An interview with Tania Biswas, Ph.D.
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
Saptashati Tania Biswas, Research Laboratory Manager, Nebraska Water Center at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 4 months
Can you describe what a typical day at your job looks like?
I perform a variety of duties every day and any typical day is busy with the following activities: interacting with clients, managing day to day lab operations, co-ordination of analytical services, sample workflow, training students on lab equipment, developing quality assurance plans, developing business plans, expanding the research scope of the lab, promotion and outreach activities etc.
What is your biggest or most satisfying career goal you’ve reached since transitioning into industry?
I am still in academia, but in a managerial position where my work directly contributes to the growth and success of our lab. Being involved in the business development side of the lab is also very satisfying.
What’s been your biggest learning experience or Ah-Ha moment since transitioning into your new role?
I always worked as a student or a postdoc in the lab and never realized the business side of things. Running a lab is like running a business (with a lot of similarities with running a restaurant for example). There were plenty of AH-ha moments as to why in my previous labs, things were done in a certain way.
How is your current industry position different from your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
I am more in charge of my professional successes or failures. I get to make important decisions on a daily basis.
If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Don’t be so pessimistic about life. You never know where the next opportunity will come from. Don’t waste time by being sad and unproductive no matter the situation ( it is a hard example to follow)
What was the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
Organizing the Environmental Sciences Cheeky Virtual meet ups. I met some like-minded Cheekies and it was such a powerful experience sharing stories with each other, that only PhDs in interdisciplinary sciences can relate to. All the Cheeky meet ups, whether virtual or real has been very special, and made me feel more confident and positive about my job search.
What do you see as the next step in your career?
I still have the option to continue on an academic path as an independent PI or join a research laboratory in a supervisory position. I am getting a lot of training and experience in both these areas.
How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
I am still quite active in the group and try to listen to the webinars. It will be great of there would be more videos on navigating careers after 1st transition. Having a support group for Cheekies who have made their first transition but would like to move to another position will be very helpful.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest takeaway(s) you’d like to share with those who are still executing their job search?
Keep calm. Be positive. Work through the modules. Keep networking. Get a hobby that will make you interact with people outside your lab (community services).
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Tania, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.
Isaiah believes that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life right now, you should make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.