• Question: You\'re all working to make the world a better place through science, do you ever get really discouraged or feel like there\'s too much for you to do?

    Asked by u26rumfordh to AndrewL, Andrew, Emma, Marianne, on 23 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Andrew Leitch

      Andrew Leitch answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      A very empathetic question (you’ll go far!)

      I think if you think about the bigger picture like that it is easy to get discouraged. It’s easier to think in terms of short-term goals. That way you can wake up on Monday morniing and think ‘OK I’ll finish 3 experiments by Friday’ rather than ‘I only have 3 years to make a treatment for lung disease happen and smarter/more handsome people have been working on this for years.

      Of course I get discouraged when things start to go wrong but there are always alternative approaches to a problem and working in a team helps you to see that.

      Here’s a thought that should help you fight a bit longer, things that don’t actually kill you outright make you stronger…!

    • Photo: Andrew Maynard

      Andrew Maynard answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      Hi u26rumfordh,

      All the time I’m afraid. But that’s no excuse not to try – I don’t have any illusions (I hope) that I’m going to make a big difference in making the world a better place, but I do know that if I don’t do anything, it won’t get better on its own.

      I also feel encouraged when I manage to help individuals and small groups of people. The whole world is a bit of a big place to make a difference in, but individual people are important – and often I feel that one really good conversation is worth a whole lot more than making a big splash.

    • Photo: Marianne Baker

      Marianne Baker answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      u26rumfordh, you are very perceptive.


      One of the great things about science (that we don’t even know how much we don’t know… so there’s huge potential for discovery) can also be one of the most challenging. There’s no end to the amount of work you can do!

      This can be pretty scary and demoralising at times, but you have to try to stay focussed and achieve little goals along the way, hoping they come together as something important eventually 🙂

    • Photo:

      answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Hi u26rumfordh…….the law regarding environmental management has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and therefore there is a greater number of legal requirements that ourselves and industry have had to abide by. As the Royal Navy is a government department, we have also had a number of governmental environment targets placed on us. Therefore, I am always busy but I think it is worth it if we can improve the way we manage our environmental performance.:)

    • Photo: Emma Pilgrim

      Emma Pilgrim answered on 23 Jun 2010:


      Well yes! In reality, feeling discouraged or like there is too much to do, is also going to be true to some extent for other people in their jobs too. What matters is if overall you are enjoying what you do as the sad fact is that we spend most of our time at work so it is important to be happy and fulfilled.