The thought of transitioning into your professional life can be daunting at times. What is expecting me on the other side? Am I going to be happy? Will it be easy? How much am I going to make? If you add into the mix the question of “do I stay in academia? Am I a failure if I don’t?”, it can become an overwhelming and paralyzing place to be, emotionally. In today’s episode, Liliana Vitorino shares with us how she crossed this ford and what factors were important for her at the moment of taking hard decisions along her journey. She also talks about her experience getting into industry and growing professionally in this space.
Liliana has a PhD in microbiology from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, in Portugal, and is currently an international product manager for a medical devices company. Travelling a lot, working nonstop but having fun along the way and always with time for friends and family. Liliana believes that the difficult things are what challenge us to grow!
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- How life events and paradigm changes can impact key choices in your life, and how accepting them can help you navigate these transitions
- Why you should allow yourself to try new professional avenues at transition points in your academic path
- How opportunities that feel underwhelming can be steppingstones to better ones and eventually lead you to your ideal job
- The concept of a career development plan as used in industry
- Particularities of the industry team culture
- Why as a PhD you’ll be a great asset in a team in industry
- How to manage your expectations in terms of pay when you’re transitioning
- Entry-level salaries in Europe for your first post-PhD industry job
This episode’s pearls of wisdom:
“You need to train yourself and be curious if you’re moving into this field. Read books about marketing… Even now that I’m moving more towards a managing position, listening to podcasts about management, marketing. You need to be always up to date on all the topics.”
“One good thing about being in industry is that there is a clear career path that they set for you and they discuss with you, and they put in your development plan: what are the gaps that I have for this job and for the future and how can I overcome those, right? And how can the company help you develop overcome those gaps.”
“What we need to have is an opportunity to sit with an interviewer and show him or her all the skills that we have or that we acquired during our PhD, because it’s so common for people to think that if you are doing a PhD or if you are doing research, that you are a crazy scientist who lives in a bubble.”
“During the PhD, we deal with so many different stakeholders, we also need to influence our colleagues, our bench buddies, to help us, to discuss. Even if it’s only our project and our colleagues in front of us are working on other projects, we don’t work in silos.”