"The concept of career means very little to me! I guess I would term it just to collectively describe the jobs that I have held and the education I've received..."
"I did my first degree in biology and worked for a year, then did the PhD. I took a part-time admin job while writing up, and moved into the management of a trade association where I did things like running conferences. My husband’s job took us to the USA for two years, where I did wedding organisation and was a tour guide at some botanical gardens. When I returned to the UK I went back to my original job briefly before moving to work for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), promoting health and life science Internet resources in higher education. I had some time off for the birth of our twins and then returned back to work part-time. I now work school hours and term time only in my current post, promoting the use of learning technologies in the School of Biological Science at the University of Leicester.
"During my PhD I realised that bench science was not for me. My husband wanted a career as a researcher and lecturer, and it would have been very difficult for us both to pursue this option. I didn’t feel that I wanted an academic career enough to put up with the difficulties that it would have caused. The concept of career means very little to me! I guess I would use the term just to collectively describe the jobs that I have held and the education I’ve received. Bosses in former (and current) roles have influenced my outlook and encouraged me to develop. They have given me the freedom to pursue my interests. I’ve been lucky to find interesting jobs at times when I’ve needed them. I’ve also been fortunate to work with some very bright people.
"I have never had a career plan so I am not sure where my career will go next. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I can develop and extend myself. I’ve mostly spent my time talking to people to help me think my ideas through. The biggest impact on my career to date has probably been forces beyond my control – children and husband’s job!
"I’ve always had to be flexible in all of my roles. For example, in my current role I’ve had to learn how to conduct research in a completely different way from how I learned as a PhD student (social science versus bench science research). I’ve tried to manage transitions like this through asking as many questions as I can when I enter a new role. Working part-time took a little getting used to, but I’ve always worked in a flexible way – so it was switching off when I wasn’t at work that was the problem sometimes!"