Developing a values-oriented framework for your career

Earlier this year Dr. Lucianne Wallkowicz (@shaka_lulu) gave a careers talk at the NSF AAPF Symposium as the 2018 Winter AAS Meeting. A few days ago she posted an essay of her talk; Choose your own Adventure: Developing a values-oriented framework for your career, on the arXiv pre-prints (arXiv:1805.09963v1). Not surprisingly I came across it on Twitter. For those who may be contemplating leaving astronomy it's a damn good read.

I first met Lucianne when I lived in Oakland. A mutual astro friend and post-doc at Berkeley was hosting one of her amazing brunch parties. A few years later we met again at the .Astronomy6 conference at the Adler Planetarium. I was always struck by the fact that she seemed to work on really fantastic, innovative projects (especially at the intersection of science and art) that brought together communities that aren't normally associated with astronomy research. If those communities or initiatives didn't exist, she went ahead and created them. She comes across as the type of person who just keeps reinventing her career, while staying true to herself. I've also met a few senior astronomers that hold her in high regard. Most of them have either collaborated or supervised her at some point. 

Since then, I've followed her career pretty closely, along with several other female astronomers that I admire.

There are a bunch of reasons why I love this essay, but these are my top two. Firstly, it debunks that idea that you have to conform to what it traditionally means to make it in astronomy. Secondly, following your passions, being guided by your values, and defining your own version of success is just bloody good advice.