Is My Life Sciences Career Stalling?

Is My Life Sciences Career Stalling?

by Chris Atkinson in career
It would be unrealistic to expect that your career will fire on all cylinders 100% of the time, there will, of course, be natural peaks and troughs. 

However, what happens if you truly believe that your life sciences career is stalling and you have stopped even meeting your potential (never mind exceeding it). Has your research area stopped exciting you? Have you come to the end of a supply project you’ve been working on and thought ‘what next?’ 

If you’ve had the feeling for a while that you just aren’t getting as much out of your life sciences job as you used to, your career might be stalling.  

The good news is that your career stalling is not the end of the line and is not usually so severe that it can’t be fixed.  

There are different options available to life science employees who feel as though it might be time to re-evaluate their career.  

From training and development to getting more involved with social media-based around your sector specialism such as LinkedIn articles, webinars and life sciences communities, there are plenty of ways you can find inspiration in your life science career.   

However, first, here are five common signs that your life sciences career is stalling…

1. You’re Not in Love With Your Job 

Do you remember the first few exciting weeks and months in your life sciences role? Meeting with key opinion leaders, setting yourself personal goals, being introduced to new research technologies? 
Many who work in this sector get into the field because they want to ‘change the world for the better’.  
It is true that many life sciences roles play a huge part in the medical advancements in the world we live in and can have a significant impact on the lives of many, by creating new medicines, new procedures and being involved in life-saving research.  
You might be a medical manager in charge of an oncology department, or a clinical specialist providing necessary research into new biomedical techniques – if you work in life sciences, you’re making a positive difference to people’s lives.  
So, this is why it can be so disconcerting when a life science star begins to question the love for their vocation. This can mean that it’s not the role you have fallen out of love with, just your current situation. 

2. You Aren’t Challenged Anymore 

One of the biggest career mistakes that life science employees make is getting to the goal they set at the start of their career and stopping there.
Often, when people get to where they believe they ‘should’ be in terms of their career, they stop pushing to achieve more. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly counterproductive to your career. 
This lull – when someone has achieved everything they set out to at the start of their career can come as the rest of an anti-climax. You finally get the promotion to a clinical specialist, but where do you go from here? 

People need to be challenged at work in order for them to feel valuable. Leadership and management expert The Ordinary Leader states “I have come to believe that for all of us, work in many ways is a classroom in which we should always be learning.”
You can start to challenge yourself more by setting personal goals to learn about a new subject, by starting that project you’ve been putting off and approaching your leader to find out if there is anything they need help with that isn’t in your usual job description. 

If you feel like you’re coasting through your day too comfortably, this can lead to demotivation. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will feel challenging, and it is in this space where we excel.  

3. You Aren’t Networking 

Networking is one of the best ways to get the most out of your career. If you have stopped networking, it can be a sign that you have stopped taking an active interest in your sector. If you’ve never networked before, then this should be your cue to start! 
Attending medical conferences and events such as the annual UAE event Arab Health is a great way to reignite your life science career, and you can make smaller changes, too. 
Taking more of an interest in what your peers and colleagues in your, and other, departments in your workplace can help - can you help with current research a colleague is undertaking?  
Even something as small as researching current trends in your sector, reading and sharing LinkedIn articles, or joining groups on Facebook or Instagram with other peers from your industry can reignite your interest and might even provide you with new ideas you can bring to your current position.  

4. You Feel Overworked 

One of the most prominent signs to look out for, that your career is stalling is that you have started to feel overworked.  

The truth might be that you haven’t taken on any more work, you might only be feeling overwhelmed by the same amount of work you’ve previously managed with. It just seems more unmanageable as you have become increasingly disillusioned with it.  
Career burnout is a big problem in sectors which can be considered stressful – such as life sciences. A Personnel Today report found that 20% of high performing middle and senior leaders experience burnout.  
Burnout is different from the ‘normal’ pressures you associate with work. It is a compounding of these stresses to the point where the individual is unable to function and is more common among high-pressure fields such as life sciences.  
If you’re the kind of person who has previously liked a challenge, but now feel yourself shying away from responsibility, ask yourself the question – am I shutting down because I feel less interested in my work?   

5. You Have Abandoned Your Career Goals 

Perhaps the most prominent indications which signify that your career is stuck firmly in one place is that you find it impossible to look to the future. 

An inability to look toward the future of your career can happen when you have lost the passion you once had for your role, and it can also occur if you feel as though have reached your ‘peak’  
This feeling of a lack of ‘future’ in your current role can occur in senior life science roles, with employees who have been in their roles for many years.  

While it may be true that you have accomplished the goals that you set for yourself at the start of your career, this should not mean that you have come to the end of your career path.  

There is always scope to set new goals, especially in life sciences. New findings and research drive this sector, and so there is never a shortage of new ideas to dive into, and new scientific methods to investigate. 

Additionally, if you really are at a point where you are thinking ‘what next?’ from your career, talking to a life sciences recruiter like our specialists at Kinetic can be helpful in assessing your next steps. 


How Kinetic Can Help   

Kinetic source professionals locally and internationally for leading multinational, regional and local Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices companies, including Consumer Healthcare organisations.   

As such, we understand the niche requirements for all specialisms of this ever-increasing regulated industry. To find out more about how we can help you in landing your next career progression, contact us today.  


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