The Sassy Scientist – A Bauta, Not A Mirror

The Sassy Scientist – A Bauta, Not A Mirror

Teresa has attended a conference or two. She published a paper or three, co-convened an EGU session or four and was ‘part of a research team’ or five (meaning: did most of the work and ended up as co-author number ‘who-cares’ in the list). Disillusioned she sighs:

How do I get senior scientists to take me seriously as an academic?

Dear Teresa,

I know, right? One could almost say that one should go and write blog posts to garner some attention. Well, all kidding aside, it does seem like an impossible task, doesn’t it? You throw in all of your energy, put in the hours, and it seems like it’s all for nothing. Little attendance at your posters/talks (never mention actually talking to any interested party), nor a wealth of citations after the fact. Does this mean your work is simply uninteresting? Probably not. Does it mean that you doing your best simply means that you’re not good enough and you should find even more energy and time (forget about sleep, who needs it?), somewhere, to get noticed? Again, probably not. Should you just throw yourself in every single conversation you see at conferences, stalk everyones workshop talks and crash all break-out chat rooms just to show your face, throw in some smart remarks and thank them for their ground-breaking studies? Maybe, but still … probably not. My solution: put on a bauta. “What the … is a bauta?” I hear you tooting. As a recurring visitor to this blog, you’ve seen them floating around ever so often: the masks. Granted, a real bauta is white and goes back to the Venetian carnival. Yet in this day and age of innovation and levity, you could simply paint your own ‘oh-look-at-me-being-a-very-serious-scientist-face’ on there. A face that will shock the scientific community. A face that will attract appropriate attention of senior scientists. A face that will ensure future recognition. Does this mean that you should change your research ways, your research niche, or your life? Of course not. It means that you put on an attitude. An attitude that should be very close to yourself, yet is brushed ever so slightly with the traits you see radiating from the ‘well-performing’ senior scientist. A little brush. Don’t go crazy and make it a full-blown mirror: people of a certain standing find it very difficult to cope with other, exceedingly excelling loudmouths who ‘know’ their way is best, don’t deal in favouritism and take criticism very well. Ahem. Does wearing a mask make you a poser? No, it makes you human.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written safely from behind my own little mask.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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