Workplace Navigation: The Strategic Student/Postdoc

Our goal is to teach every UCSF student and postdoc how to assess and skillfully navigate academic and employment workspaces.

This series teaches strategic competencies, such as situational awareness, problem-solving, interest-based negotiation, backward-designing training and professional goals, positioning oneself, managing professional relationships, and navigating organizational politics.


Not sure where to start? Get a baseline! Everyone's experience of mentorship is different but there are key aspects that everyone needs. Take our quiz to quantify how well your relationship with your research mentor is working, then learn how you can further support this important relationship.

Choose a topic below to learn more:

Understanding the environment you work in is critical to planning for success. Visit this page to learn about how to assess your research mentor, your manager, and the level of inclusivity in your environment.

Joining a Lab or Research Group

Joining a new team is challenging and involves major decisions that can have a large impact on how well you are set up for success. Visit this page for resources to choose a thesis lab and to set yourself up for success in the first 90 days.

Navigating a Lab or Research Group

Once you've integrated yourself into a research team (even if it is just you and your mentor), many interpersonal interactions deserve a close look. Visit this page for strategies to manage lab politics, best practices for training new team members, support negotiating for what you need, and more.

Managing Your Growth and Performance

You are the ultimate author of your own training progression and professional growth. Visit this page for resources on individual development planning, soliciting and responding to feedback, defining success and clarifying performance expectations, and more.
Everyone needs support in their professional growth, but do you know where to find it? Visit this page for support in finding mentorship, navigating networking interactions, and informational interviewing to expand your professional network.

Sharing and Communicating Your Accomplishments

Your great work may be very satisfying personally, but when you make your next career move, others need to know about it! Visit this page to learn about effective cover letter and CV writing and how to plan for (and use) the interview process.

Upcoming Events


How to inclusively hire: Which strategies will you use?

Date: May 30, 2024
Time: 12 - 2 p.m.

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: May 30, 2024
Time: 9 - 10 a.m.

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: June 4, 2024
Time: 12 -1 p.m.