In recent weeks, many of our trainees have received offers to attend graduate school or for academic and industry jobs. Others are making decisions about where to apply and what career paths to choose. While exciting, it also can be stressful to choose among various options and offers. Here are a few family related questions that trainees bring to counseling sessions.
What are the best jobs for scientists with families?
We are returning to our home country to be near our family raise our children. How can I go about finding a job abroad?
Should I disclose that I have a family during my interview?
Will you help me find job in industry because I need to make money to take care of my family?
My family wants me to be a doctor. I want to do something else.
Will my family be able to live with me in graduate school?
How can I investigate school systems for my children when I accept a job?
I cannot decide if I want a master’s or PhD because I want to have children and don’t want to be in school for a long time.
What are the best companies for families?
We are an LGBT couple, what are the best places to work?
My parents are aging, so I need to be near them while raising my current family. I need flexibility in my schedule which seems impossible as a scientist. What are my options?
As you can see from these questions, the impact of family can change over the course of your time as a trainee preparing for a career in the sciences. Career counselors often encourage clients to engage in self- reflective assessment at each stage to help our clients make better informed career decisions with more confidence. Here are a few questions to reflect upon:
Who is in your family currently? Has this changed (i.e. marriage, children, extended family)
What people in your life encouraged/discouraged/challenged you in your career pursuit?
What messages did you receive from your family about your career choice? Ability to pursue this career?
What is going on in the world around you now that will impact your career choice?
Are you the first to pursue this path? Is your career choice the same as others in your family?
Will family be relocating with you during this choice of careers?
Have you considered housing, cost of living, school systems?
Are three expectations of your partner/spouse relative to your career choice?
In what way will your extended family be involved in your career plan?
The OITE provides a variety of programs and services that support trainees with families. Feel free to make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss these or related to your career decision. Visit our website to look at resources for trainees who are also parents and read the OITE Careers blogs “To Share or Not To Share: Family Planning in the Job Market and Scientists as Parents: A Balancing Act . If you are part of our extended readership beyond NIH, we encourage you to pursue similar services in your community.