• Question: Do you prefer working alone or with others

    Asked by Jack on 7 Dec 2021.
    • Photo: Kathryn Yeow

      Kathryn Yeow answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      I like working with others.
      Doing a PhD in Chemistry is very interactive, you are part of a research group, sharing office and lab space. You get to work with other people, receive help and ideas! However, there’s work to be done alone such as reading or writing, and I also enjoy sitting down with a cup of tea/coffee to do this type of work.

    • Photo: Henry Darch

      Henry Darch answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      I’m a bit of both. I definitely like to have interesting discussions with others about problems and designing and building experiments, but there are sometimes that I prefer to just go away for a week or more and get on with some work in my own way, without other distractions.

      Academic scientists often have the flexibility to do this, and is one advantage of the job. For example, a co-worker of mine has a sleeping disorder, which means his body clock kept him awake at nights, but sleepy during the day. His boss allowed him to do all his work at night, and didn’t mind that he was rarely in the office during the day, because he was doing better work at times that suited him.

    • Photo: Anita Pax

      Anita Pax answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      I prefer a mix. Working in research usually means that you are part of a team, so there is always opportunities to work with others, such as shared office or lab space. It is great to have that interaction with others to share ideas and help one another out when needed. On the other hand there is plenty of work that can be done alone too- whether it’s lab work that can be performed alone or writing and analysing information.

    • Photo: Ciara Feely

      Ciara Feely answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      I typically prefer working on projects by myself, but I like having people to bounce ideas off and to discuss my projects with. So that way I think it can be nice to have a research group but to work independently within that group.

    • Photo: Cyrille Thinnes

      Cyrille Thinnes answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      Science requires collaboration between a diverse set of people with different skills in order to generate meaningful and impactful results. Conversely, I also need to focus on specific challenges myself to get my head around what I am trying to achieve and focus on the task at hand to advance my part of the project. So to me, it is not an ‘either or’ scenario, but about finding the balance between focusing on my own and collaborate with other people to advance our projects together such to achieve the best possible outcome.

    • Photo: Justine Mathoux

      Justine Mathoux answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      I like both. I enjoy to work alone in the office or in the lab, it is a quiet nice time during which you can focus on your work but it can be nice to have someone with you to help you if there is a problem or just to chat. Team work is necessary to make progress in science (to have new idea, to make new hypothesis or to help you). Colleagues are important and allows you to like your job.

    • Photo: Pawel Rulikowski

      Pawel Rulikowski answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      Everything is relative. Generally, I prefer to work with people. This is when the best ideas are created by interacting with others. That is why we have scientific conferences, journals and events like “I am Scientist”. Most scientists like to share what they do with others. Sometimes 10 minute break for a coffee with colleagues and friends give you immense ideas. When you work with others you can see broader picture and be asked by your peers questions that you never though before.
      When you have ideas, you need to work on them and sometimes you need deep focus time – then I prefer to work alone. The science and engineering is rarely done by individuals, even though individual is awarded the prizes he really learned form many before him and with him.

    • Photo: Ohood Alharbi

      Ohood Alharbi answered on 10 Nov 2021:


      It is really depend on the task, but in general even when you work on a project “alone” you will need your peers (whether in the same lab or the department) feedback after completing the analysis, writing a paper, or even preparing a presentation.

      In research, you will always find yourself sometimes working alone and other times working with other, you won’t be able to be distinguished researcher if you always work alone!

    • Photo: Niamh Callinan Keenan

      Niamh Callinan Keenan answered on 12 Nov 2021:


      I love working with others! Bioinformatics is such a big field of study so it’s great to work with computer scientists, data scientists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists, chemists, doctors, and almost anyone you can think of the studies biology/chemistry and computers. Without having people to work with, it can get very hard to do it all on your own. I love going to lab meetings and listening to everyone’s research.
      There are times when you need to work alone, especially when you’re writing a paper. and you need some peace and quiet.

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