6 things I love about not working in the lab now

Do not get me wrong! I loved working in a research lab. I don’t regret it for a single second. But 6 months out of the lab and I feel good. The best I have felt in a long time to be honest, and I think a lot of that has to do with my new job in science communications.

Not working in the lab has seriously been the breath of fresh air that I needed after finishing my PhD. So, I wanted to share 6 of the reasons why I love not working in the lab right now as a celebration of six months in my new role, but also to highlight that you don’t have to work in a lab to be a successful scientist. You can also read 6 reasons why I miss the lab here too – because it is all about balance!

So here they are. I love not working in the lab because….

…This is now acceptable footwear!

I’m not the most fashionable person, but not working in the lab means I dont just have to wear long trousers and shoes that cover your whole foot. It was obviously for important safety reasons, but in the summertime it was not fun. Now I get to wear sandals, peep toe boots and basically anything I want. That and my nails can actually grow now as I’m not wearing gloves all day every day.

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…I have more time for scicomm & side hustles

Having a more structured working day means I have more time to focus on all the side hustles I am working on behind the scenes. Commuting is testing that a little bit but I am working on some pretty exciting things which I can announce soon.

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…The work life balance is more, well, balanced

Not having to look after stem cells every day means my weekends are my own. I feel I’ve been able to do more things so far this year than during the whole of my PhD. The nature of my work now also means that I dont have to stay until an experiment is finished. Tasks can be left until the next day most of the time and I dont have to take work home with me. Something I’m loving right now.

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…There are no more lab chores

I hated doing lab chores! Simple things like restocking supplies, making buffers and stock solutions and such. But what I hated the most was that these tasks were to benefit the whole lab group, but many people wouldn’t do their fair share. Not having to rely on that now is such a relief.

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…I’m gaining new skills, new experiences & new networks

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m working in London, but in six months in this job, I have met more people in so many different roles with different ideas, and been pushed outside my comfort zone to work on so many amazing things that I already feel more confident in myself and my experiences. Something I am really grateful for and that I never got during my PhD just being stuck in the lab.

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…I feel like I’m having much more of an impact in the scientific world

Years slogging away in the lab to have one paper published and hopefully two more on the way, I don’t feel like I made any real impact. It was very unlikely that I was going to do anything life changing during my PhD, but I didn’t even feel like I really new the field truly or the people in the field. It was during my scicomm whilst a PhD student that I was having more impact, which has only continued into my job. I’ve organised and hosted an array of events to celebrate some incredible research, celebrate women in science and trying to give underrepresented communities more exposure to science. I’ve had more of an impact on the community and even researchers in my institute on their careers and it feels wonderful

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They are just some of the things that are making me happy in my scicomm role right now. What do you love about your jobs right now?

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4 thoughts on “6 things I love about not working in the lab now

  1. Great post Soph. It’s interesting you mention feeling like you didn’t fully know your field – I felt exactly the same (and even more so in my new field as a postdoc), especially when the field is so broad. I feel like this is something no one every brings up but can make a lot of PhD student feel inadequate. Anyway, your SciCom role sounds awesome and glad you’re enjoying it!

    Like

    1. Thank you. Yes – the imposter syndrome is real for near enough all of us I would say. I think it’s because there will always be new things we can learn or different perspectives on the same thing. Maybe I should write a longer piece about that feeling to highlight it more?

      Interesting that you mention that about being in a new field in your postdoc. It was something I did consider. How different was your PhD research to your postdoc role if you don’t mind me asking?

      Like

  2. Strange, I’m a community Pharmacist trying to switch back into labs or hospital work. So it’s interesting hearing someone view on coming out.

    One of the main hinderances besides (not actually finding a job) is the prospect of having to cut my nails and not have nail varnish. Which makes me feel less feminine.

    How would you recommend one gets experience though? I’m more tailored towards clinical trials

    Like

    1. I loved the lab. I just couldn’t see myself being in academia long term so thought I would try something else. What makes you want to head back to the lab? Do you mean experience in hospital labs?

      Like

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