Chemists in the Real World
With a double major in chemistry and philosophy, Nader Heidari was certainly headed for an interesting career. But when the time came to look for jobs, it was his extracurricular activities that sealed the deal.
“For all four years at the university, I worked at UCSB’s student paper, the Daily Nexus,” Heidari says. “I started out as a reporter and became a science writer because I loved to write stories about the research being done on campus. That allowed me to gain a lot of general knowledge, which I preferred over more specialization. I became the Science Editor, restoring the section in the paper and later expanding it to Science & Technology. I became the head of the copy desk and production team as well and managed the website and its staff before graduating.”
A chemistry professor introduced Heidari to C&EN. He applied for an open position after seeing the posting on the C&EN website.
Today, Nader Heidari is an assistant production editor at Chemical & Engineering News.
What's a typical day on the job like?
My team and I manage and edit the articles that will be in the week's issue of C&EN. Typically, we spend an hour or two each day in meetings and spend the rest of the time coordinating with the writers, editors, designers, Web team, and digital production staff to produce the magazine. We check art and structures to make sure they are correct and ensure that the style guides are followed. We also write articles for C&EN on occasion. As part of my work, I also program a variety of tools for use by the staff to make workflows smoother.
Are there any apps/software/instrumentation/tools that you can't live without?
InCopy, Word, a good text editor (vim, Sublime Text), SciFinder, red pens
Describe your work environment.
I work in an office that contains a computer, a large desk, and a whiteboard for fleshing out ideas.
Does your job follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule?
40-45 a week, the time spent is mostly contingent on the complexity of each week's issue and can vary greatly. The environment is relaxed on nonproduction days and much more fast-paced on days when pages will be sent to the printer, giving us a healthy dose of volatility.
What is your best productivity trick?
If you can get it done today, do it today.
What's the best career advice you've received?
Don't avoid any skill or task out of fear, mastery comes through practice and through tinkering. Especially do not fear any machine; computers are excellent tools and can make one's life easier if they are used correctly.
Do you have any special talents or traits that make you a great fit for your job?
I like challenges, a moderately fast pace, and I love news environments. I also read and write all the time and that fits in well with the requirements. I like to find ways to make processes faster and/or more precise, and I like exploring new technology.
What essential habit do you have now that you wish you'd started much earlier?
Organization. The faster the pace, the more it is needed.
What is your favorite ACS resource?
I use SciFinder often to verify structures.
Don't avoid any skill or task out of fear; mastery comes through practice and through tinkering."