I was listening
to Freakonomics Radio a few days ago, and there was a story about “faking
it.” The premise was the following: for the purpose of streamlining
communication, “greasing the wheels” of social interaction, we all
fake it. We may imply we are more spiritual or religious than we truly
are (especially when visiting the bible belt), talk about politics
dispassionately although we may feel strongly about a particular party or
ideal, or represent our professions in an oversimplified way to
“impress” or gain fleeting credibility.
The concept of
“faking it” resonated with me (and I must admit a little guilt as I
write this). For example, when I am at Starbucks and the barista asks me
what I do for a living, there is a sort of formula in my head that governs my
response. I gauge their attention span, guess what might interest them,
and decide whether I believe I will ever see them again. And no matter
what I say, I still feel like I am “faking it” because the truth
about what I do is, well, complicated.
You see, I
don’t think I really fit into a professional “box,” but maybe few
Am I an
evolutionary biologist? Am I a biologist/oceanographer (sometimes I morph
that into “marine biologist” for the little kids)? Am I a
geneticist? Am I an agriculture specialist? Am I just plain
I am a combination
of all these things. I have a master’s in evolutionary biology, a PhD in
biological oceanography, and I worked for over 5 years as a geneticist for my
present company. I am now a specialist working with customers interested in
forming consortia to develop tools for studying agriculture species. How
did I get here?
I think of each
accomplishment as a “stepping stone” where I was going along a direct
forward path but saw other side paths emerge as I evolved professionally, which
enabled me to gain a better understanding of what felt right for me. One
of the side paths was an opportunity to join my present company, and I have
been here for almost 7 years. I have never been happier.
I would like to
add my voice to the list of wonderful blogs on the Bio Careers website.
If there is anyone who can learn from my experience, I will be thrilled.
Even if I am just blogging out here with Nick and Marina at my side, I
will still consider myself lucky.
In health and happiness, Cindy