sarahkeenihan

Posts Tagged ‘people’

Best job advice: think about the people

In February 2016 on February 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

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Sarah: The other day I think I heard the best ever piece of advice for students trying to work out what their future careers might be.

It was delivered in the context of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), but could apply equally to any field:

“Think about the types of people who will be in the industry you’re be aiming to be in, and shape your decisions according to that.”

Brilliant. Brilliant!

So, for example: If you love rocks and Earth history then you could consider studying geology. However it’s the decision you make next which will be the big one. If you want to work with miners and engineers and business heads looking to make money from the resources sector, you could think about being a minerals exploration expert. If instead you’d rather work with people at museums and University academics learning about the history of Earth and outdoor adventurers, then you could aim towards a research career with lots of field trips. Same educational background, completely different people to hang out with.

In my case, I loved biology and the scientific method, and did well enough at school to get into medicine. But then 3 years later I worked out I actually didn’t enjoy being in the hospital environment — lots of sick people, a hierarchical system of doctors, and not much time to sit down and think through problems. So I switched over to biomedical research, and was much happier.

What kinds of people do you like? What are the characteristics and value sets of friends who make you feel happy and comfortable? What’s your best operating environment?

Head for that, and you’ll be right. Mate.

[image thanks to Jirka Matousek]

 

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The climate is social?

In August 2014 on August 27, 2014 at 10:20 pm

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Sarah: I’ve signed up for my first online course, an 8-week ‘coursera’ through the University of Melbourne entitled Climate Change

Why? Quite simply, I want to be better informed. Don’t get me wrong, I do strongly believe climate change is happening. But I also feel the need to know more. I want to see the actual numbers; I want to be able to argue the case with conviction; I want to wrap my head around some solutions. 

My first bit of learning hit me straight up between the eyes: week one of the course was not about science.

Huh? Surely they’d want to start with some evidence? But instead we heard from Professor Jon Barnett about climate change as a social problem – an issue of people.

By the end of John’s lectures, I could see why this was a good idea. Yes, climate change is about rising temperatures, melting ice, oceans creeping up in levels and acidity, and changing weather patterns. We can take this as a given – the evidence is solid.

But the primary reason we’re in this predicament, and also why we care, is because of us.

People, folks, homo sapiens. Humans created emissions, humans measure and interpret their changing world, humans suffer the consequences and humans have to come up with solutions to ensure the survival of our species and other animals and plants. 

In his lectures, Jon talked about his own particular geographical area of research, the Pacific islands. He spoke of differing levels of exposure, sensitivity and adaptability of the people in these nations to climate change. He talked us through impacts of increased rates of cyclones, altered rainfall (drought and extreme falls), sea level rises and altered local weather systems. He also imparted a sense of hope about the capacity of people to deal with the impacts of climate change, suggesting that climate change adaptation isn’t so different from thinking about sustainable development, and ethical economic development. Dealing with the social arm of climate change doesn’t have to be a massive step necessarily. 

But….with a proviso. Only if we keep the average global temperature rise to around 2 degrees C. After that, the rules will probably change. 

[image thanks to US Pacific Fleet on flickr]

 

Day 155. Airport

In January 2013 on January 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

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I’m not a germ freak.

I’m not scared of people.

But sitting here in Dubai International Airport I’m blown away by the incredible diversity of cultures, languages and nationalities that pass through such a place.

And how many germs are wafting past me every minute.

I’m regretting not getting that flu shot right about now.

[image thanks to creativity103 on flickr]