Ever wonder what your favorite characters do offscreen when they don’t know what to do? They Ask Ana-Moly, of course! The advice-giver to galaxies both near and far, Ana-Moly is crash-landing on FanFest.com every Monday, doling out advice to some of the multiverse’s biggest quandaries.
I’m in my final year of school, attending a pretty prestigious academy based in San Francisco. I worked hard to get here and I’m proud of my accomplishments. However, I’m worried about the future. Specifically, my future.
I’m studying to be an exogeologist. It’s not a huge field, as people haven’t been excited by moon rocks in over three centuries, but I love it. There’s nothing quite like scanning a fragment of an asteroid field and finding a new and unique combination of elements, or testing samples from a remote planet to determine the makeup of its soil. I’ve been dreaming of being the person who gets to collect those samples, instead of just the lab intern who gets to test them, since I was a little kid. Now I’m about to become just that. And I’m terrified.
You see, there are so few senior exogeologists that it’s the junior ones who get sent on the missions. Their inexperience leads to a fair amount of turnover. (And by turnover, I mean the big kind of turnover- the final, “buried in your work forevermore,” “he’s dead, Jim” kind.) That means even fewer get to become senior exogeologists, so more junior ones get sent on more missions. It’s a vicious cycle that has been narrowing my already-narrow field since 2264.
My question is this- how do I make sure my career isn’t short-lived? I want to explore new worlds, seek out new constellations and contaminates, and I’d really rather not go the way hundreds of others have gone before. Is there anything hope for me?
I Dig It
Dear I Dig it,
Haha, I get it. It’s a geology pun. That’s very good. I’m going to be very sad when you bite it on your first- I mean, when your undoubtedly long and illustrious future career inevitably comes to an end in a distant time.
Let’s be real though- you’re entering a field where the newbies are treated like laser fodder. That’s definitely cause for concern. However, it’s not all hopeless. After all, at least some people have to make it through to teach the next generation. You can improve your chances of success by studying what has worked well for them.
First, presentation is important. “Dress for the job you want” is such important advice, and may be a literal lifesaver for you. If recent grads in your field tend to wear a certain color (red, for a totally random example), try to set yourself apart by wearing a different color (in another totally random example, we’ll say blue). This will make your superiors subconsciously see you as a natural fit for a higher position, especially one that may require less time spent away from artificial gravity.
Second, train for the worst. Learn from the pitfalls (get it? See- I can make geology puns too) of others. Review where they went wrong and develop a plan for how you would react instead. Find a partner and run some simulations together. I hear a holodeck is good for all sorts of partner work.
Third, talk up your coworkers. Everyone loves a team player. Make sure that you are promoting others for new and exciting challenges, rather than trying to take every opportunity for yourself. This will ensure you have well-rounded coworkers to spend (at least part of) your career with, as well as lightening your own workload.
Finally, use all your free time to develop a niche for yourself. It’s an unexplained workplace phenomenon, but once you have a well-known name and can provide a skill no one else can, your chances of returning from an away mission go up dramatically. Dress the part, be prepared, support the team, and make sure you are indispensable and you’ll undoubtedly find that people will want to revisit your story over and over for years to come.
With The Stars,
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