Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic was not how I expected my uni experience to end but one unexpected event led to another even more unexpected event: I landed a job in a lab. If you know me well, you’d know I happily left science behind me at GCSE. Granted I’m ½ of the marketing team so I don’t actually get to look down the microscope that often but hey, I still get to don a lab coat every now and again! So armed with a talent for talking (in several languages may I add – shoutout Uni of Manchester), a creative flair and an obsession with Canva, I jumped on board the XCellR8 express, and haven’t looked back since…
Here’s everything I’ve learnt so far as a 24-yr old grad working in an SME.
I’m not afraid to admit it took me a fair amount of time to wrap my head around all the specialist terminology that flies about this office. I was daunted at first, it felt like a whole new language but my job as a marketeer was to explain what we do at XCellR8 in the most digestible way possible, well challenge accepted! It turned out, having a background in language and not science worked in my favour as I could see past all the scientific jargon. “What is the least technical way I can say this?” is definitely my work motto – everyone deserves to understand what we do!
Imposter syndrome is real
You know that feeling when you don’t feel good enough to do your job, you feel a fraud and you’re just waiting for someone to find out that you’re not as talented as they think you are? Yeh, I battled with this feeling for my first few months at XCellR8. I wanted to do the best I possibly could but always had a nagging worry that I didn’t deserve to be amongst a team of extremely knowledgeable people. This is how I tackled imposter syndrome:
- Ask for help when you need it
Your boss has seen your CV. They know what you can and can’t do. They’ll understand and even expect you to draw on the resources and expertise around you.
- Everyone makes mistakes
We’re not robots. You’re going to make a mistake and when you do, try to see it as a learning curve. Pause for a sec, learn what went wrong and address it – you’ll bounce straight back, better than ever!
- Talk to your friends and colleagues
Try not to keep any worries bottled up. After all, “A problem shared is a problem halved”. When I reached out to an old colleague explaining how I felt, I suddenly realised that everyone gets imposter syndrome once in a while, even if you’ve been in the job for years! This leads me nicely on to my next point…
Good support is vital
A strong support system is key. For me, the most amazing part of my job are the people I work with. It’s such a cliché but they’re the ones that support and guide me every single day (shoutout to Sam), they make me howl with laughter, teach me new things (thanks lab team for explaining science-y terms to me 101 times), and put up with my sometimes obnoxiously loud voice.
On the flip side, it’s rewarding to reflect on the part YOU play within the team. One day you might feel as though you could never get your head around something, the next you’re training someone like a pro or supporting a colleague going through a hard time. I always like to make sure to stop and take note of how far I’ve come since starting at XCellR8.
Now, a year and a half down the line, I can confidently say if you’re looking for someone to chat about animal-free testing in the most unscientific way ever then I’m your girl! On a more serious note, I can’t believe how much I now know about reg and non-reg safety tests, human cells and don’t get me started on acute toxicity – maybe science is more my thing than I thought…