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Finding Fulfillment as a Scientist Beyond the Lab Coat

When the research funding dried up, a scientist found themselves at a crossroads. By thinking creatively about their transferable skills, they were able to find meaningful work beyond academia.

5 min read

sad scientist beyond the bench

Think Outside the Bench

Like many scientists, I was drawn to bench research for the thrill of discovery. But when funding dried up, I found myself at a crossroads. Could I find fulfilling work outside academia?

As a college student, I lived for my molecular biology internship at a pharma company. The resources blew my university labs away. Seeing my work contribute to drug discovery was incredibly rewarding. I headed straight to a top PhD program to immerse myself in research.  But soon an opportunity arose back at the company I had interned. I agonized, but at 21 with just a BS, I couldn’t pass up the hands-on role. For 15 years, I was fueled by the hope my work might someday help people. But then economic factors forced my research labs to close.

My identity had been tied to being a scientist. What now? I felt lost, but refused to believe my options were limited to bench work. I attended career events to explore options like medical writing, consulting, patent law, and policy. All sounded interesting, but none fully captured my passion.  During this uncertainty, I found resilience within. The same drive that fueled my research now propelled me to explore. My heart was still in science, just expressed through different avenues.

bench to bedsideBy thinking creatively about my transferable skills in communication, project management, and problem-solving, I realized I could bring immense value to roles beyond the lab. Greatness.bio’s job board opened my eyes to new possibilities aligned with my abilities.  Stepping beyond the academic career script has stretched me. But it has unlocked greater purpose and potential. By leaning into our human strengths, we can explore a universe of unconventional options.

The excitement you felt putting on that first lab coat doesn’t have to fade, only transform. If you think broadly about transferable skills, you can create your own scientific path. The possibilities are endless if we boldly push past preconceived limits.  Science is not confined to lab walls. It is a state of mind and way of thinking that can be applied anywhere. Keep your curiosity alive by asking “What if?” at every turn. With an open mind, you can find work you find genuinely meaningful.

Trust in your abilities, maintain your passion, and let your scientific spirit guide you. The next captivating chapter lies ahead.  Find your next job at Greantess.bio.

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