Ivana Gadjanski

researcher and project leader, Columbia University


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Do you think it's necessary to be very pushy in order to be successful (e.g. in science)? What if it doesn't match your character?

I tend to think that one doesn't necessarily need to be constantly aggressive and overly self-promoting in order to succeed I'd like to believe that hard work and dedication mixed with originality and talent (and networking, I admit that's also needed) are equally important. Or more. Of course, it's not good to be shy and stand away from the happenings, it's not good to fly below the radar, but I just can't accept that I have to become a "bitchy-pushy" person in order to be a successful scientist. Any thoughts on this? Thanks

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    Dec 19 2011: Interesting question Ivana. It would be great if the work we do was able to 'self-promote' itself without the need to publicise it aggressively in order to make it in our chosen field. Sometimes it can happen that way, but then the work has to be discovered by someone on the lookout for it - which is too dependent on chance, rather than by design.

    Reliance on "bitchy-pushy" marketing strategies tends to cheapen the product or the work we are trying to get recognition for. The inherent value of the work itself gets smothered by the synthesised glitz of advertising, which turns a lot of people off.

    For the outstandingly competent practitioner, but who is also shy, I think the best marketing strategy is through word of mouth. This is a slow process and relies on networking with the right people, but wins a solid foundation of recognition of the quality of work rather than the aggressiveness of the marketing strategy.
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    Dec 21 2011: When your leadership sucks... It's time to be a bitch... Usually, good leadership is simply being the "workhorse", or the "person to ask", but when your superiors are acting stupid, you need to "kick some ass".
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    Dec 19 2011: You will do whatever you will do. You cant be bitchy pushy if you're not that. It just wont work.
    If you're not ambitious, you're not ambitious. What are you looking for anyway? A pay rise? Or do you just want to be the very best that you can be?
    What's your modus operandi?
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      Dec 19 2011: the question wasn't really about me. It was in general about the way of behaving I percieve in the field I'm in. I didn't say that not being "bitchy-pushy" means being not ambitious, and I don't think it is so. One can be ambitious but have one's own method of promoting oneself without doing very aggressive self-promotion. And that is my modus operandi, I have my own methods.
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    Dec 19 2011: i think there is not a line to determine one can be a scientist or can not. there are many ways to be succeed. even the "successful" has many definitions. every character has its advantages and disadvantages. i suggest we should be aware of ourselves and put our energy and passion to things that we need. even the most silent person have his own passion and energy, and of course, he can be a successful scientist, too. So, i think the character of person is not important, the interest and love of what you are doing are the most valuable.