What do you want and what can you do? Thinking about your research career

My favourite Wednesday evening listening is The Moral Maze on Radio 4 and last night’s episode was entitled The Future of Work. One of the issues discussed was the worth or value of certain types of jobs and how subjective ‘worth’ can be. What is meaningful for one person may not be meaningful for another. The worth or value we place on a job is shaped by our social, cultural, religious and personal experience, making each person’s perspective unique.

One of my favourite exercises to do with people involves a values assessment. Many people have thought about their career values subconsciously but few have carried out an explicit, thorough assessment of their values. The links below are a starting point to help you begin assessing your career values.

  • My IDP. A US link for scientists with PhDs from the journal, Science. Contains free exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values.
  • Imagine PhD. A career exploration and planning tool for humanities and social scientists with PhDs. A US resource, containing a free, values evaluation assessment tool.

It is also worth identifying the skills and experience that you have developed as a researcher, and beyond, when contemplating your career. In addition to your specific subject knowledge and research expertise, capture the skills that are useful in a range of roles i.e., your transferable skills. The links below are a starting point to help you begin evaluating your skills.

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