As a biologist, we often wear many hats. One may specialize in something such as the reproductive biology of Red Drum, for example, but that doesn’t mean you are only going to do that for the rest of your life. Maybe if you are a professor and that is your primary research, but if not, you may find yourself doing a little of that and a lot of other things. It’s important that as you go through school and are interviewing for jobs to keep your mindset open to new things and be willing to work on other projects.
Your specialized degree isn’t worthless, don’t get me wrong! Your degree can advertise your proficiency at reproductive biology, per se, and you may get hired to do reproductive biology for other species. Or even other types of lab work! Or in the case of our lab, you may do histology and then hop on a longline cruise pulling up sharks on the back deck.
Being a team player and openly willing to do whatever whenever can really help get your foot in the door. Team players are priceless in a research lab or other environmental facilities. The good thing is once you get your foot in the door, you then have the opportunity to move toward your specialty.
So often I see folks that resist working on other projects and make up excuses why they can’t help others. Yes, really! Everyone knows who those people are. Those people actually end up getting left behind most of the time because it’s obvious they aren’t team players. Take my advice and be a positive and helpful person, even if you don’t want to, and it will get you where you want to go!