Having a Career Conversation with Your Research Mentor

This program is not currently scheduled

However, you can find resources like slides and recordings under Materials at the bottom of this page. To get announcements when this program is offered next, sign up to the OCPD listserv and be sure to open emails from "UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development"


A career conversation with your research mentor is essentially a negotiation. It's a time to discuss your career path, what types of support your research mentor is willing and able to offer, and the level of productivity they'll need to see to continue to support you.

Using best practices from Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Stone, Patton, Heen and Fisher), participants will go through the steps of preparing for a negotiation (including identifying conversational goals and concerns about the conversation, assessing their research mentor's position and preferences, etc.), brainstorm different conversational tactics for each stage of a negotiation (including opening the conversation, negotiating different issues, coming to agreement and ending a conversation) and consider steps post-conversation.

This program is intended for PhD candidates and postdocs.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify the steps to prepare for a career conversation
  • Consider how your research mentor would prefer to have this conversation
  • Develop talking points to keep the conversation on track
  • Discuss how to open, have and exit the conversation
  • Identify strategies if a conversation becomes contentious
  • Describe next steps post-conversation(s)


Naledi Saul, MPM
Director, Office of Career and Professional Development



This program is part of the Workplace Navigation (formerly Manage Up) series.

A note about our virtual events: We would like to welcome you, as and where you are, to our virtual events. If there are times you just don’t want to be on camera, feel free to attend this event with your camera and mic off. If you prefer to switch on your camera and participate that’s great too. And if this event just won’t work for you please remember you can always make an appointment with us at any time. 

UCSF is committed to making its facilities, activities and events accessible. To request accommodations for this event, please contact Trish McGrath ([email protected]) at the Office of Career and Professional Development at least one week before the event.