The Seven Habits of Highly
With Apologies to Stephen Covey
BY ALLISON PROFFITT
At the end of 2013, ACS launched an incred- ibly rich resource: the College to Career site, which features profiles of nearly 100 chemists as well as many career resources. Representing careers in almost every possible
field relating to chemistry, these researchers, teachers, writers, salespeople, and law enforcement officers each shared
a bit about their work, their career path, and some pearls of
wisdom they’ve collected over the years.
One of the most interesting questions asked the featured
individuals to look back at their careers and identify which
essential habit they wish they had adopted earlier. The
results reveal a big-picture to-do list for students transitioning into their careers.
Everyone’s experience was a bit different, but several
themes emerged. These are the seven habits that working
chemists say they wish they’d started in school.
1. Get your e-mail under control.
“I check e-mail only two to three times a day.”
Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
“I am totally reliant on flagging e-mails for follow-up, then clearing the flag later as I complete the tasks.
It helps me stay organized.”
Associate Projects Analyst, Chemical Abstracts Service
2. Set priorities from the start,
and learn to say no.
“Plan each day and say no to last-minute requests.”
Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
“I complete tasks as soon as I receive the assignments.”
KIMBERLY M. JACKSON
Associate Professor, Biochemistry, Spelman College
“Learn to say no to requests that will take more time and
energy than they are worth, or when your plate is full.
Develop the ability to focus on the mission and not let
setbacks dissuade you from proceeding.”
Associate Program Leader, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
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