A statistician and traveler talks about balance

Yajnaseni Chakraborti | Talkback Tuesday

1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?

I am a budding statistician, food enthusiast, and occasional backpacker. I work in the field of Oncology drug development. In layman terms, I am responsible for the analysis and interpretation of the data collected from clinical trials.

2. Tell me about Ladakh. Why did you decide to travel there, what was your favorite experience, and why should other people consider a trip?

It was one of the most chaotic phases in my life. I was going through something that most people go through at some point in their lives… unattained goals, lack of purpose, and an overwhelming feeling of self-doubt.

Despite extreme weather, Ladakh is a popular tourist destination.

3. You said you are a statistician working on data from clinical trials. What kind of satisfaction do you derive from this line of work, and where do you see your career in say, 7 years?

I work in cancer trials which entails determining the benefit-risk profile of a drug in treating the disease. Cancer research has made a lot of progress in the past decade, but there is still room for improvement.

4. It seems there are two distinct aspects of your personality — the cancer-studying statistician, and the food-loving traveler, and you love both of them. If you had to give 3 pieces of advice on how to lead a balanced and fulfilling life, what would they be?

I am fortunate to be working for an organization where the life outside of the workplace is respected. There are no negotiations in terms of leaves as long as you do a good job and finish on time. This is probably not the case everywhere. So my three suggestions are:

  1. Life is not bell-shaped. Our professional life sometimes has the leverage over our personal life and vice versa. Striking a balance for both simultaneously is difficult. So it is important to prioritize and even more to live with the choice you made.
    You cannot go for a vacation and keep thinking about what is happening in your project, nor can you think about your holiday destination while your project submission is ongoing. That way you don’t do justice to either.
  2. Be grateful for what you have. Appreciation triggers satisfaction. I make it a practice to remind myself of the better things in life and appreciate them.
Life is not this. Not everything is smooth and normal.

5. Great. Finally, do you have anything you’d like the audience to explore? It can be a business or movement, or it could be anything from a video to an idea.

I love to read, so I try to encourage everyone I know to read. Here’s an author whose writing is simple and yet beautiful, Sudha Murthy. Some of us must be already familiar with her books. For those who aren’t, try reading her short stories. They are insightful and tell you a thing or two about life.

Click the image to see the interview. (Takes you to vaibhavgupta.net)

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Vaibhav Gupta

Professional technical writer, 2x Distinguished Toastmaster. I write about mental health and self-awareness. Also see https://medium.com/thorough-and-unkempt