Meaningful work

Meaningful work

As a mature-aged student, I have been to quite a few networking events over the many years. I’ll tell you though, it’s a slightly different experience when you’re networking as an HDR student. Sometimes I feel a bit nervous walking up to a tenured professor/expert and introducing myself. I’ll be attending (and presenting at) a conference in November which I’m getting quite excited about. Here are some of the things I’ll be aiming to do as part of networking during the conference:

  • Think strategically. I’ll talk about my plans for post-Ph.D. transitioning, describing to them the kind of work I hope to be involved with after graduation. This will be a useful talking point and will provide a clear purpose for connecting with various academics and industry leaders present at the conference.
  • Prepare. I’ll look through the conference program and plan which sessions I’ll be attending. I’ll make a list of the top five people I want to speak to at the conference.
  • Listen. Encourage others to talk about themselves and their work and be genuinely engaged as they speak. 
  • Follow-up. The art of networking is really in the follow-up. I’ll make sure that I send a follow-up email within a couple of days of meeting at the conference. I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter and arrange for a coffee catch-up to discuss possible collaborative work.

What I haven’t worked out yet is how I’ll introduce myself. (Any ideas? If you do, please tag us on IG @uofastudentwellbeing) I am currently a student of psychology, but I also participate in econ/policy research with a national non-profit organisation. Years ago, I also participated in the Coastal Ambassadors Training Program and so I’d like to think I’m a passionate ocean steward. Reading this chapter on meaningful work from Brene Brown’s book helped me realise that the question, ‘what do you do’ shouldn’t only pertain to what paid employment you’re involved in, but should also include any work that matters to you. You can be an accountant by day, but a jeweller at all other times (i.e. What do you do? I’m an accountant/jeweller.) You could be student/hairdresser or a doctor/surf instructor or dentist/soccer player/hospice volunteer.

What is meaningful work to you? What passion projects are you involved in that you would describe as life-giving (i.e. you might not be getting paid to do it, but you absolutely love what you’re doing?) 

Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”. *This is part of a blog series from my reflections during Mental Health Awareness Month and integrating the guideposts from Brene Brown’s book, the Gifts of Imperfections in my HDR experience.


Tagged in What messes with your head, mental health awareness, phd