Monday, April 5, 2010

Knowing when

Sustaining a career in science--whether at or away from the bench--takes a lot, in fact much more than you think starting off. You need some smarts, a good work ethic, discipline, commitment...

But there's something else you have to learn along the way. It's not something you can learn from a book, a journal, or a mentor. It's something you can only truly from experience: how to read a situation and decide whether you should stay the course or walk away. Sometimes it's an experiment or a project. Sometimes it's a career path or a step along it. Most scientists I know are stubborn--I am one of the worst. We simply don't like the idea of "giving up" or "failing".  This can be a useful trait, yet there are times when leaving the table is the best decision we can make. If we want to stay in the game for the long haul, we better learn how to play. I leave you with the immortal words of Kenny Rogers... backed up by some Muppets.