What are you good at?

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgYou are in a room with a bunch of other female faculty/post-docs/grad students from your university. You know a few of them, but most of them are unfamiliar to you. The convener of the meeting asks each of you to introduce yourself by answering the following question: “What is one aspect of your professional life that you are good at?”

How do you answer the question? (Please do, in the comments.) Tomorrow, we’ll discuss.

I’ll go first. I’m ScienceWoman and, in my life as a blogger, I’m good at getting thoughtful discussions going in my comment threads. 🙂


  1. #1 Propter Doc
    February 25, 2009

    I’m Propter Doc and, in my life as a new academic, I’m good at doing what is necessary and sufficient for success.

    (i.e. the higher-ups have dumped all the admin stuff on my desk and I have to get through it some how)

  2. #2 Judy
    February 25, 2009

    My name is Judy, and I’m an unemployed lab tech. I’m really, really good at taking care of natural history collections; I love doing it; and I wish somebody thought it was work worth funding.

  3. #3 speedwell
    February 25, 2009

    Hi, I’m Speedwell. I’m a trainer in IT. I’m good at training oilfield engineers how to accept, understand, and follow through on parts of their work that are not actually engineering. I’m good at solving the problems they cause in the system when they nevertheless insist on doing things “creatively.”

  4. #4 Girl Technologist
    February 25, 2009

    I’m Girl Technologist, and I’m good at not getting offended at some comment I probably should be offended at till a few hours after it happens…


  5. #5 Danimal
    February 25, 2009

    I am Danimal and I am good at posting short worthless comments on your blog.

  6. #6 DNLee
    February 25, 2009

    I’m quite good with coming up with research ideas and developing hypotheses for testing.

  7. #7 Tinkering Theorist
    February 25, 2009

    I’m good at learning something new and applying it appropriately (or not at all) to my situation.

  8. #8 Mrs. CH
    February 25, 2009

    Hi, I’m Comet Hunter, and I have serious organizational skills. Sometimes I wish I could be a “life organizer” for other people.

  9. #9 scicurious
    February 25, 2009

    I am scicurious, and I am told that I am a captivating teacher.

  10. #10 Female Engineering Professor
    February 25, 2009

    I’m Female Engineering Professor, and I’m my department’s most knowledgable MATLAB user.

  11. #11 Jeeves
    February 25, 2009

    To be honest, I’m good at harnessing the subtle mechanisms of patriarchy to advance my career ahead of my female colleagues who are all working harder than me. But if it’s any consolation to the ladies, once I get into management I’m going to preferentially hire women because guys are far more likely to be lazy.

  12. #12 saxifraga
    February 25, 2009

    I’m good at networking and generating new ideas. I’m good at drumming up new actvities, but less good at the follow through. Maybe it would be perfect if I had someone else to carry out the actual work.

  13. #13 fia
    February 25, 2009


    I’m Fia and I am good at coming up with new research questions, and finding ways of answering them. Also, I am good in (and love) organizing projects efficiently. I find that I have too many metas-kills and too few hard (as in technichal) skills.

  14. #14 Professor in Training
    February 25, 2009

    Hi, I’m PiT. I’m great at making sarcastic comments at faculty meetings that are only audible to the like-minded individuals sitting next to me. Oh, and I’m a very effective educator.

  15. #15 Carrie
    February 25, 2009

    My name is Carrie, and I’m a good manager. I can find work that challenges people, increases their skills, and still delivers an excellent product on time at the end of the day.

  16. #16 DrN
    February 25, 2009

    Hi I’m Dr. N and I’m good at communicating science to both scientists and non-scientists.

  17. #17 Becca
    February 25, 2009

    I am Becca and I am good at public speaking and thinking analytically (read: talking excessively and finding fault everywhere).

  18. #18 alufelgi
    February 25, 2009

    In my opinion the largest threat for California are cataclysms and ecological catastrophes. Not important is how many money we have because one tragedy can us take all.

  19. #19 Jane
    February 25, 2009

    Hi, I’m Jane, and I’m good at seeing potential in students that my colleagues would otherwise overlook, and at getting students who think “I’ll never understand this stuff” to surprise even themselves with what they can do by the end of my class.

  20. #20 Psych Grad Student
    February 25, 2009

    Hi, I’m a psych grad student and I’m good at guiding myself through the chaos of my research by looking at the big picture. I’m also good at annoying my supervisor. 🙂

  21. #21 Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde
    February 26, 2009

    I’m Dr Jekyll, and I’m good at getting stuff done. Sometimes I get stuff done by cajoling others to do my work for me, but the point is–shit gets done.

  22. #22 Rachel
    February 26, 2009

    Hi I’m Rachel. I may be Saxifragia’s twin.

    I’m good at linking people to other people, in seeing the big picture and in public speaking. I’m great at generating ideas on better ways to communicate, to persuade, and to solve problems.

  23. #23 kiwi
    February 26, 2009

    Hi I’m kiwi and I’m good at supporting other people, and getting better at prioritising my own research when necessary.

  24. #24 estraven
    February 26, 2009

    I’m Estraven, a math professor. I’m good at understanding little bits of difficult stuff and then explain them so that they’re not so difficult. I’m also good at finding problems that match the solution techniques I know.

  25. #25 Kim
    February 26, 2009

    Hi, I’m Kim. I’m good at writing letters of recommendation. (At least, that’s how it’s felt for the past two months.)

  26. #26 Tina
    February 26, 2009

    Hi, I’m Tina, and I’m good at not taking things personally. Which is why I feel perfectly justified in offering my own constructive criticisms to my ‘underlings’.

  27. #27 Alice
    February 26, 2009

    Hi, I’m Alice Pawley, and I’m good at synthesizing lots of ideas collected from all kinds of sources into intriguing research questions. (I’m working on getting good at actually exploring them.)

  28. #28 Zen Faulkes
    February 26, 2009

    I’m Zen, and I don’t suck at presentations, graphics, or writing.

  29. #29 Richard Eis
    February 26, 2009

    I’m Richard. I’m good at debugging software..which is far more useful and necessary in the long run than my real job…writing software…

  30. #30 Sarah
    February 26, 2009

    My name is Sarah, I’m still in high school, and I’m good at making connections between the bits of information I’ve learned–and hopefully that will lead me to a successful career in research someday!

  31. #31 Coturnix
    February 27, 2009

    I am good at teaching. I am good at giving oral presentations. I am good at reading, understanding and keeping in mind for quick recall vast bodies of literature. I am good at connecting seemingly disconnected ideas from seemingly unrelated research areas into brand new ideas nobody before thought about.

    I am bad at time management, I am bad at pipetting, I was bad at dealing with university authorities (except my PI and committee), I am bad at producing stuff by stated deadline, I am bad at finishing stuff I started without external push by someone else.

  32. #32 Lab Lemming
    February 27, 2009

    Picking up at conferences?


  33. #33 alex
    February 27, 2009

    I’m Alex, I’m a research student, and I am very good at keeping up morale in the field. Also, I design a mean poster.

  34. #34 Dr. Mom
    February 27, 2009

    Hi. I’m Dr. Mom and I am really good at advising and motivating my students. I treat them like adults, that seems to help.

  35. #35 JPop
    February 27, 2009

    Hi, I’m a rageful phd student. In my professional life, I’m good at structuring experiments so that they dovetail together and I can fit more results-gathering into a working day.

  36. #36 woman chemist
    February 27, 2009

    I’m a woman chemist and I’m a really good at helping others and anticipating their needs (I would have made an excellent executive assistant, I think).

  37. #37 makita
    March 3, 2009

    I’m good at explaining difficult concepts in simple terms. I’d like to try my hand at teaching some day.

  38. #38 Arlenna
    March 3, 2009

    I’m an assistant professor, and so far I seem to be pretty good at motivating people to get excited about things in the lab. I’m also very good at getting things done on time–for now, we’ll see how long that bright-eyed bushytailedness lasts.

  39. #39 Ss.
    April 27, 2009

    Hi im Ss. I am a very quick learner. I went from 0 knowledge and experience in my field to become an awesome researcher in just 2 years.

    Also, i have encouraged and offered clear perspectives to atleast 3 people who had doubts in entering the phd program at my school to join and they are thankful to this day!

  40. #40 Ni2
    May 4, 2009

    Ni2, Masters student in Mech engg. One who feels immense untapped potential in himself and has not yet been able to make it sustain.. Just like in the case of nuclear fusion.. Once I find out, I would like the whole world to benefit from it..

  41. #41 AA
    March 11, 2010

    Hi, I am a miserable 33 year old PhD student in telecom and just realized that this isn’t the career that I want for myself. The most pettiful side is that I still don’t know what I am good at…I need HELP

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