Tag Archives | scientists

Young woman making keep it quiet gesture against a gray background

The pregnancy issue: Don’t ask. Don’t tell

First published in ‘Nachrichten aus der Chemie’ (08-2016)

I was coaching a young lady, who had just handed in her Master thesis when she became pregnant. She did not have a job yet, but her CV was impressive. What is more, she was highly motivated and had the necessary infrastructure in place to handle both motherhood and a career. “Staying at home for a whole year? No, I couldn’t do that,” she said, very determined, “I want to go back to work immediately after my maternal leave, and I can.” She knew that she needed a job to which she could return. I told her that if I were her, I would just apply regularly and not mention the pregnancy too early in the process. “Legally you are allowed to keep quiet until after you have signed the contract, given that you have the necessary infrastructure in place to fulfil all of your job requirements,” I informed her. “Then they cannot withdraw the offer in spite of the pregnancy.” The woman thought it appropriate to put her cards on the table only after the interview but before signing the contract.

Not knowing the law is dangerous

She applied for a university position and was immediately invited to a job interview. During the interview the professor asked some general questions, but was at least equally interested in her private life. She limited her answers to job-relevant information and did not mention her pregnancy.

Several days later she received an email from the professor.…

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Policy advisor_ Marlies Westerhof_ NaturalScience.Careers

Policy advisor: If you know how the political system works, you can make a difference.

An interview with Marlies Westerhof, Policy Officer Nature and Landscape at a municipality in the Netherlands.

NSC: Marlies, you studied ecology at the University of Groningen and today you are a ‘Policy Officer…’ it sounds very political. Are you a politician?

MW: I am not a politician, but I do advise politicians. I am not attached to any political party, but the outcomes and content of my work are greatly dependent on the current political climate in the EU, the Netherlands and in the municipality. Hence, the election results decide whom I am advising, which political party this person represents, and what the current rules and policies this person needs to bear in mind.

NSC: What kind of policy advice do you give?

MW: I am advising our local councilwomen and councilmen (these people have been running for office and have won the elections) on agriculture, ecology, natural and landscape topics. This board of decision makers is coming with an assignment or a mission and I advise them on the implementations of it. Moreover, in the Netherlands citizens have ‘a voice.’ That means that every citizen has the right to propose and to object to plans. I consider all these assignments, proposals and objections and firstly advice on ‘if’ we should do something with it and if the board decides ‘we should do something with it’ then I advise them on ‘how’ to do it. For example, what to take into consideration, opinions of different people and organisations, and what science says about the topic at hand.…

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graduating students

Jobs in industry: quality management, regulatory affairs & health and safety

Sorry, this entry is only available in German. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Documentation and regulation

The term kafkaesque describes situations in which a helpless subject has to navigate an endless bureaucratic machinery, without ever getting to a meaningful outcome. What would the writer say to the group of jobs in this section? Would he be shocked that despite all the computers in use nowadays, we´re still printing out mountains of paper, file them, watch them get dusty and finally bin them? That we multiply the fire load in the company building with yet another mountain of documents, Health and safety, all signed in triplicates by every Tom, Dick and Harry? Or would he be amazed that all the complex procedures, which are happening in today´s enterprises, are documented and regulated in such a pragmatic and focused manner? Let´s first of all take a closer look at the individual groups of jobs.

As depicted in the SOP (Standard operating procedure) “17_04_14_Description of occupational groups”, we´ll first deal with the quality manager (QM). Once you have read this section, it officially counts as training of this SOP. Please sign this certificate, so that I can enter this training procedure into our overview matrix.

Do we exaggerate, even make fun, or is this the reality in a typical industrial context?

Let´s do a fact check. In order to get certifications (e. g.…

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KITE Freiburg

Which type of conference delegate are you?

This text has been translated from a German original written by Dr. Eliza Leusmann (published in Nachrichten aus der Chemie (April 2018, p. 4KITE Freiburg46)). The drawings are from Maike Hettinger.

 

 

Answer these eight questions in order to prove once more, ‘We´re all individuals- me not!’

 

 

1) When do you sign up for a conference?

  1. Whenever my boss tells me to.
  2. … the early bird …
  3. … can bugger off!
  4. Whenever my secretary reminds me to do so.
  5. When rumours that the colleagues will attend go around the institute.
  6. Oops, until when was the registration deadline?

 

2) Where are you during the talks?

  1. Exactly where I belong- on stage!
  2. I sit in the front third on the left side, centre of row.
  3. Centre-centre, where everyone can see me well.
  4. I wait with my friends in the reception hall. There will be coffee soon, right?
  5. I sit at the back, so people don´t take as much notice if I snore.

 

3) What do you wear during the conference?

  1. Whatever my wife picked for me.
  2. The up-market red blazer, as always. That will be recognised and remembered.
  3. Ahm, the stuff from yesterday is still fine, I guess.
  4. Jacket and shirt, ironed.
  5. Hoodie and jeans, what else?
  6. My conference pants. Cord trousers, that keep me warm, super-comfy.

 

4) What do you present to the other participants?

  1. Nothing.
  2. My poster.
  3. My latest results.
  4. Myself.
  5. How to network.
  6. Almost the same as on the last conference, I am just updating it.
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