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There's never a dull moment working for a Spontaneous Idea Generator. The only problem is sorting out the diamonds from the dust.
"Brought back down to earth sharply when I realise that it will take the insight of Einstein, the prose of Proust, and the spin of Alastair Campbell to turn this mess of half-baked ideas into any kind of story."
So far [at conferences] I have asked intelligent questions, which probably helps to show I am a scientist first and a transsexual second," says Alison*.
Obstacles that may get in the way of meeting a deadline are many, but one you should beware of is being so keen that you overburden yourself.
"Tea-rooms and tea-breaks are a great scientific institution and should be nurtured and cherished. Lobby your funding body for subsidised espressos!"
"I was so nervous at one high-powered meeting that by the time I asked my question it came out sounding really aggressive."
"I haven't been to bed much before 2 a.m. for the last 2 years, but when you find something you're passionate about, you just find the energy," explains Chris Smith.
I start to panic as I realise it is now nearly the end of the week, and the majority of my to-do list is still undone.
The whole experience has taught me that you must believe in your research and that somehow things will work out in the end.
"Go for it--it's great fun and there are lots of career openings for properly trained clinical researchers," says David Edwards, professor of neonatal medicine.
Limit yourself to saving a maximum of 10 key publications that you feel a particular affection for; take them home and watch them gather dust before you throw them away, unread.
"Is that Miss or Mrs?"
"DOCTOR!" I shrieked down the phone.
"Unfortunately there was a fatal flaw in my cunning plan--I had failed to take my partner of 5 years into account."
I no longer define myself as a "failing scientist", but as someone who does science as well as a myriad of other things--including a vicious rugby tackle!
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