Author Topic: Help out a bored scientist  (Read 2344 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Help out a bored scientist
« on: November 14, 2019, 06:54:35 PM »
Recently I switched from a role as an R&D scientist (with some management responsibility) to a pure management role in a non-R&D department. It was a good opportunity ($ and experience wise), and is intended to be a temporary (2-3 yr) stretch assignment.


Now only a few months into this new role, Iím honestly starting to find myself bored with my daily work of managing direction, people, and larger projects. Thereís plenty of work to do, and on the whole Iím getting some things out of this role that I wanted (including the info that pure management likely isnít for me long term!), so Iím not looking to pull the plug or beg for my old job back at this point.

But I am wondering- does anyone have any ideas for either hobbies or side hustles I could pick up that might help fill what Iím missing? Iím thinking this might be a valuable pre-FIRE exercise, in addition to helping me out in the short term.

What I love about science work (but donít get to do much of now):
- pulling together multiple pieces of technical data and drawing conclusions- the puzzle solving aspect is the biggie for me (NMR + MS + IR = x)
- documenting my findings in a clear/concise way- making charts and graphs, annotating well, describing results as clearly as possible, putting together polished presentations or reports

Learning something like coding, data science, or info graphic creation sounds moderately interesting to me, but I donít know much about any of these as a potential hobby or side hustle, or where Iíd even start. Iíd love if there was such a thing as a freelance science data interpretation.

Iím sure there are options I havenít even considered. Doesnít have to be monetizable, but the long term potential for monetization would be a plus. Any recommendations?

Not interested in:
- teaching/tutoring


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Help out a bored scientist
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2019, 07:50:35 PM »
I feel for you.   I understand what you're going thru, I've gone thru similar experiences.   

I suggest taking up the art and craft of enameling, which is fusing grains of glass onto metal with heat.

It's a technically difficult art and the science of it is very poorly documented.   

You would have enough challenges to learn, experiment, and document for a lifetime.

As a bonus, there are a host of wonderful people to learn from and with.

For examples of enameling, you can google images of:

cloisonne enamel
champleve enamel
basse taille enamel
grisaille enamel
plique-ŗ-jour enamel

What's more, if you're a good writer and prolific, I'll start publishing a How-To journal to document the how-to science of enameling.   (I'm going to do it anyway, but that would speed things up.)

I'll be glad to hook you up with some good books, teachers and training facilities.    You can also get free lessons at my studio in NC.

Plus you'll end up with lots of pretty items.

I've found that working in art along with more "logic" oriented fields helps me in a number of ways.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Help out a bored scientist
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2019, 08:12:43 PM »
I've been an R&D scientist for a very long time. I watched folks around me over the decades who were in purely management roles and knew i would never want that kind of life. some management fxs would be ok, but i could never be remote from the heart of conducting directing or reporting scientific studies. as such i veered away from 100% management roles. if you really want the intimate contact with the science, stage a move in that direction. a side hustle is no replacement for that career aspiration.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Help out a bored scientist
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2019, 08:22:02 PM »
Have you seen the cool visualizations that @CCCA has done?

Are there any non-profits in your area that could benefit from this kind of work?

Although I don't know anything about this, I'm really looking forward to seeing what responses your post generates.


  • Bristles
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Re: Help out a bored scientist
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2019, 07:48:33 PM »
There are definitely freelance statistical consulting roles. Not exactly data science, but more closely in tune with science.