The past two years, after my long term consulting jobs wrapped up, I found myself more than a bit dispirited. While “engaged,” my days were packed. Up at 5 am to do conference calls to Europe or Asia. Or up all night working on training slides. Hopping on planes to Paris, Madrid, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Singapore. Sounds great, doesn’t it. Except a typical day on the road started at 7 or 8 am, and ended at 8 pm, then back to the charms of a Residence Inn or other mid price hotel, to do emails and phone calls.
After days away, I returned home to the “drudgery.” At least at hotels, the sheets and towels are washed and cleaned, and I don’t have to fold laundry. Coming home, there was laundry from the trip, laundry from the house, and the requisite half hour clearing the “science experiments” moldering in the recess of the refrigerator. You know…the Chinese food containers from two weeks ago, the 5 slices of French bread from dinner out last weekend, and something in a Tupperware container that might be the cure for multiple drug resistant streptococcus (still goes in the garbage). Oh, the glamour of it all. Communicating with the East Coast, starting at 6 am and running full tilt until 3 pm. And then the realization that I was still in my pajamas, with my face pale and bare, and my hair looking like something from “Fright Night.”
But with the projects wrapped up, somehow the day now dawns and dwindles away. Damned if 3 pm rolls around, and I am still in the house and still in my pajamas. It is almost as if I was tethered to the computer and the phone, unable to break away, unable to unchain, unable to unplug. Call it torpor, call it inertia, call it paralysis. Call it unemployment! I am having all kinds of trouble reconditioning myself. Get out of the house! Do something! Do anything!!!
I do not do nothing well. I have worked since I was 14. I worked all through college, and through the first two years of medical school. I worked every summer. I did solo practice for 15 years, and was on call 24/7. I work…that is what I do. That is who I am. I don’t live to work. I just work…
I don’t do “not work”. I have tried to find a hobby. I don’t do hobby. I did tile mosaics (un-grouted 1 year later). I made quilts (pieced together, but still unstitched). Bought the stuff to paint a collage (the canvas is still blank). I pulled out old knitting projects I started 10 year ago, but somehow they are all too small. (Someone must have put them in the dryer when I wasn’t home – or someone added 20 lb to my body when I wasn’t looking. Gee, can you imagine that?)
So I started “networking,” looking for a professional home while at home. I found a panoply of networks in the place called “Biotech Bay” – academic groups, business associations, special interests groups. And many offer special opportunities and supports for students and junior colleagues. Here are just a few with attenuated mission statements. Most are women’s groups (apologies to the guys).
of Women in Science (AWIS)
In 1971, at the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) (see more at http://www.faseb.org/#sthash.2DCuIJMG.dpuf) flyers were posted inviting women scientists to a champagne mixer and meeting to encourage the exchange of ideas and solutions to overcoming job discrimination, lower pay, and professional isolation. Those 27 women who took the initiative to make science a better place for women founded the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), today’s premiere leadership organization advocating the interests of women in science and technology. We unite women through our nationwide network of chapters and partnerships with aligned professional organizations.
in Bio (WIB)
Women In Bio is an organization of professionals committed to promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship of women in the life sciences. WIB was established in 2002 to help women entrepreneurs and executives in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia area build successful bioscience-related businesses. Today, WIB aims to serve all women in the bioscience industry. WIB conducts professional development programs, workshops, and seminars; organizes networking opportunities with investors, attorneys, researchers and executives in fields such as finance, marketing, human resources, and communications; and holds exciting social events.
2 WIB-Greater Boston
5 WIB-Greater Montreal
7 WIB-Research Triangle Park (RTP)
8 WIB-San Francisco Bay Area
9 WIB-Seattle Metro
10 WIB-Washington DC/Baltimore
Young Women In Bio (YWIB) is part of the Women in Bio (WIB) organization, a professional organization committed to promoting career development, leadership and entrepreneurship among women in the life sciences. YWIB is a special initiative of WIB, designed to introduce school-age girls to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. For questions, please contact [email protected]
Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association is the
premier catalyst for the leadership development of women in healthcare
They further the advancement and impact of women
in healthcare worldwide. The HBA accomplishes this by:
● Providing educational opportunities to develop
cutting-edge industry knowledge and leadership skills
● Recognizing outstanding women in the industry
● Providing opportunities for networking, creating
greater visibility for individuals in the industry, and fostering mentoring
● Serving as a conduit for research on career
Indeed, the HBA has become a powerful instrument
for effecting change, from advancing careers to maximizing personal potential.
in Life Sciences (WILS) at UCSF
Women In Life Sciences (WILS) is a UCSF registered campus organization dedicated to fostering an environment to support women at UCSF by organizing networking, mentoring, and career-building activities. We promote a healthy balance between work and personal life as well as support early career women scientists. We focus on providing a safe and supportive community at UCSF for both men and women. The entire UCSF community is welcome to attend all meetings and events.
topical forums I found in the Silicon Valley (there are many more):
Gate Polymer Forum (GGPF)
GGPF is a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to the study of polymeric materials and devices. Our participants are individuals working in both industry and academia, and sponsor monthly polymer forums in the San Francisco Bay Area. All interested in the study of polymers are welcome to attend. In addition to our monthly forums, we sponsor semi-annual polymer symposiums, and an email distribution list. Please visit our event archives or view future scheduled events.
MedTech Frontiers is a continuing series of free events for medical device and life science investors, entrepreneurs, and technologists. Please join us for evenings of food, conversation, and presentations by Silicon Valley luminaries held on the first Thursday of each month.
other groups that might be of interest since they offer special student
of Women Engineers (SWE)
For more than six decades, SWE has given women engineers a unique place and voice within the engineering industry. Our organization is centered around a passion for our members’ success and continues to evolve with the challenges and opportunities reflected in today’s exciting engineering and technology specialties.
We invite you to explore the values, principles, and priorities that guide our initiatives and learn how together, WE can continue to make a lasting impact on the future.
Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 29,900 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 College, Pre-College, and Technical Professional/Alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) http://sacnas.org/
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to
fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American
scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees,
careers, and positions of leadership in science. SACNAS student chapters are a great way to get involved with and
stay connected to SACNAS. With over 72 SACNAS chapters nationwide you can be a
part of SACNAS on a local level.
With a few key strokes, and some creative
searching, you will be able to find groups in your locale that provide the
chance to socialize with colleagues, find mentors, and make connections that might help identify job opportunities after you