Monday, November 10, 2014

Invisibly Important

Who does more important work: The scene-stealing front man, or the patient show-runner backstage?

Sumac in Fall, 2014
Writing at the New York Times "Motherlode" blog, author David Zweig posits that, in an era of attention-grabbing occupations - Internet whiz-kids, Wall Street financiers, American Idols - the real winners may be those who select the quiet, thoughtful "enabler" roles behind the scenes. He claims that, though they may not get the glory, such "Invisibles" end up better paid and more highly satisfied with their chosen stations.

Though Zweig volunteers occupations like structural engineers or quantitative analysts, I'd offer that most important roles in scientific research belong equally on his list: Spectroscopists. Molecular modelers. Patent examiners. Grant writers. Purification staff. Procurement. Health and Safety. Administrative assistants. Graduate students.

If you get a chance today, think about the Invisibles that help your science to succeed.
And buy that mass-spec guy a beer, already!