Newcomers may not at first understand that workshops, meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences and congresses are where the members of the “invisible college” of their speciality or field of interest meet to interact. On the positive side, this means exchanging news of how everyone’s research is getting on, what results are emerging and where they agree or conflict, where collaborations might be fruitful, who is planning to do what, and where there might be a job coming up. On the negative side, you learn where and for whom the research, the job or life in general have gone wrong, and who is at loggerheads with whom. You must decide whether you want to become an insider or whether you have what it takes to be an outsider in the short or long term, perhaps until retirement.
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