Yesterday, after a couple of days settling in and overcoming jet-lag, I plunged right in and began my new job. “Great!” cries the little scientist inside me, “there are so many experiments I want to try! Get me some reagents and analytical instrumentation and…”
NOT SO FAST!
…For the next few weeks I’ll be having training, inductions, meetings and doing various bits of paperwork that will, eventually, allow me to do experiments! People that aren’t involved in research might be surprised to know that as a scientist becomes more experienced – and more capable of designing experiments, investigating results and drawing conclusions – they tend also to get more responsibilities outside the lab. For me, as I start a more independent role, that means I have to do lots of the admin that previously was done by the research group leader. So the little scientist will have to be patient.
Luckily I’m being assisted by some very capable staff, who are experienced in dealing with many of the admin challenges that lie ahead – setting up IT, purchasing equipment and chemicals, getting me onto the complex network infrastructure of a large research institution etc. So it’s not been too painful, it just takes time. Actually, I’m enjoying learning what it really takes behind the scenes to get research done, so this is an exciting new experience in itself. But I’m sure other scientists, and people with jobs in other professions, will disagree! The little scientist inside me, who wants to get straight into the lab, definitely does!