• Question: what part of yor job is the most challenging

    Asked by abc123 to Amit, Emily, Jo, Martin, Paige on 16 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Martin Wallace

      Martin Wallace answered on 16 Mar 2012:


      For me the hardest thing to get your head around when starting in a company is how to communicate and deal with the people you work with. Often there might be a problem where one person is telling you to do one thing, but someone else doesn’t want you to do it or has misunderstood what is supposed to happen. Sometimes this can be quite stressful because you are caught in the middle of the business politics or don’t want to tell someone they are wrong because they are higher-up than you in the company.
      A very important skill to learn is that you need to be able to talk to different people in different ways. If you are talking to a very important director of the company it is necessary to behave sensibly and business-like so that they can see you are a sensible, trustworthy employee; this might be different to how you behave when you talk to people in the factory for example – they may react better to someone who is a bit more easy going and be more relaxed around you .
      These rules might not be the same wherever you work (where I am, there are some directors who are more easy-going than anyone else and like to have a laugh and a joke), and not all the time – like if there was a problem in the factory you might need to behave a bit more business like until the problem was solved – but it’s up to you to work out how to behave in different circumstances.

    • Photo: Emily Bullen

      Emily Bullen answered on 16 Mar 2012:


      The part of my job that is most challenging is probably the part that is also most thrilling (after the event…). It would be needing to find a solution to some problems really quickly. Some things you might be faced with need resolving at some point; you have time to look it up and make the best decision. Sometimes you don’t have that luxury and you need to make a decision quickly, without all the facts you would like to have. You are therefore taking a risk, and needing to make do with what you have. People are relying on you to make a decision that could have bad consequences if you got it wrong (sometimes in terms of the safety/environment, sometimes in terms of money). It’s a real challenge, but also pretty exciting!

    • Photo: Joanne Davies

      Joanne Davies answered on 16 Mar 2012:


      Every time I start a job for a new client, the first few weeks are challenging.

      For the first few weeks, I watch, listen, read and find out what the company is all about. I learn everything I can about their products, how they are made and what they make them out of.

      The greatest challenge for me, is how I approach each new task for each new client.
      It’s those challenges that keep me going in this job, so I couldn’t be without them. 🙂

    • Photo: Paige Brown

      Paige Brown answered on 16 Mar 2012:


      The most challenging AND the most fun for me is interviewing other Scientists and engineers about their work. I always get a little bit nervous, because I want to ask the best questions and really learn a lot during the interview. You have to write very fast and think on your toes! You have to also have a good idea of the science behind the work of the person you are interviewing, and they might have a very different science background than you, so it’s challenging. But also very rewarding!!!

      Making very good nanomaterials is also VERY tough. If you want the nanopartices to be only one size and shape, this can take 5-10 trials to perfect it each time!

    • Photo: Amit Pujari

      Amit Pujari answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      Hi abc123,

      Sorry for the late reply. First, I would say, my work involves three major steps.
      (1) Understanding the science behind the project (for example I am building a device to cure something, then I need to ask, how cure can be achieved, what is the mechanism behind it, how the device works, etc.

      (2) Setting up an experiment to test my theories (how shall I design the device which will do, what I want it to do; how I can make sure that the cure works and it’s not one off fluke)

      (3) Understanding the results, analysing them. Understanding what experiments tell about the science, about the device engineering, does it work, can it be improved, etc.

      I think part (2) setting up an experiment and (3) understanding and analysing the results is most challenging for me.

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