I was listening to Freakonomics Radio a few days ago, and there was a story about “faking it.” The premise was the following: for the purpose of streamlining
communication, “greasing the wheels” of social interaction, we all fake it. We may imply we are more spiritual or religious than we truly are (especially when visiting the bible belt), talk about politics dispassionately although we may feel strongly about a particular party or ideal, or represent our professions in an oversimplified way to “impress” or gain fleeting credibility.
The concept of “faking it” resonated with me (and I must admit a little guilt as I write this). For example, when I am at Starbucks and the barista asks me
what I do for a living, there is a sort of formula in my head that governs my response. I gauge their attention span, guess what might interest them,
and decide whether I believe I will ever see them again. And no matter what I say, I still feel like I am “faking it” because the truth about what I do is, well, complicated.
You see, I don’t think I really fit into a professional “box,” but maybe few people do?
Am I an evolutionary biologist? Am I a biologist/oceanographer (sometimes I morph that into “marine biologist” for the little kids)? Am I a geneticist? Am I an agriculture specialist? Am I just plain “in biotech?”
I am a combination of all these things. I have a master’s in evolutionary biology, a PhD in biological oceanography, and I worked for over 5 years as a geneticist for my present company. I am now a specialist working with customers interested in forming consortia to develop tools for studying agriculture species. How
did I get here?
I think of each accomplishment as a “stepping stone” where I was going along a direct forward path but saw other side paths emerge as I evolved professionally, which enabled me to gain a better understanding of what felt right for me. One of the side paths was an opportunity to join my present company, and I have
been here for almost 7 years. I have never been happier.
I would like to add my voice to the list of wonderful blogs on the Bio Careers website. If there is anyone who can learn from my experience, I will be thrilled. Even if I am just blogging out here with Nick and Marina at my side, I will still consider myself lucky.
In health and happiness, Cindy