A global pandemic is a unique challenge we are all facing together. Pamela Naidoo-Ameglio is a strongly committed IMNIS mentor in Sydney. We invited Pamela to share her advice for PhD students and early-career researchers to help them manage and navigate this hurdle.
Research future employers, learn new ways to communicate, acknowledge negative emotions
For researchers who have had to pivot their work to focus on COVID19/SARS-CoV2, this is a great opportunity to grow your network and build collaborations between your area of expertise and what is needed in the new project. It is an excellent opportunity to learn as well as contribute to solving a major global problem.
For researchers who have had to pause or finish their projects, and move to working from home, I encourage them to stay productive by keeping up with the latest publications in their field, or perhaps do a literature research you have always been interested in. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills or brush up on existing ones with all the online learning available. It is important too to continue to reach out and stay in touch with your networks, including your professional contacts, family and friends.
This is also a great chance to research organisations of interest to you, as either potential collaborators or future employers. Research their projects, operations and people to understand the culture. Follow these organisations and key professionals online (e.g. In industry networks and professional bodies), as well as social media and online platforms where you see these influencers active. Engage and respond positively with relevant comments you can contribute – this will build recognition and profile.
“…imagine pitching your research project to venture capitalists or explaining it a group of seven year olds. You will need a different communication style and pitch at different levels in each case”
Communication and presentation skills are key in job interviews, as well as winning grants and presenting projects. Look at how you can become very comfortable in being able to do these activities convincingly – seek out opportunities to polish these skills. Technical writing is not the only way to present information – learn how to write for a non-technical audience. For example, imagine pitching your research project to venture capitalists or explaining it a group of seven year olds. You will need a different communication style and pitch at different levels in each case.
“When things are not working out, we must allow ourselves to deal with negative emotions and use them to fuel our energy towards finding a different option”
I encourage all researchers to nurture themselves in tough times so that they are ready to make the leap when things change. I encourage my mentees to give themselves the leeway to make mistakes, learn and bounce back – this is so important in our growth and professional development. When things are not working out, we must allow ourselves to deal with negative emotions and use them to fuel our energy towards finding a different option.
Finally, to help keep positive, I am staying in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Sharing laughs and memories (remotely) helps with our connection. As I am working from home in a full-time job, I maintain a routine and try to make time on the weekends for hobbies I enjoy, such as photography and reading. I am not attracted to “exercise”, but enjoy listening to music and dancing helps me feel energised!
About the author:
Pamela Naidoo-Ameglio is a leader in mining, exploration, science and technology with more than 25 years in operational, corporate and executive roles in industry and not-for-profits in Africa and Australasia. Her background includes nuclear operations, mining and exploration across numerous commodities, competent person reporting, feasibility studies, technology projects, risk management, capability development, diversity and inclusion, business improvement, mineral resource management, and corporate governance reporting. Pamela has international experience on Boards and chairing committees of large industry professional bodies and volunteer based organizations. She also has demonstrated successes in building of partnerships for industry in technology projects and sponsorships. Naidoo-Ameglio is founder of Women in Mining South Africa and past President of Geological Society of South Africa. Pamela is also a strongly committed IMNIS mentor with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.