The F- word and future success

Thought-provoking article on learning from failure from the Director of the Careers Service, Shelagh Green. Picks up on similar comments written by Margaret Harris, editor of Physics World, about physicists failing.

“In physics, failure and success are pretty clear-cut. On physics exams, especially, an answer is usually either right or wrong. Most people who choose to study physics are okay with this (indeed, some find the clarity appealing), but that is partly because they are usually “high fliers”, accustomed to getting top marks. The clear-cut nature of success in physics exams has, basically, reinforced their sense of themselves as successful people.

At some point, though, no matter how much of a high flier you are, you will fail. And as a professional physicist, you will fail pretty much all the time. Your experiments won’t work. Your ideas will go nowhere. Sooner or later, your theories will be disproved by observations. To be a successful physicist, then, you need to do failure well. The playwright Samuel Beckett put it nicely: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.””

The Careers Service Blog

Shelagh Green, our Director, on the f-word that’s not as bad as it sounds.

No, not that one.  I mean fail….I was prompted to think about what it feels like to fail and how we respond to failure, since reading this article .  A leading US entrepreneur credits her success to her dad’s regular question, What did you fail at this week?   It made me realise just how often we do fail: or fail to succeed in the way we imagined.  At times that sense of not achieving or getting the desired outcome, can be hard to take – we focus on the loss from the situation. It takes intentional effort (and possibly time) to spot the gains – What was the learning?  What would I do differently next time? What hadn’t I anticipated? What back-up plans could I have put in place? What have I learned about myself? …

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Graduating in physics with a 2:2 or a 3rd?

Some level-headed advice from the Institute of Physics.

Most people don’t hope to get a 2:2 when they enter university.

Neither are thirds the things that dreams are made of. And with most postgraduate courses and high-powered jobs in research being limited to those with 2:1 and up, you have the right to be a bit miffed. But, on the other hand, the world has by no means ended and you have the rest of your life to live, so what’s your next move?

Read on and take heart!

Find out more

SCI Day of Science and Careers

Organised by  School of Physics academic Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership and Chair, SCI Scotland Group

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Calling UG and PG students across all scientific disciplines

SCI’s Day of Science & Careers , University of Edinburgh, 5 April 2017

Explore a wide range of careers in science-based industries. Speakers from industrial, academic and independent backgrounds will present their career pathway and offer insights in to what to look out for, and what to consider when choosing your next steps. Plus sessions on interview skills and CV writing, with opportunities to network with speakers and fellow delegates.

Talks will include the following areas:

  • Working in Analytical Chemistry
  • Intellectual Property & Patents
  • Life in an SME
  • Scientific Publishing
  • Academic Careers
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Academic/Industrial Partnerships
  • Scientific Marketing

For the full timed programme and to book online please visit: http://bit.ly/DOSCS17

Day of Science and Careers Scotland 2017 flyer_final

Future thinking – don’t be afraid!

students

Interesting study looking at the motivations and aspirations of current students, 13% of whom were UoE students according to KPMG who commissioned it. It picks up issues of generation, gender and social mobility in relation to students thinking  about their futures.  Strongest message is try not to be scared to make a career decision. The ideal role might not be the first one you have but you can work towards it.

They offer other key messages for undergraduates as well as recommendations for universities and careers services around creating a learning environment with a real focus on  employability and continuing to bridge the gap between university and employment through collaboration.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Lots of things?

If you’re not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. In this great TED talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites” — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one? The benefits of this “wiring” include idea synthesis & innovation, rapid learning & adaptability.

Brilliant examples help you understand at it’s not only OK to be keen on lots of things – but actually can be a huge advantage.  Combing specialists with multipotentialites creates great teams, for example. Listen to what she says – I think I just realised I am one!

Here are some more talks if you don’t know what to do with your life! TED talks

Institute of Physics achieves quality award for its career information

IOP has once again been successfully Matrix accredited. This means that they’ve met the gold standard for providing careers information and advice to its members.  The IOP is the only scientific learned society to have achieved the standard, demonstrating the value of the IOP careers service to its members.

Are you a student member yet? It’s free digital-only membership for all students studying for a first degree in physics

The IOP also offers an accreditation system for company training schemes to guide employees aiming to become chartered physicists.

Find out more about their award-winning advice here