Do Your Own Thinking
This chapter is the one where we let you in on the secret that despite all the advice and professional resources and available consulting expertise, no one is able to tell you how to make the most of your education and technical expertise. The best that we can do is to describe the trends that have existed in the past and to try to project existing job needs in the future. We can also provide anecdotes of specific scientists who have had different types of careers, but remember that each of these people developed under different circumstances and has a different educational and personal background from all the others. It is therefore difficult to make generalizations about what you need to do to succeed. After all, moreover, your definition of success may be different from someone else’s definition. It is therefore your job to figure out where your particular skills and interests will best fit. One stark way to state this point is to say that for the rest of your life you will have to either do your own thinking, or let other people do the thinking for you.
“All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.” Thomas J. Watson
“I always have a quotation ready. It saves original thinking.” Dorothy Sayers
Things to Think About
Have you participated in writing a grant proposal?
Have you ordered equipment or software?
Have you designed an experiment?
Read Practical Experiment Designs for Scientists and Engineers, by William J. Diamond, Third Edition. Wiley Press. 2001.
Have you learned statistics?
Read Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis, by Johnson and Wichern. Fifth Edition. Prentice-Hall. 2002.
If your project involves multi-variate data, read Graphical Analysis of Multiresponse Data, by Basford and Tukey, Chapman & Hall/CRC. 1999.
How do you make decisions?
What is the next step in your project?