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After finishing a science Ph. D., I'm filling gaps in my skills to start a career in data science, but I wonder if I'm giving up my dream of being an inventor/entrepreneur for the safer option. What steps should I take to decide between pursuing what I think I'm good at versus what I think I love? How do I know if they these options are complementary or mutually exclusive?

I want to help 1 million people find and cultivate their life's calling. This could be a career in education technology--or not!

I have an overwhelming number of ideas to pursue, but I also realize the difficulty lies in execution... which presents a barrier to getting started. The obvious option is to get trained as a data scientist/engineer, then use those skills to build my own vision. But I often ask myself: would it be better to just start building and learn as I go? I have a lot of respect for the technical and business challenges I would face. Perhaps too much respect, as it makes me nervous to dive in without looking back.

For those that have taken the plunge, how do you suggest I gain clarity?

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2 Answers


Rodney Goodwin

In order to really enjoy what you do, especially after putting in so much time to a Ph.D in science, it is important to "know" yourself, be confident in who you are and "why you are". That is to say, know what you are really good at, what comes "naturally" to you, sort of instinctively or through your intuition. So, first step in success is being very comfortable in your "own skin". You have gravitated to the science field and that has to be for a reason. Why? Did you just know you are good in this field? Did you like the challenge? Or are you motivated by external motivations which have little to do with the field of science?

Many of us have the desire to want to help others reach their full potential. But it is essential that before doing that you help YOU. It is important that whatever you choose, make sure you like/enjoy and thrive in that industry, the concepts, the philosophy of the business and most of all respect your bosses and your co-workers.

In this day and age, chasing the $$ goes just so far in bringing fulfillment and satisfaction. Unless you are centered in yourself, no matter how many $$ are flowing into your pocket, you can quickly get burned out and fed up.

It sounds like you have all the education, the skills, the acumen to do just about anything. You have a vision of what you think there should be "out there". Go for it, and if you have the funds to work on it full time in the meantime do so. If not, take a job that you can enjoy and work on your vision in the downtime and build your dream.

Answered 4 years ago

Rodney Goodwin

Richard Klinger

Write down what it is you love to do
and then
find somebody to pay you to do it

and don't grow up
...it's a trap

Answered 7 years ago

Richard Klinger