Careers beyond academic science
Video clip: Jennifer applied for a range of jobs before being offered a job as an Athena SWAN advisor and facilitator. She wanted to use the skills she had developed as a scientist.
And then those postdoc positions came to an end because your PI retired.
And then what did you decide to do then?
So I’d looked, because I’d been on a serious of short fixed term contracts, I was never quite sure if I was going to be extended. So at each point I was looking around for other jobs. So earlier on I was looking at other post doc jobs and then kind of realised, I’d never really been that interested in becoming independent and having my own lab. I just didn’t really feel that I was up to that. So, I kind of looked at postdocs and then as you go along you realise you can’t postdoc for ever and that there is no long term career option for that. So really unless you want to be independently funded, there is not really a career path for you in academia, well academic research. So you can go and work in industry, which is difficult to get into. There are biotech firms that you can go and work in, you know, various options. But when it kind of came to my PI retiring, I just looked around for every, for anything and everything. I really just had quite a wide scope for what I was looking for. So I applied for a range of jobs; so patent work, grants advisor, radiation protection. Those sorts of things because I didn’t want to completely waste, not waste, but I wanted to still stay in the research or scientific area, so that I was able to use the skills that I developed. But trying to move somewhere that there might be a bit more stability. I wasn’t going to have to be on a three year contract and then be looking for jobs all the time.
So I just looked around, lots of different places and so then the job that I’m doing now, which is Athena SWAN advisor, came up for working at the University. As a woman in science I’d always had an interest in gender equality and aware of the issues involved. So it just really interested me. I wasn’t sure if I would be suitable for it. I thought I would apply and see what happens and then ended up getting the job.