• Question: How hard can your job be or can your job be annoying and do you get stressed?

    Asked by anon-349098 on 15 Mar 2023. This question was also asked by anon-349097, anon-357644.
    • Photo: Sharon Mithoe

      Sharon Mithoe answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      Hi – yes the job can be hard at times, sometimes the ideas that I have or the method I want to apply are difficult to draw conclusions from. Thinking carefully about the next step , repeating until I find a solution can be tough and at times stressful. Finding a result (good or bad) makes a day and is very rewarding

    • Photo: Alexandra Milliken

      Alexandra Milliken answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      I do get stressed, generally because experiments do not always go to plan. However, by seeing from what has gone wrong during an experiment, I can learn how to make them better next time round. When things get hard, sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from the work and look at it from a different angle, normally the solution will arise soon after.

    • Photo: Martin Vickers

      Martin Vickers answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      I’d like to say I never get annoyed or stressed, but I’d be lying. Although at times my job can be hard, often because of deadlines, I always manage to get everything done. To deal with stress, it’s good to have lots of friends, family (also pets) and hobbies to spend time outside of work doing the things you love. Even though I love being a scientist, it’s good to do other things too because too much of a good thing can make even the most enjoyable task horrible.

    • Photo: Phil Howell

      Phil Howell answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      It can be tough. Field experiments, no matter how well you plan them, sometimes don’t work because of the weather. Sometimes there’s a lot to do and not really enough time to do it so you end up working longer to get it done. I don’t often have summer holidays because that’s the busiest and best time to be in the field.
      It can also be dispiriting at times when you have a great idea and explain it to the people who fund science but they don’t award you any money (it can be really competitive – only 20-30% of grants usually get funded) and you have to start again

      But you learn to cope with this. Being able to switch off is important: I find spending time with friends & family, cooking, being outside, sports and exercise are all really helpful. Having supportive colleagues who understand and are happy to talk to you about things also helps.

    • Photo: Caroline Stone

      Caroline Stone answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      I definitely get stressed sometimes. Usually scientists are really motivated and personally invested in working on their project, and so when it doesn’t work it can be demoralising. Usually I can overcome it by taking a break and approaching it from another angle, and talking to my colleagues, friends, or family for encouragement.

      Even if you didn’t get a positive result, you can still take pride in carrying out the experiment rigerously and being sure of your negative result. This is still useful information for other scientists to have, otherwise they might waste their time by trying it too!