The ZNZ retreat on scientific career planning was organized to show participants that it is possible to pursue a scientific career and have a family. ZNZ News asked participants Corinna Wentzel (Institute of Molecular Life Sciences) and Giorgio Bergamini (Hospital of Psychiatry) about their impressions of the retreat that took place on October 21, 2014.
ZNZ News: Did the retreat provide you with useful information?
Wentzel: Yes, it certainly did. Especially the overview over all possibilities for child care provided by Vera Lutzke of the KIZH Foundation of day care centers. Bergamini: The podium discussion was for me the best moment of the retreat. It was very good to see and hear from people who have been able to combine a professorship with family. The CV and career planning part in the afternoon was also useful. Awareness of these topics is important: Which types of skills you are expected to have in which stage of your career.
What is your take-home message from the retreat?
Bergamini: To work hard and be organized in order to be able to combine both aspects of life. I have learned that you have to be aware of what you want, plan in terms of steps ahead and not just let it happen. Wentzel: From the panel discussion I learned that there is not one-solution-fits-all. You have to be flexible and everyone has to find their own way to make it work.
Do you think it was useful to organize an event about career planning and family?
Wentzel: Definitely! I have received a lot of information and also thought it was useful to discuss experiences with my peers. In my opinion, however, combining family and career is only one aspect of the gender issues. It would be good if we had such an event about other aspects of why women do not have the same career chances as men. Bergamini: The event was very useful and I would welcome shorter follow-up sessions about the topic of career planning and family during the year.
Who should attend?
Bergamini: Any young scientist, PhD student or post-doc, should attend the retreat. Male presence should be fostered.
What was the general atmosphere at the retreat?
Wentzel: The atmosphere was great, very open. Questions were burning on the participants and everyone wanted to ask them. Bergamini: I appreciated that student and professors mingled at the tables during lunch and personal questions were possible. The whole meeting was set up for interaction.