If you are new to Mademoiselle Scientist, welcome. I am a toxicologist and have many interests. Currently, I am science writer and communicator. I am exploring career options of vaccine development research, science communication and STEM education. Very different STEM pathways, but very interesting to me.
Recently, I participated in a Twitter Chat #ECRChat: How to Develop a Career Exit Strategy hosted by Science Mentor. It was an informative discussion about using the myIDP tool in the process. A career exit strategy is a short-term plan (1-2 years) to maintain professional life during a career transition.
Main Points from the How to Develop a Career Exit Strategy #ECRChat Hosted by Science Mentor:
1. Think First:
Before developing a career exit strategy sit down and really think about why you need a career exit strategy. This is a serious career decision. Are you ready for this transition? Why do you want a career exit strategy? Some people have career exit strategies due to funding issues, want to explore a new career or are not happy with their career environment.
2. Focus on What you Want:
What are goals do you want to achieve in your new career? You want to make sure that the next job (in your new career) is going to match your new goals. Don’t take a new job for the sake of having a new job if it doesn’t align with your career goals. Think about your values.
3. Do a Self-Assessment:
I recommend doing self-assessments on a regular basis. A good place to start is using the myIDP tool. This will help you create a timeline, a to-do-list and keep you on top of your new career goals.
4. Keep Learning:
Think about your transferable skills and gain the skills you need for your new career. For example, both of my career options are very different. In order to transition from toxicology into a vaccine research career I have to learn more about vaccines, virology, and infectious diseases so I took a virology course on Coursera.org from Dr. Vincent Racaniello. However, to prepare for a STEM education career I am taking a Teaching as Research course from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL).
5. Keep up with your Professional Activities:
Take leadership positions, mentor, volunteer or start a digital platform. Use Twitter or blogging as a platform to share your experiences to help students, scientists and women in STEM. The science blogging community is a great way to improve your writing, communication, network and create a professional platform as a STEM professional.
*The Main Takeaway:
Always be prepared for a career transition, stay focused and keep moving forward. It is okay if you want your career exit strategy to be confidential. Sometimes people may even try to sabotage your career exit strategy and you don’t want negativity in your space during this transitional time.
Some Side Notes:
If you want to see other reflections, check out my reflection about science policy careers with NSBE and #AAWiSTEM.
On Twitter Chats:
#ScienceTwitter chats are a great way to chat with members of the science community from all over the world. If you have a Twitter chat you want me to participate in Tweet me: @MademoiselleSci. Leave #Name in the comments below.
Here are some of the Twitter chats I have participated in:
What are your favorite topics to Tweet about? Share below.