a way where it can reach people, including sharing preprints of publications, posting data to data repositories, and sharing code (example of code and data shared together here).  Citizen science — when research is conducted with the participation of the public — is open science. Engaging in public communication about science and the creation of open educational resources can empower the public with a better understanding of what we do, and can begin to address equity and inclusion when diverse audiences are on consulted and considered. Open science encourages publishing in journals that are freely accessible to all, so anyone can read your work. Open access publishing enables access to knowledge and helps to dismantle the systemic gate-keeping has that has  disenfranchised scholars from communities and regions of the world, for too long.

Importantly, you don’t have to be already doing all these things to be an open science advocate in your field on at your institution. Some institutional IP policies restrict open source software development.Grad students often don’t get to pick where they publish, and supervisors often push for prestigious, pay-walled journals.  Resistance to preprints remains, though that’s changing. (If you can’t publish preprints of your work, you could start a preprint journal club to send authors feedback during the publication process.) Through my fellowship with Mozilla Science, I’ve trained people in how to use open source software, developed curriculum, discussed policy around open access and data sharing at institutions, and tried to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations about where science is now and where we want it to go.

So, what do I actually do?

My fellowship team is distributed, so we travel once a quarter to work together. These work-weeks are both an opportunity to work in the same room, and a chance to engage with the community where ever we are. I just got back from a trip to South Africa, which is the last big trip I’ll do as a fellow. On this trip, the 2016 Mozilla Fellows for Science and Mozilla Science lab joined Mozilla Science staff and special guests Chicago Hive’s Kenyatta Forbes and new Kent State faculty and 2015 fellowship alum Christie Bahlai! Together, we are research scientists, data scientists, community managers, and advocates for open scholarship practices. We gathered for a week of discussion, workshops, and exploration in Cape Town, South Africa where we were graciously hosted by Spin Street House, an inspiring co-working space in downtown Cape Town. I’ll break down this trip as a week-in-the-life of a Mozilla Science fellow and open science advocate.

Travel: Cape Town is about as far from the West Coast of the USA as you can possibly get, so I’ll skip the part where I flew for over 24 hours to get to Cape Town. Teon and I arrived a little early and prioritized finding the best coffee in Cape Town.

 

Monday: On Monday, I woke up in Cape Town after spending Sunday hanging out with my fellow-fellows Teon Brooks, PhD and Bruno Vieira. We’d checked out the Etherpad, which is an collaboratively editable document where we work out the schedule for the events and activities, to prep for the week. We pinged the people we knew in town and made some last minute invites to our event on Thursday and Friday.  I had a few people I was hoping to connect with. One was Jeremiah Pieterson, a librarian at University of Cape Town and an advocate for open access to scholarly work with SPARC Africa, who I met in 2015 at OpenCon in Brussels. And another was Mmaki Jantjies, scholar, advocate for women and girls, writer, and Head of the Department of Information Systems at the University of the Western Cape.

We started the week with coffee and an introduction to Kenyatta Forbes. Kenyatta is the Community Manager at Hive Chicago and, like, so so much more… more here, here, and here. She joined us in South Africa to learn about our curriculum and process, and we were excited to have her there to learn from her and gain her perspective on our challenges. Although we need community buy-in to accomplish anything in academia – whether it’s launching a new course, to changing a policy, to challenging the status-quo – we don’t often learn the skills that can help get things done. One spectacular thing about this fellowship has been the emphasis on community. Working with Kenyatta for a week, I learned tools and exercises from her that’ll help me better document what’s happening and be constructively critical of my vision for community in open science.

Tuesday: Funding is on everyone’s mind. There have been eight Mozilla fellows so far, and of them three have stayed (or will stay) in academia. While the five that are no longer in academia aren’t applying for research grants, most of us are still engaged in the non-profit world to some degree. On Tuesday we devoted time to discussing the funding landscape for nonprofits, the pros and cons of becoming and nonprofit, and where our projects might fit into the landscape. Well truthfully, as the fellowship as almost over, this conversation started on Sunday as soon as we’d had coffee and continued for the entire week. Looking for funding is like dating? Or is it like applying for a job? How do you network, when you’re a little bit desperate, without appearing desperate? We tossed around a lot of metaphors and ideas, but my fellow-fellow Kirstie said it best when she commented “The most important principle is to look for connections you can build between people, rather than looking for stuff for yourself.”

Wednesday: This was a ten month fellowship. At the beginning of a ten month fellowship, it seems long enough to accomplish almost anything. At the end, it seems like it was barely enough time to start. On Wednesday we worked on our talks for Thursday evening’s event, spent time to document our fellowship projects, and discussed ways of communicating our work. To this end, we worked on resumes of all our fellowship projects and events – check out my fellowship resume (I am inordinately proud of the emojis).

Thursday: We took a half a day off to visit Robben Island, but the ferry was not running due to rough weather. We opted to tour around Cape Town instead!

We then returned to Spin Street House to prep for the Working Open Workshop (WOW). The workshop sessions on Friday are designed to help participants learn more about our curriculum, run through how to teach the material, and discuss their communities needs. Thursday evening was reserved for lightning talks and mingling!

Steph getting the party started at our Working Open Workshop kick-off party.

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Lightning talks from fellows and participants kept the energy high on Thursday night. Christie talked about using other people’s data to teach research data management and analysis, Teon talked about democratizing access to science through open source, open hardware, and the Do it Yourself or DIY ethos. I shared my perspective on playing the long game in my local community. Bruno enlightened us all about the volume of genomic data in the world today and discussed growing his online open source community. Kirstie described her thought process through setting up her new lab at the Turing institute and assured us all that while she sounds very fancy she is just faking it until she makes it. And Jeremiah Pieterson of SPARC Africa told us about how libraries are advocating for greater access to scholarly resources and knowledge across Africa.

Friday: In the past, WOWs have invited participants to bring projects to in-person workshops to progress through a series of sessions designed develop open science, open community, and open source initiatives. In South Africa, our goal was to work closely with a small group of community leaders to train and catalyze them to disseminate the Working Open Workshop modules (or the spirit of the WOW process)  in their own communities. As the fellows and staff in attendance are all based in the global north, we have worked mainly in large well-funded Western universities.  We can’t tell participants what will work in their local South African scientific and scholarly communities and were eager to get the perspective on what works and what doesn’t in South Africa. We tried to create welcoming spaces for our participants to connect with each other and talk about their communities, their priorities, and their visions. We worked together to create definitions of the terms we use, like “open”, that are meaningful for our participants.

Collaborative definitions of Open in South Africa:

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Cape Town Working Open Workshop participants and session leaders!

At the end of the day, we made friends and learned from each other… and then had a fantastic dinner where bibs were required!

So, what do I actually do? It’s some teaching, but on my best days it’s probably more learning than teaching. It’s a lot of writing (and rewriting) of grants, talks, papers, and informal communication (like blogs and tweets). I run workshops and give a lot of talks – I can now give a talk with almost no preparation. On the highest level, I try to understand people’s perspectives and needs so that I can connect them and their projects to new colleagues and collaborators. I try to help people find the tools and resources to do their best work. I advocate for research practices – skills, workflows, cultural norms – that will make for a better and more inclusive future for science. And, sadly, the fellowship is almost over. Through this fellowship experience I’ve been able to prioritize developing “soft” skills like communication, public speaking, strategic planning, and project management. For now, this is the type of work I want to keep pursuing. I want to keep working with scientists to work for the future of science. I’ll keep you posted on what’s next!

*Parts of this post is repeated on the Mozilla Science Blog… because there’s only so many hours in a day.

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Moving on: or not.

I am a high school science teacher and I love my job. I love most of it anyway, which is probably better than most people feel about their jobs. Teaching is challenging, relational, and I get work both collaboratively and independently. I talk about science all day, but I also get to engage in engaging discussions about gender identity and the use of technology in education. I spend the summer off with my small, quickly growing children. And most importantly, I feel like I am really, truly making a difference in the world and its future citizens. Most days, anyway.

And despite all that, I’ve recently felt a need to make a change: I’ve been feeling stagnant and ready for forward momentum in my career. I’ve been trying to identify why I’m feeling this way, and I think it boils down to wanting advancement. As a teacher, there is limited room for growth and virtually no merit-based income increase. I make comically little money, given my education background. Sure, I could go into administration at some point, but I really love science.

When I stumbled upon a position for a local company that produces products for the science classroom, I decided to apply. The job description seemed to be written with my experience and career goals in mind. I found myself energized as I filled out the application and updated my resume. My husband was supportive and edited my documents for me. A week after I submitted the application, I was notified that I had a phone interview. As I prepare for that interview, I can’t help feel conflicted. I love my job—but I am ready for the next phase. So maybe it is time to move on, work more and try something else.

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I wrote the first half of this post before my phone interview. I had what I considered a moderately successful phone interview with the HR person at the company, mostly asking whether I’d be open to travel (I said yes, even though I was/am unsure about how this would work with two little kids and my husband’s job) and how I’d used the company’s product in the classroom. When asked for a salary requirement, I gave a range that was overlapping with the salary range they planned to offer for the position (which nearly TWICE as much as I currently make–it is possible that I sounded a little too excited at that possibility). We hung up, she told me she would notify me about the next phase by the end of the week, and I wrote a thank you email to follow up.

In the days the followed, I continued to feel conflicted. I love my job, and would be sad to leave and miss the opportunity to perfect my curriculum. I had been looking forward to trying some of the new Next Generation Science Standards in my own classroom. On the other hand, the job that I had applied for, despite the travel, seemed to align perfectly with my vision for my next career stage.

So when I didn’t get an in person interview, I was surprised and disappointed. I reached out to the HR person with whom I’d interviewed, and here is a summary of her response: she said that as policy they didn’t provide specific feedback to applicants, but they had received an overwhelming response. All the candidates selected to advance to the next round met all of the posting qualifications (I thought I did too) and had “substantial” teaching experience.

To me, this says that my handful of years of high school teaching was not what they were seeking. Despite this clear explanation for not advancing to the next round, I cannot help feel like I am having trouble making the leap to the next career phase. In the last few years, I have been a finalist for two fellowships (AAAS Science Policy Fellowship and ASHG Genetics and Education Fellowship) that I hoped would allow me to pursue science education policy and/or curriculum development in new and different ways. I have what I consider “substantial” teaching experience, public speaking experience and technical writing/editing skills. So, while I recognize that the field that I am aiming to break into is narrow, I’m not sure what I can do to better prepare myself. Feel free to comment with suggestions!!

In the meantime, I feel lucky to have the opportunity to spend the summer with my kids and take another run at my classes next year. I am telling myself the same thing I tell my students: failure is brave, inevitable and a chance to grow. Though somehow my internal voice is less convincing that my teacher voice.

Posted in dream job, having it all, new job, professional, uncertainty | Tagged | Leave a comment