Outside the comfort zone

The best things in my life have happened when I’ve been pushed – or pushed myself – just outside of my ‘comfort zone’. When opportunities arise, there’s always a decision to make: will you go for it or not? Will you settle with the status quo – or will you take the plunge?

I believe that people that pursue careers in and around science are a bit more likely than others to go for the unknown and follow a path with an uncertain outcome. There are other career paths for which this may be true, but there happens to be a large number of people here on NN to make my point: Jenny’s writing and her venture with lablit, Matt pursuing a freelance career, Eva starting work on a documentary after finishing her PhD, Ian going into science administration, Richard moving back to the UK and into science publishing (sorry to everyone I’ve left out!).

As for myself, I know a large number of people – family and friends – that shake their heads at my ‘reckless’ behaviour and seriously wonder (and sometimes worry) whether I’ll ever ‘settle’ for something. (I don’t know yet). Sometimes I only find out after making the jump what exactly I’ve gotten myself into, and then have to rise to the occasion.

It’s worth it, though.

This post was first published on Nature Network, which has since been discontinued. The post has been moved to SciLogs, where you can also read the comments made at the time.

About steffi suhr

Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic and hopeful biological oceanographer who did a bunch of work in the Antarctic. I was alternately wearing labcoats or extreme weather clothing and hard hats, but have long since swapped survival suits for dress suits and do science management, currently as the BioMedBridges project manager at the European Bioinformatics Institute. I still like to use my brain. I'm a German serial expat, currently - again - living in the UK.
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2 Responses to Outside the comfort zone

  1. Stephen Curry says:

    Can you give an example Steffi? For me entering the blogosphere definitely felt like leaving my comfort zone behind but, like breaking in a new pair of shoes, it gets easier every day! I have fewer and fewer blisters…

  2. steffi suhr says:

    Yes, blogging is a very good example. I still have many blogging blisters – also because I’m an ‘introverted extrovert’, I think, who doesn’t like to put herself out there so much. Am here doing it though, because I think this attitude may have kept me from doing some fun stuff so far.. and there’s that ‘sharing through writing’ thing I’ve been trying to pinpoint.
    Other examples… the development of my entire zigzag career. I wanted to be a journalist growing up (don’t laugh). Then decided that I needed something to write about, so studied biology because that was the most interesting to me. Once I was making headway, I went for oceanography and had to get familiar with being on research vessels (and yes, it’s an extra effort for girls). Then I switched to science support, which involved a lot of staying up with rather daunting oceanographic instrumentation and technology, and management/project management skills. Oh, and corporate politics. All way on the outer rims of my comfort zone, and beyond.
    Now I’m in science publishing. So far, this has actually seemed like the best-fitting shoe I’ve tried on, covering a wide variety of things I’m interested in, plus I have some opportunity to be creative.
    Oh, and running half and full marathons – probably one of the most intimidating things when I first started going for it. May have to try triathlons next – it’s the thing right now – but I hate swimming…

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