Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

… as an Early-Career Biostatistician

Alessandro Gasparini ⋅ @ellessenne

(Professional) life as
an early-career biostatistician…
is hard!

Comfort zone

The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.

I will argue that, when done right, leaving the comfort zone can sometimes be good for early-career biostatisticians.

Done right”?

Some examples

  • Challenging yourself in a new research area,

  • Working with a new collaborator,

  • Teaching a course or a workshop,

  • Learning a new programming language,

  • Publishing your code/software,

  • Engaging with other researchers or the public,


… sharing is scary!

Sharing you code

It can be scary but also lead to:

  1. Improving your programming skills,

  2. Networking with other researchers/programmers,

  3. Practice collaboration, documentation, and UI/UX design,

  4. Looks good on your CV,

  5. People will thank you!

Most importantly, sharing your code lets other people re-use your code in their job/research!

If you share it, people use it

Engaging with others

  • It challenges your understanding, e.g., of statistical concepts,

  • It tests your ability to explain yourself,

  • It opens to collaborations or future jobs,

  • It can improve your spoon-index™,


You might want to follow Dr. Tim Morris on Twitter…


Comfort zones are good!

Sometimes, getting uncomfortable can be good for your growth. Unexpected (and positive!) outcomes might come your way.

Comfort boundaries are very personal. What works for somebody might not work for somebody else.

…submitting this abstract made me uncomfortable!

A final disclaimer…

This is just my personal experience, and I do not recommend blindly following this.

Always talk to someone you trust first.

Thanks for listening!