Great piece and an important message that I wish more working professionals, business leaders, and young scientists would take to heart. The importance of clear and effective written communication has never been higher. At the same time the downsides of being a bad writer have never been more pronounced. Fortunately, writing is one of the few skills that is equally available to all, requires little or no specialized training, and can boost you career outlook immeasurably. It does require practice, a basic understanding of the rules of grammar, and a strong command of language and vocabulary. Unfortunately, it is not a skill that is emphasized in training of research scientists and I see the impacts of that everyday in my job. Poor writing is endemic and greatly limits the opportunities of many research scientists who would otherwise have bright futures in academia or industry. A Ph.D. can open many doors but to be invited in requires the ability to navigate a complex web of human interactions that are often mediated directly or indirectly through written communication. For the research scientist writing skill becomes even more important as clarity and economy of thought are absolute requirements of effective technical writing. We used to think of writing as a nice to have or value add in a scientists, now it is a must have. My advice to any young researchers out there, spend a little less time at the bench and a little more time on this website or others like it working on your writing skills. The impact on your research goals will be little felt, but the impact on your future could be huge indeed.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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