Ten Reasons to Make Yourself a Business Card

Recently, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography held their 2017 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu. The Donahue lab was there and presented some great research. Post doc Dr. Courtney Couch gave a talk on the recent mass bleaching events across the Hawaiian archipelago and what we can learn from these events in terms of susceptibility and recovery. Ph.D. candidate Eileen Nalley talked about diet specialization in herbivorous reef fishes and patterns in the spectrum of specialization observed in herbivorous reef fish communities across the Pacific. Master’s student Julie Zill presented a poster on how the abundance of moray eels varies on reefs with differing levels of fishing pressure. Lab graduate Dr. Nyssa Silbiger talked about pH variability in tide pools on the west coast and how community metabolism both drives and responds to pH in tide pools. I talked about my first dissertation chapter focused on identifying drivers of spatial patterns in the community composition of Pocillopora-associated communities around O‘ahu.

In addition to learning about recent research, conferences are a great time to mingle and meet scientists from around the world. This is always a time when I find myself grateful that I made myself business cards. If you haven’t yet made yourself business cards and need further convincing this is a good idea, I have come up with a list of ten reasons (from the perspective of a graduate student) to make yourself a business card:

(1) You get to take a break from all your other work (e.g., coding / writing / studying).

(2) You get to tap into the artistic side of your brain to make it attractive.

(3) You could take some time to really search through your field photos and find the perfect one.

(4) You can spend time deciding if you are willing to pay for a recycled one – or even one that has seeds in it so people can plant it when they are done adding you to their contacts!

(5) You get to come up with a good title for yourself: something like “Jack of all Trades – particularly good at biology, statistics, team management, data management, computer programming, project logistics, public speaking, writing, teaching, outreach…”, or “No I Will Not Get a Real Job”, or “Eternal Graduate Student”, or if you are planning to print over 250, it is probably best to keep your job title vague e.g., “Scientist”.

(6) You can take time to make rough estimates for how many cards you should print… if you go to 2 conferences a year and you’re in graduate school for about 3 more years and at previous conferences you’ve wished you had business cards to hand out ~72 times per conference… maybe 500 isn’t such a bad idea. . .

(7) You’ll get to feel very professional at conferences as you hand people your “official” card. . . almost like you have a real job.

(8) You’ll have too many to know what to do with that you’ll end up handing them out to anyone… e.g., Aunt Susie at a family meal wants to know more about your research? Give her a card, then she can check out your website; or maybe you’re out on a date and don’t want to give out your personal phone number but are open to having another person follow your twitter account…

(9) If you do order 500, you’ll have enough to build an excellent house of cards on your desk at work (in between bouts of high productivity).

(10) I’m pretty sure this counts as a work expense, so you can write it off on your taxes!

A work of art and yet, very professional…