Typical day on the job:
- Communication: email, phone, face-to-face conversation, meetings (20%)
- Writing: papers, proposals, formal letters, etc. (25%)
- Lab work: preparing samples, experiments, operating instruments, troubleshooting equipment (30%)
- Reading: papers, books, etc. (10%)
- Data analysis: assigning NMR spectra, looking over results (10%)
- Other: thinking about things, giving tours, giving presentations, supervising students, etc. (5%)
I have my own office with a door and window, and several shared laboratory spaces.
I work a standard work week. On top of that, I usually work on my computer at home or come back to the lab to keep experiments running in the evening or on weekends. Sometimes it is relaxed, other times it is fast paced and stressful. Overtime is not required formally, but it is required from a practical standpoint.
Tools you can’t live without:
NMR spectrometers, most common components of a biochemistry and molecular biology lab, and many different software programs.
Best productivity trick:
I try to tell myself "do it now" when I think of something that needs to be done. I also have found a way to make doing most of my work seem enjoyable to me rather than a dreaded chore.
Best career advice you’ve received:
I remember not specific advice I received from mentors, but the compelling examples they set as career scientists, which I still try to emulate.
Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:
I simply enjoy thinking about structures of molecules.
Essential habit you wish you’d started earlier:
I've become better at filtering information that I need to remember from that which I don't. I've also developed the skill of speaking with authority about those topics in which I actually have some degree of expertise.
Favorite ACS resource:
The ACS journals, particularly the back issues. If you have a molecule you’re interested in, it’s important to understand the literature and know what’s already been done. I’m old enough to remember going to the library—it’s a mile away!—to look for back issues. ACS makes it so easy to search old issues of JACS and more.