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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / October 2017 / Know When to Change Directions

Know When to Change Directions

Career Story by Candice Harder, PhD, Associate Study Director of Genetic Engineering Technologies at The Jackson Laboratory

I was a postdoc at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for only about 18 months. Into the second year of my training, I decided I did not want to stay in academia and become a principal investigator.  I immediately began to consider the next move in my career.  In addition to its research department, the JAX sells mice for use in scientific research.  Because my husband Jeff was still working as a postdoc, I reviewed job postings at JAX.    

The business side of JAX has numerous jobs that require PhD’s.  When I found one that sounded interesting, I mentioned it to a friend. Surprise! My friend went to graduate school with the hiring manager in the very department where the job was posted! We ended up having coffee with the hiring manager, who helped me understand the job of an Associate Study Director.  The position involved working with customers, including large Pharma companies, to design, create, and breed mouse models for scientific projects.  I could easily see myself using my molecular biology training in a customer service oriented job.  I was also excited by the new contacts I’d make and training opportunities the job provided.  

I decided to apply for the job, and I was offered the position! This was a great way to learn how science works within a business and an easier postdoc to job transition than I had envisioned. My advice to the postdocs going through the job search: Don’t stick it out for 4 to 6 years in a postdoc without a plan! Don’t become complacent. If you want to change the direction of your career, there is no time like the present to start preparing for your next step! 

Come join me and my husband -- Jeffrey Harder, Postdoc at The Jackson Laboratories -- in the Natapow Conference Room (1-9545) October 6th at noon for a URBEST Career Story and pizza.            

Tracey Baas | 10/3/2017

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