Monkeys Forest Tales: Considering career changes? What to ask yourself?

Lately I had a lot of thoughts about career changes and how to decide when you want or need a change in your career. A topic that is not easy and it doesn’t have only one answer. So, in today’s post we will explore this topic and some considerations you should have in mind before deciding.

Usually when you think about a career change, it is because there is something in your work you are not enjoying, or you are not feeling happy with your job and/or career. Deciding to change your career is not an easy decision because it also means life changes.

Some years ago, a friend told me that sometimes after your 40’s you evaluate your life and even think about changing your career. Because I make my decision of studying biology and never though about changing it, in my case it has not been about changing my career, but about changing my job or at some points changing my study object.

But what do you need to ponder if you are thinking about changing your career or even your job? First ask yourself the current reason why you are thinking about making that change. Second, for how long you want a change, it is a long-term change, or you are just tired of a specific routine and want to change specific situations. Both considerations are important to decide if you just talk with your boss and make some arrangements in your goals and routines. Or if what you need to do is to start a job search towards something that make you happier.

In today’s job market there are many options and with the increase of remote jobs, there is a more flexible environment to make those career changes as well as changing your job conditions, even when your job is a traditional job.

Therefore, when you are deciding about career changes, don’t forget to ask yourself about the true reasons why you want a change and what exactly is making you unhappy with your current job/ career.

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Monkey Forest Tales: What to do before choosing a PhD, Post Doc and even a new job?

In today’s post we are going to talk about some of things I learned of what is best to do before choosing a PhD, Post Doc and even a new job. Of course, I’m talking from my own experience mainly, and from the experiences of people around me.

Choosing a PhD is an important part of an academic career and usually you don’t know where to start and how to look for it. You see opportunities promoted by others and some others have an ideal of what kind of project or university they want. For me was a search that started by looking with who I want to work with. In my undergrad and master, I have two very good researchers with different teaching styles. For my doctorate I also want it a good supervisor and especially I wanted to work in a topic I liked, preferably in my own country… and with monkeys of course!!!

My other requirement was that I want to have a fellowship to do my doctorate. I did my master at the same time I was working, and it took me double of time because of that. So, this time I didn’t want to be worried about money. I was lucky enough to get both an excellent supervisor that was not only worried about my work but also about me as a person. And I got my doctorate funded.

So, my first piece of advice is to look for a supervisor who not only is interested in your work and give you the opportunities to growth as a professional but also someone who ask about your work-life balance and who is a good person and give you time to solve questions. Also, if you are doing a doctorate, especially if it is outside of your own country, it is important that your supervisor understand that and know about the difficulties that living in a foreign country implies. Additionally, I recommend doing a doctorate completely funded, it will reduce your stress and you will enjoy more the whole process.

When choosing a Post Doc and even a new job, my recommendations follow a similar patter in terms of choosing a good supervisor for your Post Doc and a good boss. Sometimes that is not so easy to know before hand, but it is important for your own professional development and for your mental health. Both are professional positions and in both you should be able to develop your professional skills and increase your experiences in a healthy environment. I wasn’t that lucky with my post doc position but get better after that with some of my job positions…

Although it is not always easy to decide to end a post doc or a job, especially if you have responsibilities and the economic part is restricted. No job or post doc position will give you back your mental health once you lose it because of a toxic job environment. This is especially true when you are living in a foreign country and work in your second or third language.

So, my second piece of advice is to choose carefully and if you are in a toxic job environment prioritize your mental health first. Plan carefully and keep as much as possible a good saving fund that give you the freedom to change jobs if you choose a wrong job or post doc position…

© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.