Nerd. Geek. Physicist. Trainer. Coach. Mum. Chicken keeper. Dissectologist (not what you think!).
We and others give ourselves lots of labels, don’t we? Sometimes these can be good, sometimes limiting.
I prefer stories.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved jigsaws and dinosaurs. When she was 4 or 5 she asked her parents for an electron microscope because she wanted to be a scientist. I didn’t get the microscope but by the time I was 28, I had a physics degree, a medical physics PhD (both from the ‘bridge’ part of Oxbridge) and 3 years postdoctoral research at The Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre.
A career break for son number one (I now have three, two of whom are taller than me) didn’t force a career rethink but it did allow one. I decided to stay at home for a while and play Lego (sorry, look after my son).
Opportunist. Optimist. (oops more labels) I saw an advert to be an ad-hoc trainer for The University of Cambridge. It combined all the things I had done and enjoyed, wrapped them all up into a package and sent me off into a new career direction.
I worked with a great team to develop a transferable skills programme for PhD students and postdocs. In 2009 I was co-head of Academic Staff Development. But I was missing what I loved – working at the coal face (bench? desktop?) with the people I loved – early career researchers.
So EJW Solutions Limited was born and I became an entreprenuer. I now work in the UK and overseas with scientist and technical people. I love it.
Happily ever after? I hope so …