Knocking on opportunity's door

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My research career started when, at 15 years old, I showed up at university laboratories asking for a job. When I told this story to my spouse, another academic, we laughed uproariously at the idea of a kid not even out of high school knocking down the doors of our future laboratories. It sounded utterly clueless. After all, many in the scientific community believe that “talent” alone is the most important ingredient for a successful scientific career. To those with this mindset, people who actively promote themselves or advocate for their careers must be less intelligent or less deserving. But reflecting on my own trajectory, I'm glad that I was bold enough-or clueless enough-to proactively ask for what I needed early in my career.

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