The trouble is… (or: why this blog exists)

It’s a long road. Here’s how it all started, and why I’d like for you to come along.

long road...

Welcome to ScienceLabLife, my blog about leading, supervising, and managing a research team, group, or lab.

How I got here…

If you’re a researcher or scientist who leads a team or group, chances are that the reason you got to where you are now is that you found a passion in the science you (used to) do. That’s how I started, too. I acquired skills to do my research, became expert in analyzing my typical data, and wrote papers about my discoveries. Then I moved on to be a PostDoc and was given responsibility to supervise some PhD students of my supervisor. Shortly after, I wrote two grant proposals that secured my own funding, including several PhD candidates who who are now doing “the real work”.

…and how it’s all different

Here’s the trouble: none of what this new situation of having my own group required of me was in my area of expertise. Sure, I had observed other supervisors and formed some ideas about what I thought they had done well, and what not. I had some ideas and intuitions about what I wanted my group to be like.

My mentors and supervisors had told me that my job would significantly change once I start my own group. I would not be doing much “real scientific work” — experimenting and data analysis — any longer.

Though I’m still doing some of that “old stuff”, most of what I do now is certainly very different from what I used to do as a PhD and beginning PostDoc. I find myself teaching and coaching my group members, evaluating their scientific ideas, making sure they thought of everything when they do their experiments, reading and revising what they have written, and trying to come up with effective and efficient ways to keep track of what everyone is up to.

I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t enjoy the challenge. I’ve found it highly rewarding to build my own thing. To set my own priorities. To make the decisions. But I would also be lying if I said that this all came natural, continually worked well, and that I always knew what I was doing.

Sound familiar?

map If so, then welcome to my blog — I hope that the posts I plan to publish here will be of use to you: help you finding the balance between doing science and leading; suggest strategies and tactics that help you succeed with your group; challenge the way you think about leadership; share some everyday hands-on stuff that, in my experience, works well; and, along the way, perhaps be fun, too.

Sometimes I’ll post things that I have established because I have found them useful. Sometimes I’ll post about ongoing “experiments” and ideas. I’m a curious person, and I’d like to know when you find something helpful, and when you don’t, and when you agree or disagree. So do let me know about your experiences, opinions, and your own tips by leaving comments underneath the posts, or by emailing me directly. I’ll be delighted to have discussions with you!

If you decide that you want to follow along, sign up for email updates. I will then send you a note when I make new content available.

Photo credit: Unsplash (both photos)

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