Tooling Up: Career Success Factors, Part 2Ten Habits of Successful Scientists


As I pointed out in Part One of this series, I’ve learned a great deal from friends and mentors, although stumbling along making my own mistakes has been a major education as well. My oral communication skills improved dramatically simply by watching and taking cues from my mentor, Bert Decker. And in this month’s column, I’d like to focus on 10 ingredients of success shared by another good friend.

Michael Zigmond is a top neuroscientist with a busy lab and a lot of national recognition in his field. Fortunately for the rest of us, Michael gets a great deal of satisfaction out of what he does outside the lab. He and his colleague Beth Fischer at the University of Pittsburgh are the duo behind the “Survival Skills and Ethics Training” program, a train-the-trainer marathon held each year in Aspen, Colorado.

I’ve just returned from the 2004 edition of this program, and after a week of discussions on topics ranging from grant writing to job searches, my head is spinning. One of my favorite events at the meeting was a roundtable called “The Ten Habits of Successful Scientists.” Following Michael’s seminar on this subject, attendees from all over the world discussed their own experiences. Michael’s list of 10 habits really caught the interest of the group that day.

The Top Ten Habits of the Successful Scientist With acknowledgement to Stephen Covey and his best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Zigmond focused on the following list of 10 habits that make successful scientists shine in every aspect of their profession. In this column I’ll focus on how these habits can help job seekers be more successful.

    In my next column, the third and final piece on the topic of “Career Success Factors,” I’ll discuss what I have learned from mentors and colleagues about creative thinking. While many people think of the job search as a rote process, there is a lot that can happen when you break from the norm and start thinking creatively.

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