PhD Habits: Working Alone | Summary and Q&A

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October 8, 2018
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TurningScience
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PhD Habits: Working Alone

TL;DR

Graduate school often instills a habit of working alone, which can hinder success in industry careers that prioritize collaboration and efficiency.

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Key Insights

  • 💦 Graduate school often fosters the habit of working alone, which can hinder success in industry careers that prioritize collaboration and efficiency.
  • 💨 Industry demands fast and efficient results achieved through collaboration, not just individual expertise.
  • 💦 Reminding oneself of the value of working with others and displaying visual reminders can help break the habit of working alone.
  • 🥺 Sharing the importance of collaboration with others can lead to positive interactions and reinforce the habit of seeking help from others.

Transcript

Today I'm talking about one of the bad habits... that we scientists and engineers tend to pick up in graduate school. And that habit is working alone, feeling we have to do everything ourselves. This is a habit that can really hamper us when we get into an industry career. So if you find you have this habit yourself, keep watching. [music] Hey eve... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do scientists and engineers tend to develop a habit of working alone in graduate school?

In graduate school, individuals are expected to be experts in their respective fields and be able to handle challenging questions independently. Relying on others for assistance would not be tolerated in academic settings.

Q: How does this habit affect STEM professionals in industry careers?

In industry, collaboration and teamwork are crucial for achieving fast and efficient results. Working alone can slow down progress, miss deadlines, and hinder the overall success of a project or company.

Q: How did the CEO of a startup describe the effects of this habit on their career?

The CEO, who had a Ph.D. in biology, admitted that graduate school taught them to work alone, but in the real world, they realized the importance of relying on others. They emphasized that collaboration is essential for success outside of academia.

Q: How can STEM professionals break the habit of working alone?

Reminding oneself of the value of collaboration and efficiency in industry is crucial. It can be helpful to have visual reminders, such as post-it notes or alarm reminders, to reinforce the importance of working with others.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Graduate school often teaches scientists and engineers to work alone and be experts in their fields.

  • However, in industry careers, speed and efficiency are crucial, which requires working with others.

  • To break the habit of working alone, it is essential to remind oneself that industry values fast and efficient results achieved through collaboration.

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