“I am still making order out of chaos by reinvention”.
- John Le Carre, MI6 Spy-turned-Novelist
“I am still making order
out of chaos by reinvention”.
John Le Carre, MI6 Spy-turned-Novelist
How does the topic of reinvention
apply to one’s life? Reinvention is a
term that comes to mind when one thinks about taking on a new position,
switching careers, or leaving a traditional role. We think of “the need to invent ourselves again” in context of imminent or
pursued change in our lives.
G. Bennis, American Scholar in the field of leadership, states that “People who cannot invent and reinvent
themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in
instead of standing out.”
Reinvention can be an exciting exercise.
It can also seem insurmountable or impossible. In light of changing jobs or career paths as
someone in the field of biology, what are the best ways to approach
reinvention, and should you be reinventing?
interact daily with academics, traditional and non-traditional students, as
well as a handful of great consultants in my “other” work outside of the
lecture hall. I have taken the
opportunity to watch my fellow academics, my students and my fellow consultants
while pondering the subject of reinvention.
What I have come to
is that every human participates, consciously or unconsciously, in the ritual
of reinvention. Young, traditional
students in their undergraduate years are in the process of reinventing
themselves sans parents and childhood identities. My non-traditional students are
themselves more so in light of the new education they are receiving and
inventing the ways in which they will use this knowledge in their lives shaped
by past and current careers.
As a consultant in the health and life science
IT space with a PhD in Biochemistry, my colleagues range from MDs, PhDs,
MD-PhDs, to RNs, MPHs, MFAs (Master of Fine Arts) and every combination of
those and more. Clearly, these
bio-focused individuals have stepped away from
traditional roles, and with each new contract they undertake, utilize their
background and reinvent themselves for the next opportunity. Many of them have started their own companies
or joined innovative groups that pursue projects in their particular field of
expertise and interest.
also watch my friends reinvent themselves with changing life milestones, as I
and likely you have. Things that force
our reinvention (hopefully!) are the life events like parenthood, moves to new
locales, loss of a parent, and life investments. Personally, I feel I reinvent myself with
every new class, client, and personal encounter.
These observations led to the
realization that reinvention is ongoing, a part of every life, and as such,
something we can choose to hone as a skill.
If we choose to hone reinvention, we choose to embrace it and thus
reject fearing it. As we learn to
reinvent, we embark on a new education and acquire new skills. With every new opportunity, chosen or
inevitable, we choose to take the time to carefully and consciously respond to
the changes so that we become adept at reinvention and masters of our
Should you reinvent? I say daily.
Reinvent the way you interact in your lab. Reinvent how you approach your patients and
your superiors, and use it to make a change, career or otherwise, that you’ve
desired in your life. Becoming honed at
reinvention is something we can start today as we utilize our chosen education
in a field of biology and reinvent ourselves for the comingun known
in the pathway of life. Honing this will
make the unknowns we encounter, or henceforth choose, navigable and
interesting. Happy Re-inventing! After
all, this is Life, As We Know It!