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An Eye on the Big Picture

Posted on October 26, 2007

Mark S. Bauer (bio) talks about what will sustain you over the long haul.


Keep one eye on the big picture. Is what I’m doing really gonna have public health impact? What are the things that are going on around me? How does it fit into the rest of research? I may be looking at a gene, I may be looking at a very focused intervention to enhance compliance in bipolar disorder, but how does it fit in with the big picture?

And related to that, do I really love this? Is this, on a affective level, on an emotional level, do I really want to do this and is it some, whether it’s the colors that the test tubes turn or the way the curves turn out, it doesn’t really matter why.

But these last two things, the intellectual context and the really the passion that you bring to it, are the things that are gonna sustain you over the long haul. And that’s really very important because when you think about it, we have, we’re in a field that’s a lot like baseball. If you spend your entire career in baseball failing two times out of three, you’re a shoe-in for the hall of fame.

Okay, ’cause you’re gonna be batting three thirty three for your lifetime career, but you’re still failing two out of three times. And that’s really what it’s like to be in academic medicine. People are rejecting you all the time, and so you just have to keep coming back and where you draw on that well spring of energy is if it’s intellectually and values wise important to you, and if you really love what you’re doing day to day.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 Career Development Institute for Bipolar Disorder in Pittsburgh, PA.


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