• Question: Would you say your job is hard or just on occasions?

    Asked by blondie to Pete, Tom, Steve, Stephen, Meeks on 17 Jun 2010 in Categories: . This question was also asked by isabella, ciara.
    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Doing science can be difficult but it doesn’t feel like hard work because it is fun. Other aspects of my job which are easier (for example filling in forms or sitting on committee meetings) seem hard at times because they are boring or unrewarding.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Yeah I’d say it’s hard. Some parts are harder than others, sometimes I really know what i’m doing in the lab and i feel confident. But most of the time it’s hard and i’m struggling and trying to work out what my results are telling me, what I need to do next etc. But if it was easy it would be boring. I love facing challenges every day.

    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Nice question – I would say that it’s just hard on occasions (thankfully!). It’s not like I head into work every morning to face some incredible problem. Much of what we do are fairly routine experiments using techniques that are not too difficult to apply. It’s the results that come out of the experiments that are usually the most interesting bit.

      But we do hit difficult problems from time to time – the experiments don’t work and we have to figure out why. This can be tough but normally it’s a great opportunity to learn something new. Often only when you are really, really struggling with a problem do you start to see new things about it that can take you in a new direction in science. So problems themselves can be very exciting, believe it or not!

      At the moment we are struggling to solve a new protein structure. We suspect there may be a problem with the crystals that we used in the experiment but are not sure yet. We have a few ideas about how to sort the problem out but it remains to be seen if they will work. Whatever happens, at the end of the process we will have learned a bit more about the techniques we are using and hopefully will be a bit more skilful next time around. (But I’m confident we can crack this one!)

    • Photo: Steve Roser

      Steve Roser answered on 16 Jun 2010:

      It is hard sometimes, although not as tough as some jobs -I have to work hard from time to time, I have to use my brain a lot, which can be hard, but I don’t often have to make difficult moral decisions, or use loads of physical energy, so not hard in those senses

    • Photo: Pete Edwards

      Pete Edwards answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      I should imagine most jobs have bits to them that are boring or hard and doing science can be difficult but it doesn’t feel like hard work because it is fun.
      If you really enjoy the majority of your work then you can put up with the other bits most of the time!