Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post from Ann Rasmussen. Thank you to Ann for taking the time to write this post.
This post is part of our series on non-academic careers for ecologists. Ok, this one’s actually about an academic career. But when most people (including me!) think of academic careers, the first thing they think of is a tenure-track faculty career. So we thought it would be useful to readers to also have some posts on other sorts of academic careers.
Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post from Chris Collier. Thank you to Chris for taking the time to share his experiences.
This post is part of our ongoing series on non-academic careers for ecologists.
I’ve been thinking a lot about imposter syndrome lately – both because of feeling impostery myself, and because of seeing others who are feeling impostery. I find it helpful to realize how common it is for people to feel like imposters – sometimes I think that pretty much everyone is using the “fake it ‘til you make it” strategy. But it’s also disheartening when I realize that people who I think are fantastic scientists, teachers, and/or communicators also feel like frauds.
There are three particular flavors of imposter syndrome that I’ve particularly been thinking about. I wanted to write a post on them but surprisingly (to me, at least) I could only picture them in cartoon form. I suspect part of the reason for that is the influence of this really great cartoon on filtering out the positive and focusing on the negative. So, here are three poorly drawn cartoons on the topic. I feel a little silly sharing them (yes, of course I’m feeling impostery about a post on imposter syndrome!), but here goes:
A while back we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to our next question, from Pavel Dodonov: how much do scientists from developing countries contribute to ecological research?
A while back we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to Aaron Mietzner’s question: how would you teach the scientific method to middle school students?
A while back we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to our next question. One is from Marine Molecular Ecologist: what are the important considerations when choosing your first postdoc? Vero Zepeda asked the same question, and also wants to know what’s the purpose of a postdoc?
Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from Aaron Hall. Thank you very much to Aaron for taking the time to share his experience.
This post is part of our ongoing series on non-academic careers for ecologists. See here for links to previous posts in the series.
If you’ve ever looked at the ecoevojobs.net faculty jobs board, you’ve probably seen speculation that position X has an internal candidate, the implication being that others maybe shouldn’t bother applying because the internal candidate will have an edge or even be a shoo-in. Sometimes, the speculation is not merely that a strong internal candidate exists, but that the position is intended for the internal candidate, so that the entire search is a formality with a pre-determined outcome.
But internal candidates have factors working against them as well as for them. As illustrated by the fact that they don’t always get the job–even when they’re confident they will! For instance, see here, here, and here. Those are anecdotes, though, so it’s hard to say if they’re typical. How often are internal candidates hired for ecology faculty positions? And is there any reliable way for outsiders to identify positions for which internal candidates will be hired?
According to the data I’ve compiled, the answers to those questions are “hardly ever” and “no”.
A while back, we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to our next three interrelated questions, from Jeff Hean plus a related fourth question from Andy Park:
- Why are biologists paid so little compared to other fields of science and the private sector?
- Why do the majority of advertised research positions, particularly in N. America and Europe, seem to require a modeling component these days? Especially when so much baseline empirical data still needs to be collected?
- In my personal experience, field biologists don’t make good modelers, and vice-versa. Do field biologists still have a place in ecology, in light of the high demand for young scientists who can “do it all”?
- Can we really call someone a biologist if their training has failed to teach them any taxonomic skills whatsoever?