From the Archive: The Industry Job Search is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

February 25, 2019

Professionals in business attire running toward red finish line.For an industry job for scientists, the interview process generally takes six to eight weeks.  Starting with an initial phone screen, successful candidates move on to an on-site interview where they usually meet with a number of people from the organization and give a scientific presentation.  Next is the final interview, during which a verbal offer may be extended.  What is not as well elucidated is how long the overall search process is likely to take.

The rule of thumb in industry is that your job search will take one month for every $10,000 of the job’s salary and generally longer for your first industry position.  The positions sought by postdocs often times have annual salaries approaching $80,000, so it is easy to do the math.  It is likely that your industry job search will last the better part of a year.

Therefore, a job search is more akin to a marathon than a sprint.  As with many successful long-term projects, it is important to set and meet interim goals along the way. Weekly and monthly objectives are recommended for your job search.   The most critical areas to make continual progress on are:

  • Develop and follow a target list of companies.
    The most common targeting criteria include: companies with a common research focus as your experience; companies within your preferred geographic locations; and companies in which you have contacts.  It is important to follow company news, which may include information on key employees, strategies and financial reports.  For smaller companies in particular, news of a large cash inflow, an initial public offering (IPO), or a licensing deal is often a harbinger of increased hiring.  Overall, this type of data can help set you apart from other potential candidates when that interview comes because you have done your “homework.”
  • Create and foster your network of industry contacts.
    Effective tools for this step are LinkedIn, in which you can sort by company name to identify your contacts within your target companies, and the NIH Alumni Database.  Informational interviews are a good place to start to acquire not only information about particular jobs or a company’s working conditions, but many other answers to the varied questions you may have.  You may even be able to get advance information on potential job openings before they are posted.  From these initial contacts it is important to then expand your network to include their contacts.  A great final question for these sessions is, “Is there anyone else that you might recommend that I speak with?”

Since interviewing for a particular job normally takes only six to eight weeks but your total job search can take upwards of a year, it is likely that you will face some disappointment along the way. Taking care of yourself is essential. Scheduling time for activities such as exercising, meditating, spending time with friends and loved ones, and speaking with a therapist and/or career counselor is often helpful to job-seekers.

This is important not only to cope with possible frustration or sadness, but also to maintain your edge during the interview process.  Feel free to connect with the OITE for guidance and support. https://www.training.nih.gov/career_services.

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Feedback Audit – Guide to Working with Me

February 18, 2019

11In last week’s blog, we discussed how to receive feedback well by focusing on the types of feedback (ACE – Appreciation/Coaching/Evaluation) you might receive as well as aspects of the feedback which might feel triggering (Truth, Relationship, and Identity Triggers) to you.

The Triad Consulting Group has developed handouts and worksheets that you can access on their website to help guide you through various aspects of difficult conversations and feedback.

When thinking about how to improve how well you receive feedback, it is first important to consider your past experiences taking in feedback. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are your pet peeves about feedback?
  2. How sensitive am I to feedback?
  3. What is my processing time for feedback? Do you need time to reflect or can you discuss and engage in the moment?
  4. How long is my recovery time when receiving critical feedback?
  5. If you are triggered by feedback, how can others tell?
  6. How about email? Is coaching by email and not face-to-face acceptable?
  7. What areas are you particularly sensitive about?
  8. When do I feel appreciated?
  9. What is the best setting and timing for me to effectively hear coaching feedback?
  10. What advice would you give others regarding giving you feedback? How can they interpret your reactions?

It is important to be introspective, thoughtful, and genuine when answering these questions. Perhaps you are very sensitive to feedback and your swing/recovery time is not swift. Take a moment to own up to those characteristics and not feel badly about it. Evaluate what could possibly be triggering for you from different feedback scenarios. The only way to begin receiving feedback well is by gaining these personal insights first and foremost.

Remember that you have the right to choose whether you apply the feedback, but you also are able to coach your coach about the feedback in the first place. Without going overboard, you can tell your coach generally how you receive feedback and ask for their consideration in helping you to hear their insights well. If you get overwhelmed by too much information in a coaching session, try to look for themes to these evaluations. If necessary, ask “What’s one thing you see me doing, or failing to do, that you think is getting in my way?”

For more information, check out the book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well which is available for checkout at the OITE Library.

 


Thanks for the Feedback – How to Receive Feedback Well

February 11, 2019

10Maybe you are not sure how to process your latest performance review at work, or maybe an offhand critical comment has left you ruminating. In any shape or form, receiving feedback is crucial to one’s personal and professional development; however, it can also be extremely challenging to hear.

Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen are the authors of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (book available for checkout at the OITE Library). They have spent over a decade working with corporations, nonprofits, governments, and families – all with the purpose of discovering what helps people learn and what gets in the way of a growth mindset.

Within this blog, we have discussed difficult conversations at work and tools to help you structure the feedback you give, but we haven’t focused on a very simple question:

What makes feedback so hard?

Most advice books are focused on instructing you how to give feedback effectively and productively, but fail to focus on the act of receiving feedback. With this in mind, it is important to note two basic human needs: the first of which is that we want to be accepted and loved for how we are now; the second of which is that we also want to learn and grow. In thinking about the first point, it is important to recognize what makes you feel appreciated. For some it might be a public recognition or informal words of affirmation, while for others it could be an act of service and somebody willing to help you out with a favor. If you go into any feedback feeling underappreciated, then it could be a potential obstacle to how effectively you hear any coaching/feedback.

According to the book, there are three types of feedback – ACE.

Appreciation – Feedback focused on giving thanks and encouraging a person to keep up what they are doing.

Coaching – Feedback focused on showing you how you can do something better whether that is improving a skill or fixing an imbalance in a relationship.

Evaluation – Feedback focused on explaining or clarifying how you stand up next to others or against expectations.

Coaching and evaluative feedback can be triggering and Heen/Stone noted three triggers that can be a challenge to receiving feedback well.

Truth Triggers (Challenge to See) – We often view feedback as wrong or unfair, feel defensive, and completely reject the information we are given.

Relationship Triggers (Challenge of We) – We are speculative of the person and/or relationship with the person giving the feedback and view the information as faulty.

Identity Triggers (Challenge of Being Me) – An aspect of the feedback causes us to question ourselves or our abilities and can stifle our growth identity.

Triad Consulting Group has a variety of online resources for improving your conversations. Included in this are preparation worksheets that can help guide you though a feedback audit of yourself. In next week’s blog we will focus on insightful questions to help you understand more clearly how you receive feedback.


JOMO – Embrace the Joy of Missing Out

February 4, 2019

aaron-burden-20304-unsplashMany are familiar with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This acronym was coined by Patrick McGinnis, an entrepreneur and investor, during his time at Harvard Business School. As a small-town boy from Maine he describes the overwhelming nature of being “transplanted from a calm place with a simple lifestyle to a hub of 1,800 highly ambitious, connected young people.” His mania to try to fit it all in led to his FOMO discovery and his book FOMO Sapiens is now available.

What is the antidote to FOMO and the accompanying feeling that you are never doing quite enough?

JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – is about being present and content with your current life and not feeling the need to compare your life to others. It often means tuning out the external or internal background noise of what you “should” be doing allowing you to free up the competitive and anxious space in your brain.

Give Yourself Permission to Say No
You don’t have to accept every party invitation. It is important to be intentional with your time and prioritize what is truly important to you. Do what you feel is necessary for you and don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking.

Embrace Real Life, Not Social Media Life
Social media can often trigger FOMO feelings. You don’t have enough money to go on a cool vacation like some of your friends or you feel you aren’t as professionally or personally successful as a peer’s profile might suggest. Take time to disconnect and not fall into the rabbit hole of scrolling through social media feeds. Unsubscribe from accounts and unfollow individuals that make you feel negatively triggered.

Be Present
Slowing down and being in the present moment can help calm us down but it can also allow us to more fully reflect on our thoughts and feelings. This is akin to meditation, which has a slew of benefits. Give yourself permission to disconnect and not feel like every moment of the day has to be scheduled and/or productive for a specific purpose.

Danish psychology professors, Svend Brinkmann, recently wrote a book The Joy of Missing Out. He notes that the Latin motto “Carpe Diem” is one of the most popular tattoos because as a society we have this prevailing mood where we feel “we must all rush around seizing the day” and maximizing our time at every turn. Brinkmann points out that less often delivers more in terms of meaning. “If we want to be friends with everyone, we cannot truly have a friend. If we want to do something well, we cannot do it all.” Learning to embrace limitations and self-imposed boundaries can help offset our neurotic hyperactivity and maximalist expectations.