• Question: Are you competitive in your work? Do you strive to be better than everyone else?

    Asked by to Aimee, Dave, Greig, Laurence on 25 Jun 2014. This question was also asked by .
    • Photo: Greig Cowan

      Greig Cowan answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Hi! Yes, I am very competitive in my work and try and make myself better each day. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work so I need to keep plugging away! Science can be very competitive as you try to be the first to get a new result published. However, it is also very collaborative, with people generally trying their best to help each other out. This is particularly true in large experimental collaborations where there can be many hundreds of scientists all working together to ensure the experiment is operating at peak performance. Everyone wants to do the best they can, which leads to a good atmosphere.

    • Photo: Laurence Perreault Levasseur

      Laurence Perreault Levasseur answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Yes I think I’m a pretty competitive person in general (at least, my husband keep on saying so and making fun of me because of it… 😉 ).
      In my work I really try not to be, though (at least, not with others – with myself it’s a different story). I really don’t see it as a competition, but rather as many opportunities to learn more. I’m not interested in becoming the best, I’m just interested in figuring out what’s the best theory of nature and how the Universe truly works. I’m not scared of saying I have no clue about something, because often that means someone will be able to help me understanding something that I didn’t quite get, or becoming a better researcher!

      The thing is, there are so many people in the world, and so many scientists, if you start comparing yourself to figure who’s the best, who’s better or worse than you, it’s really not productive. And there will ALWAYS be someone, somewhere, better than you in something (I mean, even within your own science field). A lot of young scientists are very competitive and end up having their self-confidence completely crushed because of that. So I leave the competitive spirit home for when I go biking, or for when I play games with my husband 😉

    • Photo: Aimee Hopper

      Aimee Hopper answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Absolutely! Competition makes people strive to achieve more, surpass their best and, generally, get it right in the process!

      I think healthy competition is very good for the work place 🙂

      Unless it’s aggressive, then it’s just darned annoying!

    • Photo: Dave Jones

      Dave Jones answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Sure! But, I think it’s less to do with being competitive with others and more about being competitive with yourself. We all set ourselves goals and targets, and then try to meet those. Often they are very ambitious and so we don’t quite make it, but it’s quite rare that we are doing the same thing as someone else and so get to be competitive with our colleagues. And, nowadays, almost everyone works as part of a team because the projects we are involved in are too big for just one person, that means that you have to work together and collaborate rather than be competitive with everyone else!