Gabriel Roybal News – Stop Trying So Hard via Positively Positive – The Human Side
I stumbled upon this article regarding how we try to make the world abide by our own timelines. There is some nice insight on how to let go of our need to control everything! – Gabriel Roybal
By Bethany Butzer, Ph.D.
I’ve worked hard my entire life. Really, really hard. From a young age, I bought into statements like, “Nothing in life comes easy,” “You have to fight to make it in the world,” and “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” I pushed myself to win every award I could in high school. Then, I pushed myself to become one of the first few people in my family to go to university. Then, I worked my tail off to get As in all my classes. Like a blacksmith working hot metal, I spent countless hours trying to hammer my life into the shape I desired. And guess what? I achieved a lot, but I still wasn’t happy. The nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic that has plagued Americans for over one hundred years has brought us many successes. We have things like cars, electricity, and clean water. We can travel anywhere in the world and eat pineapple in the middle of December. But I think we’re also more miserable than we’ve been at any other point in human history. Many of us wholeheartedly believe we are in control. We think that we need to force our lives to unfold on our schedule. We need to slave away at a job we despise so that we can keep up with the Joneses. We need a mortgage, two cars, two kids, and a white picket fence so that we can prove to everyone around us that we’ve “made it.”
A new blog created by Dr. Sora Kim of University of Wyoming.
Dr. Kim – “I think this site will be of great use to those of you focused on how to improve your teaching as well as expand that number and quality of std”I've started a blog on my website and it's largely focused on education…. resources, paradigms, tools, workshops, etc. Thought some of my geoscience friends might find it interesting!”
Stop by Dr. Kim's blog at http://faculty.gg.uwyo.edu/skim11/Updates/Updates.html and check out some of the following posts:
Another great article!
Rob Symington is the cofounder of Escape the City, a website devoted to helping people dissatisfied with their careers, and looking to take the leap into something new. Escape the City recently became one of the first equity crowdfunded startups in the U.K., raising £600,000. A book-length “manifesto” expressing Escape the City’s viewpoint on the modern career is forthcoming later in the year.
FAST COMPANY: What gave you the idea for Escape the City?
ROB SYMINGTON: My cofounder and I worked in the corporate world as management consultants. We realized we weren’t for this 10-15 year slog to wherever the corporate ladder ends. We were casting about for unconventional opportunities, like starting a business, or going on an adventure. We found everything we could on Google and LinkedIn, but it was difficult. We thought, “Hang on, we’re not the only people who feel like this.” You’d poke your head above the cubicle wall, and realize so many people feel the same way. All good startups seek to solve a problem, and that was ours.
You couldn’t figure out the next step, so you decided to create a resource for people to figure out the next step.
Exactly. We launched in 2010. We started it as a blog from the safety of our jobs, while testing the waters. Today, we have 70,000 people signed up on the site from all over the world. There’s a meetup in Tel Aviv; there are nine meetups in Germany. This is just the beginning for us. We want to harness this feeling, which genuinely is global. We were approached nine months ago by the publisher Wiley and Capstone, who wants us to write our manifesto. That’ll be in print by the end of the year–a nice chance to have a good old rant in book format.
How does the site break down?
There are three main buckets of help. One is Escapes: What could you do if not this? It’s everything from jobs to volunteer opportunities to adventures. The second bucket is Community, which fosters online and offline connections between people. The third is Inspiration, which includes a weekly newsletter.
One the one hand I think, why has no one done this before, and on the other I think, there are lots of resources out there already: startup incubators, job sites, etc. Why do you get to be the clearing house for it all?
One differentiator is we start with the starting point. People don’t know what they want to do; all they know is they don’t want to do what they’re currently doing. That’s why we’ve struck a chord. We started with that dissatisfaction, that unhappy face. The end point could be to find a new job, could be to start a business, could be to go on an adventure.
I think a lot of people feel, “I should be doing something, but I don’t know what.”
Our strapline, our motto, is “Do something different.” Now that it’s our strapline, I hear it everywhere. “I just want to do something different.” It’s very vague for many people, they don’t know what it is. A lot of it is about discovery. The dating version of us is Badoo, and the content version would be StumbleUpon.
So you’re a StumbleUpon for life?
That would be a good place to end up. We’re about four weeks from launching redesigned, forward-looking profiles. Facebook has the Timeline, but it doesn’t go into the future. Our profiles will say, “Here’s what I am, but more importantly, this is what I think I want to do.” You’ll click a button if you want to start a business, you’ll click one if you’re looking for a partner. You’ll say what location, and what sector. If you’re interested in starting a food startup in London, you’ll say, “I’m looking for a partner for my sexy bagel shop.” You’ll drop that in the feed, and other users can search by aspirations. These aspirational profiles will drive user benefit, but we also get good business out of it, because aspirational data is incredibly valuable. If we know how many people want to travel or volunteer in Africa, then the African adventure company is going to bite our hand off.
You boot-strapped at first, but then chose an unusual funding route.
We started out on the traditional route, talking to VCs and some angels. Then we heard about Crowdcube, the U.K.’s first equity crowdfunding platform. It’s incredible how when you mentally check out of one process to focus on another, you end up achieving what you set out to do in the first one. We got a VC offer at the same time we decided we were going the crowdfunding route. We had an indication there would be interest from our own users to invest to us. We uploaded a PDF, video, financial model, and FAQ on Crowdcube, and then emailed our members. We reached £500,000 in eight days, and at that point we turned down the VC. We later extended our round by another £100,000.
One last question: Why is it called “Escape the City”?
In London, “the City” is the financial hub–it’s like saying Wall Street. So some of the meaning of our name is lost in translation. We’re going to shorten the name, to “Escape.”
To an American ear, it sounds like a vacation startup.
We recently spent three months in New York and had to spend a lot of time explaining we weren’t travel bloggers.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
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I found this article particularly intriguing so I wanted to share it ! – Gabriel Gonzales-Roybal
…I realized that, although I could predict and pontificate about a career path that might make me happier, I would never actually know until I was into the thick of it. I had an idea that I might like to do something related to entrepreneurship, but I didn’t exactly know what that meant. Did I want to join a start-up? Start my own? Try to get into venture capital? Join or start a non-profit? Do international development work abroad?…
June 20, 2012
TheHumanSide.org Featured on San Francisco’s KQED Quest Blog – Gabriel Roybal
Name: Dr. Gabriel Roybal of San Francisco, CA
Occupation: ISIS Postdoctoral Scholar at UC San Francisco
What aspects of science and/or environment are you passionate about?
The molecular mechanisms of neural stem cells and how understanding them can lead to advances in regenerative medicine.
Who is one of your science heroes?
Joan Steitz, PhD. She was a pioneer of scientific discovery and a wonderful role model for non-traditional scientists.
Share a recommendation that sparks your interest in science.
I recently started the online project called TheHumanSide.org. It is meant to be an online career panel discussion for students interested in pursuing various careers including many of the sciences. It’s my hope that hearing the personal and human perspectives of professionals within those careers will decrease the leaky pipeline of talented students leaving the field because of stereotypes of professionals/professions.
What’s your hope for the future of science?
That we will figure out ways to retain the brilliants scientific minds we currently lose due to a lack of access to decent education or financial limitations for attending college.
Gabriel Roybal featured as KQED Science fan
June 14, 2012
University of California, Berkeley
As of writing this, I am two months away from finishing my PhD thesis at UC Berkeley and beginning a post-doc at the University of Hawai’i. My educational
path essentially has marked a beeline toward an academic career. My interest in physics and astronomy crystalized near the end of high school, and I signed up for physics courses the first day I arrived at college (Boston University). In my final year at B.U., I briefly considered finding a teaching or industry job, but it felt more natural to apply to graduate school. At Berkeley, I’ve followed a conventional PhD timeline: coursework and TA-ing, prelim exam (year two), research, thesis proposal (year four), more research, thesis writing (year six).
My build-a-scientist kit came with just one problem: I spent a good deal of graduate school stressed out and unhappy. It’s not that I was overworked — I had plenty of time to play sports, socialize, and travel. But during my workdays, I felt like I was investing my time mostly toward other people’s expectations. My research was gaining momentum, and I could sense my advisors’ and collaborators’ ambitions growing: more proposals, more data! I realized that our project could extend well beyond my PhD, but advancing it felt like an obligation as much as an opportunity. I had invested almost ten years in learning *how* to do astronomy, but I’d lost track of *why* I was doing it.
This past summer I began investigating multiple options for the next stage in my career (my PhD was within striking distance, and I was determined to finish it rather than immediately jump ship). I started by reflecting upon the familiar: what aspects of my current job did I value? What accomplishments was I most proud of? To my amazement, I felt my attitude improve before I found a single job opportunity. By giving myself permission to consider my priorities foremost, I had found room to appreciate my research as part of a broader agenda. Importantly, my advisor was supportive when I finally worked up the courage to discuss alternate choices, and suggested steps I could take to expand my training beyond pure research.
Ironically, considering career opportunities outside astronomy has helped me find more fulfillment within it. Astronomy is a fascinating field for many reasons. It explores the largest, farthest, and oldest objects in existence, it broadcasts dozens of new discoveries every year, and it receives lots of public enthusiasm. But I’ve learned that my favorite part is the constant interaction with interesting, passionate colleagues. And so I will ensure that my path forward balances research with efforts to build stronger professional communities and provide support for younger scientists. My textbooks didn’t prepare me for this outcome, but I’m excited to write my own chapter.
Relevant Links and Opportunities:
UC Berkeley astronomy department website.
Gemini Observatory press release on an exciting research result from my team.
American Astronomical Society career page
If you would like to share your experience with us – here are the submission guidelines.
This blog is intended to include the experiences of all professions and academic pursuits!
Please send me the following via email:
1.) A text document containing your story. This can include your journey of how you ended up in your current career. Including any insight you have or challenges you might have faced. I hesitate to set a word limit – but i think keeping it to a few salient paragraphs might keep the audience’s attention.
2.) 1 photo of you doing something related to your profession.
3.) 1 photo of you doing something outside of your profession. For example, a hobby or a vacation you’ve recently gone on.
4.) Web links highlighting your profession- this might include your company website, your publications, your Linkedin profile or your professional affiliations.
5.) Any links to outside websites that would be of use to someone pursuing your career. This could include scholarship opportunities, summer internships
6.) It would also be nice to include any links that might highlight your life outside of your profession. For example, if you have a blog or website that highlights your hobbies, photography or volunteer activities.
Please dont hesitate to contact me! You can visit our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/TheHumanSideOrg
Dr. Brooke Crowley
University of Cincinnati
Stable Isotope Paleoecologist
I have always had trouble articulating what I want to be when I grow up. I have many interests and passions, and I like to daydream. How I wound up where I am was not a straightforward process. I have always been interested in the natural sciences, but what, exactly, has been most attractive to me has been difficult to pinpoint. I love geology, marine biology, primates and plants, I find the past fascinating and I care deeply about conservation. Painting myself neatly into an academic discipline proved to be a challenge both in college and in graduate school. The consequence? I wound up with several degrees, a network of outstanding colleagues, and a list of unforgettable,life-changing experiences.
I think that the key decision that has helped me find my path has been my willingness to take classes and grab opportunities that interest me, regardless of their academic relevance. Each of these experiences has helped shape who I am and how I think about the world. For example, because I took classes in several languages, I have been able to communicate effectively as I have traveled around the world. The time I put into becoming a Divemaster allowed me to work as an intern at a marine biology field school. My resolution to work as a line chef at a fast-paced high-end restaurant helped me gain confidence in my ability to work as part of a team under intense pressure. Years of performing dance and piano taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. Finally, My experience as a science fellow with the Center for Informal Learning and Schools cemented my decision to be a teacher.
I am still sometimes left with doubts about what I will be when I grow up but I am happy with who I am now. I appreciated my every day life and I love what I do. My path has not been easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding. My interdisciplinary background provided me with a well-rounded scientific education that I can apply to my daily life as a professor. I have the freedom to explore the kinds of questions I want to explore, and teach the topics I want to teach. The sacrifice? I must continue being up to date in multiple fields and involved in multiple departments. For now, I think that this is a relatively small price to pay to live the life I want to live.
Relevant Links and Opportunities:
www.agoraphotia.com Dr. Crowley’s research, photographs, and a blog about what she gets up to when I am not being a scientist
Interdisciplinary research group at the University of Cincinnati
http://crowleyteaching.wordpress.com/ – Dr. Crowley’s Teaching
Dr. Gabriel Gonzales-Roybal
University of California San Francisco
ISIS Postdoctoral Scholar
Stem Cell Biologist, RNA Molecular Biologist, Teacher
It took me nearly a decade after graduating from high school to becoming a PostDoc. The last ten years have been full of obstacles I couldn’t avoid and hurdles I put in front of myself. I grew up with no clear idea of what a scientist was; I only knew that I did not look like any scientist I had ever seen. Given this experience and my subsequence navigation of the scientific professional realm, I have discovered a personal responsibility I feel to improve the stereotypes of scientists held by students who are considering science as a professional pursuit. I have exercised this responsibility by becoming involved in many mentoring programs including the UCSC Research Mentoring Institute, the Akamai Workforce Initiative of the Hawaiian Islands and as an ISIS postdoctoral scholar at UCSF and San Francisco State. I am very concerned when students believe that they cannot become a scientist simply because they do not indentify with the culture of science. This concern is my primary motivation behind starting TheHumanSide project. In addition to hearing from scientists, i hope that many other professionals will reveal their experiences in a way that changes the preconceived notions that many of us hold about certain professions.
The fact that I have been able to chart the course I have without a clear role model convinces me that anyone can anyone can chart the necessary course towards their own personal goals. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied Neuroscience and later completed my doctorate in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Santa Cruz. I am currently an IRACDA Scholars in Science Postdoc at UCSF where I focus on studying neural stem cells and teach courses in Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Biology.
I don’t come from a family of scientists, and there is no real clear reason why I ended up where I have other than my own desire and a series of effective mentors. My biggest regret is not having stopped to have more fun. I think one of my biggest misconceptions of science was that there is no room for fun – or mistakes. It has been my experience that these are the two things that often push me forward. I wake up nearly every morning feeling a sense of eagerness to to better understand the complicated phenomena of neural stem cell epigenetics, which I study. Without this deep investment and curiosity I think it would be much more difficult to be a PostDoc. PostDocs are not rich. PostDocs work long hours. But PostDocs are typically given the freedom and the trust to pursue their instincts and to carve a niche for themselves within the chaotic and ever changing world or scientific research. I decided that in addition to a traditional PostDoc I wanted to have a structured teaching experience. To exercise that wish, I pursued an NIH IRACDA teaching postdoctoral fellowship and I have just completed my first semester of teaching at San Francisco State. Just today I received my first teaching evaluations and the most rewarding comment said, “Dr. Roybal was excited about what he taught us, and it made us excited too.”
I have made sacrifices to commute to lab one hour each way in order to keep my little family together. I find that the joys and the struggles of being a PostDoc are often closely tied together; as research success increases and new knowledge expands, the time you spend with loved ones becomes more restricted. Suffice to say, you have to love your job to keep going in everyday as a Postdoc. You have to find your niche and your support network and always keep moving and producing. I imagine myself being involved in lab research and teaching until I am not longer physically able to.
As a PostDoc progress always feels slow- and it often seems to be moving backwards. I constantly remind myself of how lucky I am to have the job I have. I truly feel like everything in my professional life is dessert at this point. I have come further than I should have. I have accomplished more than I imagined I could. So for now, I am just enjoying the ride of being a frustrated, exhausted and truly happy scientist.
Relevant Links and Opportunities: