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This is the Happy Scientist Podcast.
Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive,
and more satisfied in the lab.
You can find us firstname.lastname@example.org slash Happy Scientist.
Your hosts are Kenneth Vo, founder of the Executive Coaching Firm,
Vera Claritas, and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD,
bioscientist and Founder Bite-Size Bio.
Hello, this is Nick Oswald. Welcome you to this bite-size bio webinar,
which today is a live episode of the Happy Scientist Podcast.
As we always say, if you want to become a happier, healthier,
and more productive scientist, you are in the right place. With me, of course,
is the bite-size teams, Yoda or Confucius. Confucius or Mr.
Miyagi. Mr. Kenneth Vote.
We hear from Ken mostly on principles that will help shape you for a happier and
a more successful career. And along the way,
I'll pitch in with points from my personal experience as a scientist and from
working with Ken during this, uh, doing this live.
Ken takes me back to when we started the Happy Scientists Happy Scientists
Podcast back in May, no March, 2020, when lots of people,
when lots of people had to begin working from home for the first time in their
And we decided to launch a Happy Scientists webinar to help them cope with that.
That eventually morphed into a podcast and to here we are today,
62 episodes later on today's topic,
which will be the most effective way to expand and protect your own
interests. It's come a long way again.
Yeah, it sure has. And it was funny too, the way, as you mentioned,
the way it started,
people were just aching for what do I do? You know,
and you know, it was understandable. People had been in the lab, their,
their whole career, and all of a sudden now they're supposed to work from home.
Uh, it didn't even make sense, it seemed, but you know, y'all worked it out.
We're proud of y'all. You did fine.
You took care of yourself and great.
So now I want to talk more about that idea of taking care of yourself,
taking care of your own interests.
We do want you to be able to expand your career. The, and we want you to,
to be happy and, and, uh, effective as you do it. The, the,
the question about that is though, how do you protect yourself?
Because even though there's a lot of cooperation in science,
there is also some competition. And even if it's good nature competition,
there's competition for resources, competition for attention. There's,
there's all kinds of things that you need to worry about that have to do with
your own interests. And you may be wondering, well, if I don't worry about it,
who, who will?
So we can start off then with this idea of,
is it all about me? You may remember emperor sco from, uh,
the Emperor's New Groove, and he was so self-absorbed, so narcissistic,
so selfish that, you know, everything was a disaster for him. I mean,
he got turned into a llama. It's terrible.
And you may remember too, if you're old enough, back in the eighties,
in the eighties, there was actually a book called Looking Out for number one.
It was a best seller. Um, you know, personal,
personal achievement, self-help kind of book,
looking out for number one. I mean, it's, it's almost a rude comic,
but, you know, here's the thing. It's not the eighties anymore.
And the notion of looking out for number one is an old school.
It's old hat. 'cause frankly,
the eighties proved that that didn't work very well.
If you made it all about yourself and you assumed everybody else would make it
all about themselves, everybody's gotta take care of number one,
themselves being number one. Um, it, it just,
it just didn't, it didn't come together. And in, in a,
in a field like, like bioscience where cooperation is,
is truly necessary. And you can see how that just, that couldn't work.
It didn't work, it didn't work in all kinds of different places.
It didn't work in education. It didn't work in business. Um,
and it insurers wasn't gonna work in the lab. But now, here's the thing.
If you're not looking out for you, who is, I mean,
how do you take care of yourself? If if no one,
no one else is gonna make me a priority? Well, I don't.
I have to make me a priority. You know? So that's,
that's the first thought we may have now,
so we can then ask the question. If it's,
if it then is serving others versus serving yourself,
how do you make that work? I need to have some kind of card up my sleeve.
I gotta have some way of,
of making sure I'm taking care of myself if I'm in a situation where it's
versus, well, the thing is,
you don't necessarily have to be selfish to take care of yourself.
And the reason you don't have to be selfish to take care of yourself is,
is this card up, up the sleeve that I'm gonna talk about here as we go on. Um,
so, so give, you know, bear with me a moment. Let me,
let me make the case for the fact that you don't have to circle the wagons
around your own little kingdom to, to make sure you're safe.
You don't have to put up the draw bridge, you don't have to put in a moat,
none of that stuff. You can, you can be engaged with others,
and yet you're still gonna serve yourself. So does that sound desirable?
I hope the answer is yes.
Is that for me? Yes.
Alright, so, but now let's, let's start off with the, with the, the,
the fun part. Why serve yourself? Why should you do this?
Why should you bother to take care of yourself? Well, yeah, you,
because at first blush, you may think, well,
isn't wouldn't that just be selfish or, or maybe myopic? Um,
or is, is that being too limited in my view?
You know, but you really do have to take care of yourself because as we,
as we mentioned earlier, they did get the one thing right in the eighties.
If you don't take care of yourself, nobody else probably will.
So it's gotta be in the mix. But the fact is,
you can't demand others respect you if you don't
first respect yourself.
So sometimes people just give themselves away and they don't,
they don't, can't understand why people don't reciprocate. Well,
because you've demonstrated that you're of no value.
Why should they treat you as being a value?
So let me add onto that then. What about the other side? Well,
if I need to take care of myself, why should I be bothering to serve others?
I mean, doesn't serving others fatally deplete you? But here's the thing,
serving others actually serves you.
And now that may sound like, um, a contradictory statement,
but it's not you. As you serve others,
you see how to serve yourself When you,
when you take care of things that will matter to other people,
you'll get clarity about what matters to you. You'll also see, well,
I see what I need in this situation.
And it tells you how to ask for the things you need.
Because whereas people may not be thinking about you and
putting you first, they're not all monsters. You know,
if you let 'em know what you need, if you communicate about that,
well then they have the chance to,
then they have the chance to serve your needs. And, and they realize too,
that if you're doing things for their benefit,
and now you turn around and say, and by the way, I would like some help on this.
Like, you can see people snap too on that. Like, oh yeah,
I should do that 'cause this guy is really good to me. Um,
I wanna make sure he keeps doing that. So, oh, he want,
he wants this little thing. Well sure, I'm gonna help with that. So that,
that's, that's why, why you should also be serving others
in support of serving yourself. So I,
I hear you chomping at the bit back there, Nick.
No, I'm just thinking of as if we're trying to put this into a,
a lab setting and, and I suppose it's a,
it's a vicious circle can easily be set up. Whereas if you, if you get more,
if if you get a bunch of people and they're mostly serving
only themselves, then people will tend to be more protective.
And so, and then that's a downward spiral, isn't that? Exactly.
So, and so, even if you're in a scenario where that feels like it's the case,
you can be part of setting that spiral upwards by just kind of going
against the flow,
being helpful and sticking out as the person who wants to help other people.
Mm-hmm. And then, um, and then they're more likely to help you.
So it does serve you in the end. It's not completely, as you'd said earlier,
it's not completely giving yourself away, you know, it's Right.
And it's also not doing it with the requirement to, uh, to, um,
let other people serve you back. It's just being of service.
And then it will just naturally flow back the way, I guess.
Exactly. And it's, you might think, well, you know, I'm, I'm too junior in,
in the operation for that to work. There's no such thing.
It doesn't matter if you it, it will cause you to stand out. So, I mean,
that's supportive of your, of your career just right there. If nobody helps you,
but you are, you have the reputation of being the person who helps everyone,
that's still gonna be good for you. Yeah. And you know,
sometimes you gotta look at it too. It's like you can get what's good for you,
um, maybe in, in, in way number one,
but maybe not way number two, or maybe way number one is not available.
But there's another way that it could be of some value to you.
So don't necessarily look,
look at this to win all the time because this isn't about winning and losing.
And that kind of brings me to my, my next point. Um,
you've probably heard the, the term life is a zero sum game.
Um, and that came from economics. Um,
the idea being that there's a pie to divide up and, you know,
once it's divided up, all the pieces are passed out. That's it, it's gone.
And therefore I want more of the pie, you know? So,
but if I get more of the pie,
then you get less of the pie and everybody's jockeying for position on that.
the thing about it is that that is even not necessarily true in
economics, but it is certainly not true in life.
But it is compelling this idea that there are limited resources.
And there, the, the pool is finite,
but what that is, is a scarcity point of view. Now, there,
there are certain things that are scarce. You know,
there may be a very expensive piece of equipment in your lab that you literally
have to book time on because it could, you know, there, it's only got,
there's only 24 hours in a day that it can be used. And, and,
and if you don't get on the schedule, you don't get to use it.
Now you might look at that and say, see, that proves it's a zero sum game.
Like no, it's a zero sum game for that piece of equipment.
But that's not the whole picture. So,
and there are still ways to do deals with that. You know,
if you come to somebody and say, I really need this resource. And then,
and they tell you, well, you know,
my suggestion to you is book that two weeks in advance.
'cause that generally it's open for that long. Great.
You can follow that advice or you can let it and go, okay,
I didn't have the opportunity to do that, but maybe I can, maybe I can,
I can negotiate with somebody who's already got it booked. And, and again,
it comes down to, okay,
well what can I do for you so that you can do this thing for me? Yep.
It still works out. You, you still have the opportunity.
A lot of it comes down to your, what kind of thinking you bring to it.
If you bring an abundant way of thinking to, to,
uh, whatever you're dealing with in this situation,
you'll find the things that looked finite get bigger.
And sometimes they, they no longer look finite,
or at least from a practical standpoint, they're no longer finite. It's like,
you know, I will be able to have access to X whenever I want. I can get,
you know, Sally, Joe or, or Billy, Billy Bob to,
to help me on any project anytime I want. Because,
'cause I've put in the, the lead time to make sure that they're available to me.
And, you know, whether that lead time has to do with, well they're, they're, um,
interns and I just gotta make sure the person who staffs interns is,
is friendly to me. Or maybe it's about, okay, these are,
these are experienced people, but because I've,
I have sowed the seeds of them want wanting to
keep me happy that, that, uh,
well then you have access to those kinda of resources. And sometimes the,
sometimes you gotta put in a, a fair amount of effort into that.
Sometimes you have to cultivate relationships.
Sometimes you have to pay upfront even well in advance
to get someone to pay you back later. But if you know, if you,
and if you prepare for times when you know you're gonna have needs,
then you'll have that to call on. When, when it, when that,
when that an emergency arises or when,
when you really need to have all hands on deck for something,
you gotta get in front of that stuff. And again, you might look at that and go,
well, that's not serving me. I gotta do all this extra work up front.
It is absolutely serving you. And on top of that,
it's serving others because you're,
you're paying in in service to others.
So as you have a place to withdraw service to self after the fact,
It's, it's quite a, it's quite a balance though, isn't it?
There's quite a nuance here to this because if you,
if you set out to serve others just so you can get service back,
then it's not gonna work.
'cause then people feel that's manipulating the situation,
Right? Yeah. You have to legitimately serve others upfront.
It's, it's, it's an orientation. It's be open to helping and, you know, you,
you know those people, I can think of people I know that like that Oh yeah.
It's being open to helping and it's being open to, you know,
look after yourself, um, and um,
but also be open to looking after the people that are around you. Um,
being open to that. And then what you're talking about here,
the benefit back is a side effect of that. It's not the,
it's not the reason you do it. That's not
The primary objective. Yeah. Okay. You, you still see the,
that serving others should be part of the mix for you.
The mix for you too. You know,
it's valuable to you to be that way and you can't fake it. You know,
you can't like, Hey, didn't I bring donuts last week,
therefore you owe me five hours worth of work this week. You know? Yeah.
That, that doesn't look like, it's, it's funny,
I have seen so many people around me doing that, where they go, well,
I've been putting in for ages and I, you know, I, I, um,
know they helped and they helped and then, and then they,
at some point they don't feel like they're getting back what they think they
should for what they've put in. And we don't like it.
But it's that, that's not the way to look at it.
'cause the way it's coming back to you might not be the way you expect.
Right. Exactly. And two, it could also be, it could come down to you.
You wouldn't think I have been,
I have been silently giving and giving and giving. But if you don't,
if nobody really noticed, knows about it, nobody's really noticed.
Maybe the problem is you didn't communicate it.
Maybe you didn't let people know that, hey,
I've been doing this for your benefit. Is that, do you find it a benefit?
'cause sometimes you think,
you think you're doing something of benefit for others.
And when you ask them about it, they're like, I really don't care about that.
Yeah. It doesn't really help me. Well, now you think you've been paying in,
you're not paying anything in.
Yeah. That's, that's interesting. Or you're not making clear what you want.
Yeah. It's one of those, it's a very,
it's it's a kind of soft focus sort of thing.
This isn't it as so many of these things out.
Well, you know, and this, this doesn't have to be all that hard.
This isn't hocus focus here. Mm-hmm. I mean, because it,
it just comes down to bothering to think about things from someone
else's perspective and bothering to communicate to make sure that that
your picture was correct. You know, get it is just like any, any other lab test,
you have a hypothesis, test it. Yeah. And get data back.
And now you can, you can start drawing conclusions.
But if you're drawing conclusions, if all you've done is,
is having a hypothesis,
you didn't bother to collect any data and now you're drawing conclusions,
come on. You know better. Yeah. And some,
I think some people probably have gotten into certain fields 'cause they'd
prefer to just be heads down and not have to deal with a lot of people. And,
um, and yeah. If, if that is,
that is where you naturally come from,
you may not automatically do this kind of thing.
So that's why we're suggesting it here. We're suggesting get engaged,
have some tactical communication that you do on purpose to,
so that you can see the feedback that's useful. Now,
if you're somebody who's more naturally, you know, social and demonstrative,
I'm sure you're hearing all this going. This is, anybody would know this so,
well, everybody doesn't know this. But it is important too that,
that you don't just see things from your own viewpoint. Like, well,
I thought it was really nice that I brought donuts, you know, sorry,
nobody cared. Half the people are on a diet. It's not great. You know,
so make sure that you're doing things that,
that are of value to others so that when it comes time to cashing that
your chips, that you could say, okay, it's fair. Yeah. You know,
I did this and this, you told me how valuable it was to you. Like, okay,
the time has come, I really need your help. I,
I I need to call on you this favor. And, and that's fine.
And when you're doing that kind of thing too,
it is good to recognize that you're not putting a gun to anyone's head.
What you're, you're still asking, you're not demanding. It's like I did for you.
Now by golly, you're gonna do for me. No, no. It's like I,
it's fine to remind them, Hey, I did this and this for you.
Now the time has come. I really need some help. Can, can you do this for me?
And so even if you are the boss of somebody,
sometimes you think when you're the boss, you don't ask, you tell.
There is nothing that stops you as the boss from asking
somebody to do something. It doesn't hurt anything.
You don't lose any authority. And it's just treating people with,
with kindness and people respond to kindness.
And when you ask somebody, Hey, would you mind doing X, Y, z?
It gives them a chance to say, well,
that us a problem that maybe you weren't aware of. You know, I, I've already,
you've already asked me to do A, B, C, I don't have,
I don't have any bandwidth right now for this. Or, or I can do it,
but I can't do it till next week. Or That's fine. You know,
you wanna have those kind of conversations. That's again,
'cause then you're getting new data that maybe data you didn't even know you
needed. So it's very much helpful. And of course that serves you.
If you're in a situation where you are pushing subordinates to the point
of breaking and they can't get things done, you know,
that ultimately will impact you. Now that really hurt that,
that will hurt your career is you can't meet your objectives. You know?
it's still serving you to be nice to people and to to,
to ask rather than order.
It's, it's interesting. There is, there is a culture in some, some, uh,
labs. Let's see where, um,
you don't tell the sub what your subordinate,
you don't ask the subordinates what to do. You tell them. And in fact,
it's a bit of a badge of honor to do that. Mm-hmm.
And to be able to do that so that when you're that subordinate and then you grow
up into, you know, you are up to the next, you have someone under you,
then you carry on because it's actually seen as kind of a weakness to not do
That's kind of an example of that downward spiral I was talking about earlier
on. Where, where you,
it is just conti. It's just continuing the, the risk of, um,
the behavior that doesn't actually help because there's nothing worse than,
there's nothing more likely to turn someone off from wanting to be, to do well,
uh, in your lab or in, you know,
working under you than to just be kind of,
um, what's the word? Un well unkind to them for for right,
for a better word. Yeah. Well that's what you mentioned.
The word you used earlier was kindness. So mm-hmm. Again,
it's about just tilting that spiral back up the other way and going, okay,
well it's not gonna do any,
it doesn't cost anything to be kind to people to think about their point of
view, to think about what they need to ask them for, you know,
to do things rather than tell them,
telling them to take their feedback and so on.
Yeah. And you know, you used the word culture a moment ago,
and so, you know, we,
we've got international group of people that listen to the podcast.
And you may be sitting there saying, well, maybe in America,
or maybe in the uk you could do it that way. But here in this culture,
that's not how it's done. Um, and, and so, you know,
we're not in any way trying to impress upon you some other macro
culture, but it's like, um, it's just like with climate,
climate can be broadly stated to be certain ways, but there are micro climates.
This valley's got a little bit different climate than the top of this,
this hill. Um, and culture is the same way.
There's no reason that if you find something here useful,
even if it seems like it would be countered to the typical broad culture you're
in, you can create your own little microculture.
Your group can operate a certain way if you find this useful. Now, we,
we present things to you and we're not saying that this is the truth of the
capital T and you have to do it this way. Or we're saying,
take what you can and,
and the things that you find useful and put 'em into practice.
'cause at the end of the day,
the stuff you learn about isn't really what helps.
It's the stuff you actually put into use.
That's what's gonna make all the difference. That's what's gonna impact,
impact your experience. It's gonna impact your satisfaction,
your accomplishment. Um, your,
your career advancement is gonna come from the things you've put into use,
not just the things. Yeah, I heard about that once, you know,
or I've heard about it 20 times, but still never done it. You know,
you don't wanna, you don't wanna put yourself in that space.
So, so here's another way to think about this.
At the beginning I talked about service to others versus service to
self. And if there's no versus there,
well, maybe others isn't the right word.
Maybe others is just,
there's service to you and in service to all service to everyone.
And it, it takes that contention out of it. And I,
I chose this particular slide because it's like each of us is one of these,
these little tiles at these tiles are, you know,
there's only a couple different shapes and there's a bunch of a
bunch of tiles here. But it all comes together. It all works as one.
Some of 'em are different colors than others.
And yet that makes it more interesting. It's, it,
it's visually interesting from a color standpoint, from a,
from a graphic standpoint. And that's just a sidewalk.
Imagine if you put people into this and what if you put
really smart people,
really well educated people and people that are really good at their jobs into
imagine what you get and you get to be a part of that,
and you get to benefit from it,
and you get to be supported by it all if, if you get out of the versus mode.
Did I hear something there, Nick? No, no, no. I was, I just said yes.
I just agree. So
the bottom line is, what we're seeking here is harmony.
You, it's, it's about service to the whole,
how do we make everything work for the benefit of everyone?
And I'm part of everyone. It's,
I don't have to give myself away so that it's good for everybody else.
You don't have to be a martyr. You don't have to sacrifice yourself. That's,
that is not, that's not sustainable. I mean,
if you martyr yourself for this,
you literally are no longer a resource for anybody. So you,
you stop serving others immediately. So you know, you don't need that.
So it gives you harmony is, is really the word. And I,
and I like the word harmony better than say balance.
Because the problem with balance,
balance is something that happens in a static environment. You know,
when you think about balancing something,
you usually have to hold still to balance it, right? But that's not life.
Life life is in motion. I mean, I'm talking to bioscientist,
nobody knows better than you, but life is about motion.
It's all about vibration. Everything, everything is constantly moving,
constantly changing. But when with something like harmony,
harmony is not, not bothered at all by movement. In fact,
if we think of it in terms of music, we needed to move. If,
if it wasn't for movement, there'd be no sound. You know? Um,
and if there was no movement, we wouldn't move to the next note,
to the next bar to, to the next verse. And, and that's the part that,
that we really like about it. It just, somebody,
somebody can pick up an instrument who's skilled with it,
and they can play a single note and just hold it and it's just blah.
And how long will that last before you're board, right?
And we want things to change. We want to be engaged with it all.
So that's, that is, is the takeaway from all this.
If you wanna serve yourself, serve the whole, you're part of the whole,
it's gonna work for you. It's gonna work for others, others are gonna,
are gonna help you. It's, it's an upward spiral.
And you can start that spiral. You can be,
you can be a force for good in that regard. And others,
when they see it working, they'll pick up on it and start doing it too.
Because again, we've already noted you're surrounded by smart people.
They'll get it and just show 'em by example. And,
and in the end you will serve yourself.
Yeah. So I've just written a note here about, you know, um, you know,
there are, or my, the, the summary of that,
this for me is that regardless of, of where you are and,
and what is going around you, you know, what your, your,
your professional situation is, or your domestic situation or whatever is,
is regardless of what's going on around us, to orientate yourself towards,
you're saying to orientate yourself towards service, to others, um,
kindness to others, service to all that's including you really. Um,
taking on others people,
people's perspectives and stating your own requirements regardless of
what's going on, you know, uh, uh,
then that will start to change the dynamic for you. Is that,
is that a fair summary?
That was a better summary than I would've gave.
That's, I just didn't wanna say, but I thought that's what I thought as well.
No, that was great.
Uh, okay, we have a few questions. Um, so, um,
we'll just get through those. So it's mostly about situations,
actually. So I feel constantly stress in my lab.
Everyone is out for themselves and it's difficult to get help from anyone.
What should I do in that situation?
Well, the, the, I think my, my first reaction to that is, is that really true?
Are you absolutely certain that's true? Because maybe you just had, you know,
you've had some bad experiences or maybe there was,
maybe there was one person who was a real problem,
but it's not necessarily everybody. So the first thing I would do is question,
question whether that's a valid observation. And if you realize,
you know what,
maybe there's this one person actually is all right,
or this one situation is, is pretty functional, you know,
you'll start to see some cracks in that, in that dark view.
But, uh, you know, the other side of it is if it's truly that way,
if it's really like that, maybe you need to find a different lab to be in.
'cause they're not all like that.
Yeah. Well, I, I would add a a,
a sort of middle step to that because it could be that you're in a very small
lab and, and there's not very, um, you know,
there not many places to go to try and find a different kind of, you know,
maybe everyone, there's a couple of people that like that.
But that's the whole lab.
The next step for me would be try and make those connections outs, you know,
in adjacent labs, if you know what I mean. Mm-hmm.
Find people there that can help and support you in whatever can help and support
that, that you need. Or you can start helping them and just, just sort of,
Yeah, that was where I was gonna go next. Yeah. But maybe it's that way.
Maybe you're making it that way. Well,
that's why don't you try and make it another way and give it a shot. You know,
what's the worst that could happen? It won't be any worse than it was.
Well, yeah. And if you go back to the, my amazing summary there,
it's regardless of the where you are,
start only taking yourself towards service to all,
which is service to others and service to yourself.
So regardless of that, or then regardless of what the,
the other people in the lab are doing, start doing that.
Keep doing that without expecting them to pay you back and see and, and,
and just make that the way you are. Yeah.
And then whether it's in this lab or in the next one,
then you will derive the benefit.
What you don't want to do is copy that behavior. If you think that that is, um,
what's going on, you don't want to then close yourself.
Right. Don't meet the lowest common denominator.
The other thing about,
it's if you end up being the only person who is helpful to others,
would that be so bad? Would that not be an improvement in, in your life?
You know, so don't if like, if it's gonna be, if I can't have it all,
I don't want anything that, that's not a great way to think.
I think that, uh, well, I think that a, a lot of what goes on, uh,
in some places anyway is that, that, you know, that eighties book that you said,
what was it looking out for number one or something? Yep. And that,
that mindset of that, that's the way to do it. I think that prevails in, in, in,
I don't know, it's not obviously not all of our signs,
but there are places where, where there's pockets of that happening and, uh,
where that that mindset is still there and it's still about,
it's still a rat race essentially. And, um, but,
but the way to behave in that is, is just to,
is just to turn the other way and go, okay, this is, this is how I, you know,
I'm one of the people that's, that's, that's, uh, changing that dynamic and
And that'll start to change.
And you know, at the end of the day,
it'll change at the pace that it'll change. But one thing's for sure,
change is ever present. So if you think, oh, it'll never be different,
come on. It's always gonna be different. It's gonna, but you know,
whether it's gonna change in 10 years or two days is isn't really
important. It's important is you get yourself pointed in the right direction.
and the steps to take will then reveal themselves to you.
You'll see opportunities. Um, but until you get involved,
you won't see the opportunities. You may look at this right now and go,
this sounds like a great idea. I have no idea how to implement it.
The way to implement it is keep it in front of you and look for the first
opportunity, and then make sure you do it. You gotta take action.
Take a, any, even a small step is better than no step. Yeah. You can,
you can way overthink this.
Yeah. It's interesting. That isn't, I just think that,
I was just laughing because there's so many of these things in this podcast or
those six 60 episodes that are there. They overlap. Obviously.
They're all different ways of looking at the effect,
essentially the same thing. And, and,
and the idea is here is that, is,
is is about a way to not even behave. It's a way to be, I suppose,
a way to, um, to conduct yourself that, that allows you to grow.
Right. And if you, if you are looking for ways to help each other, other people,
and just looking out, I don't wanna be a doormat.
Don't only look out for other people. Look out for yourself as well.
Otherwise you'll be trampled if you like. Um, but look out for,
make sure that you, it's all, that's why Ken's saying service to all.
So make sure you're looking out for yourself and other people.
Then you're growing.
If you choose the other way and copy the people that you think are,
are holding back from you or just looking out from themselves,
that's a smaller lifestyle. You won't grow in that. Certainly not as much. Yeah.
Your, your career will not expand. Yeah. We're not telling you here to,
to be saintly. We're telling, you know, unless you wanna be, you know,
we're not telling you not to be saintly,
but we're telling you just the practical,
this is what works as far as expanding your career.
Whether or not you care about it from a philosophical or
a moral standpoint or ethical standpoint isn't really the point.
It's about this is what works. So, you know, we're,
we're just trying to give you tools that'll help you have a happier career.
Cool. Okay. So how about getting more money? Here's another question. Well,
the picture with the pen and tailor with the pie, yes.
You see the high can keep getting bigger, but what about funding?
There's only a certain amount available that is a competition.
And I just have to look at for myself, yes or no.
Okay. Um, well the first thing is,
I did acknowledge that there are some zero sum games that does happen. Um,
but how about this?
Is it really merely looking out for yourself that you're going for funding?
And if you get it, somebody else won't.
Are you the only person who will be benefited if that,
if that grant comes through? You know, chances are you're not,
you're not the only person working on that project. Probably. Um,
it may benefit the organization you work for too.
You start to see the possibilities of what it could do for a bigger
group than just yourself. Now
maybe somebody else won't get the grant. 'cause you do. That's, I mean,
that's, that is unfortunate. Well, I say unfortunately,
that is just the way of the world,
but it doesn't mean that you're going in there and killing the other guys.
So you can take the grant, you know, it's,
or you're not trying to destroy anybody. You're not, you're trying,
not trying to take them down. Make the best case you can. And,
and one of the things that does for the others is it causes them to
have to make the best case they can. Exactly. And if they fail to do so,
hopefully they'll learn their lesson for the next time. You know,
so it still benefited them so you're not harming them that you got the funding
instead of them. So that's a good attitude to have. You know, don't, you know,
first, you know, it's, it's the Hippocratic Oath thing first, do no harm,
you know, um, 'cause and you don't know what benefit will come to others.
And by the way, if you fail to get the grant,
what are the learning points there for you?
How could we have done a better job applying for this? Maybe, maybe we,
we weren't a good fit for this particular funder or as good a fit as we could
have been. Um, you, you'll learn,
you will learn what's the best thing we can do here for, for our mission.
And if you have other people with you, well, you now are serving a, a larger,
a larger group to, to gain that insight and to,
to get those skills and to, to put that experience into practice.
So, you know,
I don't have an answer for how do you get every grant you apply for, you know,
boy, oh boy, that'd be, that'd be a million dollar idea more than that.
But it, but it is a matter of,
if you take every time you don't get a grant as a, as a stake in the heart,
you know, you gotta get outta that mode. You're, you're gonna,
you're gonna lose, you're gonna lose some competitions that way. That's,
that's just part of the game. Yeah.
I guess you
Gotta be ready to handle that.
Yeah. So the, the, I guess the attrition here in, in,
whether it's getting grant funding or,
or getting published or whatever,
the attrition is what drives the standard up effectively. Mm-hmm.
Because everything is a mechanism for driving of, of the system,
for driving the standard up. Right.
So, and hopefully you're in an environment where the standards are very high.
Yeah. But good for you for making it into that realm. But now you need to,
you need to earn your, um, remaining in that realm.
Yeah. It's not a perfect system, but it's a, it is a system. Yeah.
Well, and again, if you may,
you may in the course of your career help influence that system. Yeah. So,
but you will only be able to do so if you see the next opportunity to
make it better, to do better yourself. Yeah. And, and, and take action on it.
And then, then look for the next thing.
I mean, I guess that, that,
that expand that goes into another episode of how to deal with rejection,
really. And you know, and it's,
whether it's that you're looking for a job or looking for funding or looking for
a publication that is all about, it's all about what's,
how, how do you look it, do you look at it in the downward way of,
damn he got that grant and I didn't, or do you look at, okay, I have to do net,
I need to up my game here, or I need to look at this in a different way,
and then that serves the whole system.
Sure. Yeah. And maybe they're like, well,
I applied for a grant and I didn't get it. Well, why did you only apply for one?
That's not how this works. You know,
because you're demanding the well why should get every grant I applied for that.
Come on. That's not realistic.
I, I, okay. One last point on this is that you're talking about, you know,
you're talking about, uh, how to protect and expand your own interest,
but what you mentioned during the podcast was, uh,
service to all. Mm-hmm. And looking,
when you're doing a grant ser a grant application for funding or whatever it is
really, you, obviously you want the job or the grant. Mm-hmm.
But for the whole, for everyone as a whole,
it's important that the best application wins are, you know,
as far as this, as imperfect as the system is as far as possible. So serving,
so serving all doesn't mean you win every time. Hmm. So that's a Yeah.
And by the way, that's a,
If that's your aspiration, awesome. Make sure that you are, that well,
Exactly. Be the genius or be Yeah. Be the genius.
That's not a way to look at it. I, I mean, encourages you
To, in your zone of genius Yeah.
It yeah. Encourages you to stay at the top of your game,
which everyone needs that kind of feedback to,
to help them stay at the top of the game. Yeah. So, okay.
And losing sometimes is it tempers you, you know,
it, it strengthens you. It's, it's worth it to,
to try hard and lose sometimes. Yeah.
Okay. We have, unless anyone else wants to put in another question,
we have one last question. Okay. Um, for here, which is,
how do I take care of myself when,
when my boss boss is selfishly demanding that I serve him,
serve him by working long hours?
Well, there's a beautiful word in the English language that as far as I know,
it's in just about every language. That word is no. Mm-hmm.
Sometimes you've gotta say, no, I can't do that. I I don't have enough time.
I will not be able to meet this objective if I don't get,
you know, some, some relief here or get some extra resources.
You gotta start staying up for yourself too. And, and a,
a thing about a, a person that's really selfish, truly selfish,
they assume everyone else is that way too. Therefore,
if you mirror back to them that selfishness,
they'll completely understand that it will make sense to them. If you say,
I can't do that because X, Y, and Z, and if you want me to do that,
I have to have A, B, C.
That is actually what they would expect from somebody who is competent and
capable like themselves in their own estimation. You know, you, you,
so you gotta you gotta push,
you gotta push back sometimes you can't just lay down.
Yeah. And, and from a, from a boss perspective,
I would say that there's a examine,
are you having a, uh, examine to this person who's asking the question,
are you, does your boss know what the issue is here? Right?
Mm-hmm. Are you feeding back to them that these hours are too much for you,
that you have too much to do, or, or that this doesn't suit you or whatever.
Maybe you are. But if you aren't, then consider that.
One of the things I always say to people that are working under me is that I
need to feel the pain that you're feeling, or I'll think everything's okay.
And so you communicate either, um,
I, I ask people to communicate, communicate either by, um,
telling me that, you know, what the problem is,
or by, if there's too much work to do, um,
then it has to be that that work sounds a bit stupid, but it, it,
it has to be that that work is not done.
And I see it and I feel the pain of that work and go, why is that not done?
Well, I just don't have time. I cannot physically fit that in.
And so I either, either verbally or by demonstration,
I need to feel the pain of what's going on below so that I know
what their needs are and how those are impacting my needs if I overwork them.
Right. The the other thing about this too is you may be assessing their view as
selfish, but maybe they're just, they're focused on what their objectives are.
This, yeah. Um, it's di it's different If somebody's being abusive,
they're yelling at you, they're, you know, they're backstabbing you. I mean,
that's, that's a different game. Um, but I,
I'm assuming you're just talking about somebody that's hard to work with as
opposed to somebody who is, is should be reported to hr, you know?
Well, I mean, I get that's another way to look.
Say what I was saying there was that, um,
was that it's easy to look up and say, that person's being selfish,
they don't care about me. But if they don't know what the problem is, then,
then they can't solve it. Right? But the other side is, there are people around.
It could be that people are extremely pressured and they need, you know,
your boss is extremely pressure and they,
and they feel they need to put the pressure on you, right? Mm-hmm. And, uh,
either acutely or chronically. And, um, in that case,
that's a negotiation about, uh, the more, you know,
if you push me past this line,
it's I'm gonna fall for Cliff and I'm not gonna be able to do anything for you.
So that, that there's where it impacts your interest, you know? Exactly.
I'm not super human, but there are also lab, uh,
labs where it's just expected that you work.
And that's just regardless of what the workload is or anything like that,
it's just expected that you worked ridiculous hours that in that
case. So what, so what's the case there that you, you just,
I say what? Look for the advantages for yourself in that, okay,
how will it benefit me to really have my nose to the grindstone,
my shoulder to the wheel right now? Because especially if,
if you're young and you've got the energy, well,
maybe this is the time to get some experience under your belt. You know,
that's not a, not necessarily a bad thing.
Now I realize that can make it hard on, you know, your larger life,
but you put that into per perspective and say, you know, this is the time.
If there is ever a time in my life, I should do it. Now is the time. So,
you know, look to see is there actually advantage in it?
Maybe you've been overlooking that, maybe you've been thinking, yep, I'm, I'm,
you know, I'm not a kid anymore. I'm not partying all the time.
I actually do want to do this work. I I wanna get good at this. So, you know,
Okay. And just one last observation then,
um, with that is that, you know, and especially that,
that last comment from you there,
Ken brought home to me that we're talking about being aware of your interests
and everyone else's and other parts interests and doing what's needed
to serve them, if you like, but the, the,
the definition of their interest and your interest can be plastic. Mm-hmm.
So you look at your interests in one way or another. Um,
and when I was in the lab,
I really didn't like people telling me that I had to work, you know,
ridiculous hours on Saturday mornings and stuff.
And I didn't look at it in the way that you looked at it. I,
you just mentioned there.
I just looked at it and I had a fixed view of what that meant to me and what
that meant about the other person and, and so on. And that,
and that was rigid of me there. And, and, um,
so I wasn't serving the other person's interest,
the supervisor's interest. I was, I was really actually serving my own,
even though I thought. And so, yeah, that's, it's, it's not as,
it's interesting when you look at this that it's not as fixed as you think.
Sure. And then there's your short-term interest versus your long-term interest.
You have to think about their interests. Even your own interests are, there's a,
a competition going on. So Yeah.
But when it comes down is be aware of it. Be mindful. Yeah. That's interesting.
Your own own interest is plastic, as in,
is it the lazy you or is it the ambitious issue as well? And Yeah. Which,
which one do you want to, to serve? Yeah. Okay. That's all,
all. Yeah. Again, that's a wrap for this one. Yeah.
So thanks Ken for some wonderful insight and thank you,
the audience for listening, listening in,
whether that be live today or on demand.
We hope you find some benefit from the episode. Um,
you can look out for more live Happy Scientist episodes in the coming months.
You can find an listed either on events dot bitesize bio.com,
or on the Happy Scientist facebookPage@facebook.com slash
the Happy Scientist podcast. That's all that would work. Until then,
good luck in your research and goodbye from all of us at Bitesize Bio,
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