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Why the 11th Annual Career Symposium is Awesome!

Submitted by John Taborn July 15, 2019

Why the 11th Annual Career Symposium is Awesome!   The 11th Annual NIH Career Symposium is on May 18, 2018. This great event features career panels to help you make career decisions.  Register now and join us! Top 11 things on why the career symposium is awesome:

  1. You can look at what careers you might want.
    1. We have faculty, industry, government, bench, non-bench jobs to highlight. Come hear about what these folks do all day at their jobs to make sure you are ready.
  2. You could also decide which careers do not fit you.
    1. If you are unsure what is next, you can “test” careers-it is just as important to take careers off your decision tree as it is to find a career that fits you.
  3. You do have time for this---it is part of being a grad student/postdoc/fellow.
    1. One common comment we hear is “I do not have time, my experiments need me!” We get it, most of the OITE staff have PhDs….that said, part of your job as a trainee is to find a job so consider this your experiment for the day!
  4. You can hear from over 60 speakers that are attending.
    1. Many of our speakers also make hiring decisions, so you can get insider info on what committees are looking for in CV/resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
  5. You can see that most trainees are in the same decision-making process that you are.
    1. There is comfort in seeing that other trainees are also wondering about what career they want after they leave their postdoc/fellow/grad experience. You can share ideas and tips with your colleagues to make this process easier.
  6. Network with your peers
    1. Too many times trainees think networking is only about speaking to those in positions of hiring power; however, you can get great advice and insights from like-minded individuals in your peer group. The career symposium usually has over 750 in attendance, so there will be plenty of opportunity to make new connections!
  7. You should invite everyone who is a postdoc, grad student, fellow in the biomedical sciences to join us.
    1. While hosted by the NIH OITE (part of the intramural research program), everyone is invited--even if you are not in the intramural research program.
  8. You might learn a new skill in our blitzes.
    1. The end of the day features skill blitzes to help you prepare your job packages, interview, deal with the stress of being a scientist, transition to your new job, tell your boss about your career plans, and more.
  9. You have an easy place to practice networking.
    1. A few years ago, a speaker mentioned that while they had great conversations the day of, no attendees followed up after the event. Be that person that follows up!
  10. You can get a picture at the LinkedIn photobooth.
    1. According to LinkedIn’s data, LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views, nine times more connection requests and 36 times more messages than those without photos.
  11. You can participate by tweeting along.
    1. We will highlight comments and tips by the speakers all day on Twitter. Follow along at NIH_OITE with the hashtag #CareerSymp18

  See you there!


Opinion: Don’t Start Work Until Age 40

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch July 1, 2019
According to Laura Carstensen, a Psychologist at the Stanford Center on Longevity, our lives and careers have been arranged wrong. She contends that we shouldn’t start working until the age of 40. Instead, she purports that rather than a four-decade professional sprint ending abruptly at age 65, we should plan for longer careers which are dotted with more breaks along the way. Breaks that account for the myriad factors in one’s life, namely family needs and opportunities for more learning. The current norms around career pacing don’t allow young adults to explore careers through education and apprenticeships.  The current model doesn’t account for the demands that come with having children or aging parents. And lastly, it doesn’t factor in that most 65-year-old retirees still need to be engaged professionally and socially in large part because people are living longer and need more money for retirement. Her work focuses on redesigning institutions and thinking about shaping work cultures to help accommodate this shifting paradigm in the population. What do you think of this idea? Would you be willing to work longer over the span of your life, if it afforded you more flexibility and breaks along the way? Comment and let us know your thoughts.