About a year and a half ago, Ryan, Inc., a tax services firm based in Dallas, Texas, instituted a dramatic shift in their company’s structure. The firm changed their 9-5, office-based work culture to one where employees can work anytime and any place they desire. Along with this significant change came a new sense of accountability, as each employee has deadlines to meet and objectives to reach. Employees are evaluated and rewarded on their ability to meet goals and deliver results.
While your scientific work may not allow you to be completely flexible with your time or physical workplace, it might make sense for you to undertake the goal setting exercises used by Ryan, Inc., and other employers, such as setting SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym used to describe goals that ensure both employer and employee are on the same page. SMART stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound
Think about your current project. Have you worked to define SMART goals with your advisor?
While setting these types of goals at the start of a project is the most productive, this may be a worthwhile exercise regardless of where you are in a project. If your advisor has not initiated such a conversation with you, request a time to meet and be prepared to discuss the needs of the lab, as well as any skills or interests you might like to develop personally. Working together with your advisor on setting goals will keep the lines of communication open and increase the chance of you feeling satisfied in your current role–and of building a stronger résumé or CV in the process.