It’s one of my vivid memories from my first year at university. My friend Catherine waving her lab coat in the air shouting in her Brummie accent. “It makes me physically sick!”
Now Catherine was a straight-A chemistry student. While the rest of us were researching and scratching our heads at isomerism and organic reaction mechanisms, everything just clicked in her brain without trying. But after a few weeks she realised it wasn’t for her. She switched to English and Philosophy and never had to wear her lab coat or safety goggles again.
I thought of her when I attended a training event at the Museum of London and shuddered involuntarily as I walked past display cabinets housing chemicals. It looked just like one of the fume cupboards in our uni lab. Despite signing up for a Chemistry (and German) degree and thoroughly enjoying it, I did not like the 6 hours of lab work we did every week. I was too scared I was going to cause an explosion, mess things up. I got frustrated producing minuscule amounts of a powder after a long 2-week experiment.
The worst thing that happened? I got blisters on my fingers from a leaky burette.
So I wasn’t destined for a life in the lab. At least I knew that and diverted my focus away from the lab coats. It’s given me a great grounding and specialism to offer my clients. I’m more than happy to let you and your colleagues do the hard work and I’ll help spread the fruits of your research to new markets.
Is there anything that makes you shudder at work? Is it a necessary evil like managing your budget or could you delegate or swap tasks with a colleague?
And if everything is enjoyable but you’ve got too much on, here’s a tip: Ask your manager what they consider to be the most valuable task you could be working on. (If you work for yourself, switch positions at your desk and give it some thought). Then put 80% of your effort into doing that task really well. Your manager will be happy, you’ll be getting better results, and your job satisfaction will sky rocket.
I could get better at this too, but I’m getting there.
Oh, and if translating or writing in English isn’t one of those most valuable tasks, why not outsource it? My English Under the Microscope review service will give you an action plan that you can delegate or power through yourself.