I Like To Move It, Move It
By Jessica Lawless MLS(ASCP)CM
Many students and new professionals find themselves stuck in one place and feeling restless. Wanderlust can contribute to burnout. Students are only allowed to travel when they aren’t in classes, and new professionals sometimes find themselves with limited vacation time or only small spurts of time off. How can we combat the natural curiosity of young people in our industry without losing them to something more mobile? There are a couple of ways to remain a laboratory professional and still scratch the itch of the travel bug.
First, after you have gotten a little experience in the laboratory, you can be a travel scientist! You can gain employment with one of several staffing companies and accept short-term contracts (usually 13 weeks) to help a laboratory that is struggling with filling positions. This allows you to experience new places and also get exposure to a broad array of equipment, staffing styles, lab personalities, lab management, and processes. You will end up a more well-rounded employee when, or if, you decide that your travel days are over. You can visit new places all over the country or within a certain area.
Love doing mechanical work or repairing problem analyzers? Have you considered working for one of the manufacturing companies? Many times, these positions get to travel around an area or district doing preventative maintenance and repairs on various analyzers. Next time you see a repair person in your lab, ask them how they got started and why they decided to move into a repair role.
Maybe you are setting your sights a little further out. Are you interested in helping the poorest of the poor or the extremely uneducated and under privileged? I bet you were not aware that Doctors Without Borders has positions for laboratory professionals, did you? Well, they DO! They have been instrumental in the global pandemic and are even moving more locally to help the Tribal Nations across the USA. (https://blogs.msf.org/blogs/professions/biomedical-scientist)
Do not feel like your hard work in laboratory science has to go by the wayside just because you like to move around. Consider exploring more “mobile” laboratory jobs and keep our profession strong!