I'm a Master of ...
From December 17th to basically 7am yesterday, I've been knee-deep in a federal grant proposal. I have a very special relationship with federal grants, especially one's that give you a 'grade', and more particularly this specific grant. I'll share more details on this grant IF we get funded (pray for me)! For all of my readers who have experienced the chronic stress of a federal proposal, you'll understand why this week's blog post is a day late. So here we are.
According to Daniel Pink, "Human beings need three things to be happy in their work: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
It takes growth, self-investment and dedication to become a master at anything, gifted or not. It also takes time to earn a level of recognition that aligns with your mastery. I recently discussed the process of defining your purpose, check it out here. Since I often refer to my current job as my 'dream job' in part because of the autonomy I have to re-write my job description on a continuous basis, I've allowed myself the time and opportunities to focus on increasing my mastery in many different areas. This goes way beyond going 'back to school' or the letters MPH and PhD that you'll find behind my name. For me, it's more along the lines of continuing education opportunities, through reading, webinars, attending conferences/trainings. I love an inspirational Ted Talk, random but relatable LinkedIn articles, or even the occasional HarvardX course within the edX platform.
In the interim, I recommend tracking your progress using one of my favorite tracking tools, my Curriculum Vitae. There is an ongoing debate between those that prefer CV's, and those that prefer Resume's - and different fields lean more towards one over the other. As a scholar-practitioner I personally lean more towards the CV end of the spectrum. I try to encourage people to update their CV on a quarterly basis, and let's be honest, if 3 months goes by and you have NOTHING to add to your CV, I'm judging you! Sorry to be harsh, but professional development and growth is your responsibility and you should aspire to grow in at least 4 areas annually. Consider talking about this with your supervisor as you outline your SMART Goals for the year. Once again, mastery takes growth, self-investment and dedication.
This quarter, I've been working on my mastery of federal funding and I have started tracking my successful grant applications on my CV. I recently met someone who told me that she tracks both successful and unsuccessful grants on her CV because it shows her tenacity ... I'm not there yet and to be honest I don't really know how I feel about tracking my losses, but to each his/her own. The other plus to consistently updating your CV/Resume is that you're always ready and available for a new employment opportunity or collaborative partnership. I tend to network a lot, not just for myself, but for people in my network. There have been instances where I've identified a job opportunity for someone and will text them in the middle of the night asking them to forward me their resume ASAP. If I'm putting my neck out there for you, you better be ready. Many large funding bodies also request CV's from all investigators connected to the project. When a collaborator either at the state or a level 1 research institution contacts me to write me into a proposal, my CV (and NIH bio-sketch) are set to go! You do not want to be that person delaying a project/proposal because your paperwork is not in check.
So, what are you working on become a Master of? Sometimes, it really is about more than those letters after your name.