Scientifically, that is.
it's hard when sr. PIs ask you where you hope your lab is in 5 yrs because the honest answer is: I hope I'm still here (1)
— Zoe McElligott (@nanopharmNC) January 12, 2016
I like the answer Zoe gave for her own question.
I, too, just hope to be viable as a grant funded research laboratory. I have my desires but my confidence in realizing my goals is sharply limited by the fact I cannot count on funding.
Edited to add:
When I was a brand new Assistant Professor I once attended a career stage talk of a senior scientist in my field. It wasn't an Emeritus wrap-up but it was certainly later career. The sort of thing where you expect a broad sweeping presentation of decades of work focused around a fairly cohesive theme.
The talk was "here's the latest cool finding from our lab". I was.....appalled. I looked over this scientist's publication record and grant funding history and saw that it was....scattered. I don't want to say it was all over the place, and there were certain thematic elements that persisted. But this was when I was still dreaming of a Grande Arc for my laboratory. The presentation was distinctly not that.
And I thought "I will be so disappointed in myself if I reach that stage of my career and can only give that talk".
I am here to tell you people, I am definitely headed in that direction at the moment. I think I can probably tell a slightly more cohesive story but it isn't far away.
I AM disappointed. In myself.
And of course in the system, to the extent that I think it has failed to support my "continuous Grande Arc Eleventy" plans for my research career.
But this is STUPID. There is no justifiable reason for me to think that the Grande Arc is any better than just doing a good job with each project, 5 years of funding at a time.