In pursuit of approachable

As I have decided to move off the PhD track, I have been searching for more career ideas. This mostly involves looking at entry level jobs and trying to decide if I can imagine myself working the job for a few years. One of the positions that consistently draws my attention is communications coordinator, especially when its for a science organization.

This position can be anything from website management to writing copy for press releases to traveling and giving presentations. Usually they want some professional experience, and some jobs want a lot more than others. They usually want to see project management experience. Either way, they want someone with communications experience (and sometimes marketing).

I’ve been working towards the PhD for awhile, and during that time, I have presented many, many times. Does that count? I’ve completed my project, with minimal supervision or help. As I think about how to spin my experiences, I’m struck again and again by how hard it is to write about them. Especially in a readable format, since I’m applying for a comm job.

For example:

  1. In order to test the ability of the enzyme to catalyze the conversion of reactant to product the scientist consulted with a colleague to design a new method of analysis.
  2. Two scientists worked together to design a new experiment to study an enzyme.

Unfortunately I’m better trained in example 1 than example 2. Neither is necessarily wrong, but one is dramatically more approachable. And when you’re talking about discussing science to the general public, it seems like you should begin with sentence 2 and perhaps build detail to sentence 1 (although in this example I’d say they are really equivalent). I’m having trouble. I have to keep rewriting sections of everything and substituting smaller, simpler words in a lot of cases.

But why dumb things down? Its hard to make things easily readable. And sometimes that means spelling out the main idea instead of hinting around at it seems juvenile (that’s a loaded thought for another topic).

So how do you write in a way that makes it conversational without losing the detail? I’m still trying to figure this out, if you have some advice, let me know in the comments.

Year review

What a crazy year. I started this blog with the hope of exploring some thoughts about graduate school, science, and other ideas that popped into my head. Unfortunately I haven’t really done it justice. Its so hard to find a cohesive theme, since I have so many random ideas. They aren’t all worthy of a blog post, and its hard to make them coherent sometimes. I definitely started off with a bang, when my two-body post exploded. I didn’t even know what to do with all the interaction I was getting.

I wasn’t actually able to have as many interesting conversations about a post again, as I struggled with the voice. I still want to talk about the challenges of being a scientist while  not being a bench-scientist, so that’s where this is going. But there is so much more to it. Conferences and readings and job searches and degrees. So if you’re looking for stories about trying to figure out what to do for a career from someone who waited kind of late, stay tuned. You may be able to learn something or spark your own thoughts.