“Wherever a man turns he
can find someone who needs him.” ~Albert Schweitzer
With a great
background in biology or biomedical research, you landed a great job in
consulting, advising, teaching, writing, or advocating! However, you have to admit, in the evenings
and on the weekends you find yourself missing the research.
The long hours at the
bench, in the clinic, or in the field – they were tiring yes – but the
camaraderie and energy of discovery and purpose that came with the long hours
were the aspects that you enjoyed. How
to fill this gap in your life?
are options. You could buy all the seasons
of the Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Scrubs, and you may be all right for a
while. However, this will be a temporary
fix and gone once you’ve watched and memorized every episode. Not to mention you’ll likely suffer
physically and mentally from the inactivity and force-fed wit. Instead, you
Based on your skill set, availability,
and interest, with your background in biology, nearly any lab or clinic would
welcome and train you as a volunteer.
Here, you’ll be back to the basics, contributing to, and learning about
the biology and sciences you love, in an atmosphere of pure gratitude (usually)
for your efforts. It will also keep your
science/bench/research/clinical skills honed while contributing to great
“Volunteers do not
necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” ~ Elizabeth Andrew
We are all aware of the shortage of
funding in academics, clinical research, and in places like our national park
service, conservancies, etc. This
shortage of funding may be the reason you’ve pursued another career, away from
the research you love.
Yet you miss the
hands-on work and contributing to basic biology. Volunteer!
Not only will this put you back in touch with the work you love and
provide you with a social network where you are contributing positively, but
could lead to positive developments for your career as well. Often
volunteer work leads to careers in unexpected places, publications, and
occasional discoveries and patents that can be life altering.
“The purpose of life is
not to be happy – but to matter,
to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have
lived at all.”
~ Leo Rosten
So after a PhD spent studying the
lifecycle of soil microbes in Costa Rica where you and your field technicians
lived in tents in Montverde for 6 months of the year, you find yourself
directing a team developing organic fertilizer at a large corporation in
metropolitan America, with only 5
weeks of vacation per year and an unquenchable ache for the cloud forest
forming… what are you to do? Volunteer!
your weekends working with the local national park service or state park
service aiding in their research efforts, hiking to remote areas, camping and
sampling. In addition, you can contact
your old lab or a local university lab that could use your hands and knowledge,
and plan your vacation(s) to travel/work to help out a graduate student
strapped for everything you were and more, doing work in a field you miss or
want to learn about.
training you have in biology is something they and you can use! The possibilities, relationships and career
affects that come from choosing to volunteer as a trained biologist, doctor,
researcher, clinician, nurse, etc. are limitless. So, if you’re bored or miss training, ‘pick up the phone today.’ Start your search for a place where you can
satisfy your need to learn, interact, study, and at the same time contribute to
biology. Biology will be improved and
forever changed by your donation of time, skills and enthusiasm.
“We make a living by
what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill
sure where to start?
A great place to help you: http://www.volunteermatch.org/