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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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02/01/14
Academic Careers. Early career considerations
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:50 am

At a recent workshop Professors Jennifer Shumaker-Parry
and Eric Potma shared their experiences about career
observations and the academic interview process.  Some
of their thoughts will resonate with many who seek to have
their careers involve teaching and research.  Let me highlight
five:

1.  Time management and life balance.
The choice between working at a PUI and a research I
institution requires thinking through what motivates you
the most and while three domains (teaching, research and
service) will be large parts of your responsibility, the ability
to manage time and focus on your priorities will be critical
for achieving the tenure goal.  Time is limited and the need
is to balance urgency, importance and personal life.

2.  Collaboration can be significant.
Develop an idea notebook and continuously seek
fertile ideas and when possible collaborations to pursue
ideas that have significant research impact.  {example  1  2 }

3.  Take time to develop your ideas before your application.
While your post doc may be the most exciting term in
your career, you need to develop with your mentors and PIs
unique ideas.  One specifically mentioned having three
“idea notebooks” for nurturing, organizing and developing
impactful outcomes.  As the other mentioned, it is likely
worth taking extra time to develop ideas before applying
for academic positions.  You will need to be prepared for the
“chalk talk” interview.

4.  Openness in academic idea exploration
Both mentioned being open with colleagues to share ideas
even original ones.

5.  Money means Start-up funds.
When interviewing and considering positions determine
where you are given the opportunity to be successful.  One
shared having to choose between prominent university positions.
Initial offers were presented.  The offers were considered with
a site visit for where their laboratory would be located and
facilities available.
Counter offers in a negotiated process were forthcoming,
where one university increased their start-up package offer. 
Thus, it was more attractive. 

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