Scientists work across academia, industry, government, not-for-profits and private enterprise – and while the career options and career paths in each of these areas can be very different and quite specific to each field and workplace, very often the barriers and obstacles faced occur in a range of workplaces and are more common than you think.
Sometimes the roadblocks are beyond your control. In some cases, it’s clear what the career roadblocks are but you may need some guidance on working out how to get around or break through them.
The aim of this guide is to identify some of the more common roadblocks in scientists’ careers and offer some practical tools and strategies on how to deal with them. The strategies are necessarily generic across sectors but most of the time it will be clear which issues are relevant and those that don’t apply.
As a starting point, whatever obstacle or barrier you’re facing, you should aim to step back and:
- Identify the roadblock;
- Work out how it’s getting in the way of the career objectives you’ve set for yourself;
- Identify possible strategies to overcome the roadblock, including further professional development options and personal and work issues that might be a way of working through the barrier; and
- Develop an action plan for dealing with the blockage.
Remember to go back to the basics:
- Revisit your career plan: Career planning – a dynamic approach;
- Look at further development that might get you over the hump i.e. Assessing your development needs and Continuing professional development;
- Revisit your personal SWOT analysis; and
- Consider seeking some guidance from a mentor or trusted colleague.