70% of all job offers are not published. My job position was not advertised anywhere but it is the best job position I could have.
And this happens everywhere. There is a lot of work that is hidden and that if you learn to look for it you have access to it and no one else has access to it.
— Fernando Mateos
Fernando Mateos (@bioblogo) has a degree in Biology, a PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of Barcelona, has done postdocs in Sweden, Germany and the United States, and has been sharing job opportunities and advice for young biologists for more than 15 years on his personal blog: Bioblogia.net .
In addition, throughout his career, Fernando has participated in dozens of projects around the world that have allowed him to do truly incredible things, such as tracking lynxes in the snow, guiding expeditions through the Peruvian Amazon, lowering the Yukon River in canoeing, diving in Lake Tanganyika and even filming a documentary for the BBC in the jungle.
In this interview, Fernando and I cover his entire career, from his beginnings as a student to his current life as an adventurer and “mercenary nomad of biology”, which is how he likes to describe himself, and we talk about topics as interesting as…
- Why, after finishing his degree, Fernando spent 2 months of his life learning to tan leather and shoot firearms?
- How Fernando managed to be able to work and live in several different countries while doing his PhD
- What was it that led Fernando to leave his academic career after having invested more than 10 years in it?
- What are the keys to finding work in the conservation sector for Fernando?
- Or what are the 4 types of lucky guys that exist, and how they have helped Fernando to create a life to suit him
The truth is that Fernando has an incredible story that shows that, if you want, life can be a great adventure full of possibilities, so I think you’ll love this interview.
But hey, I prefer not to anticipate anything else and let you discover it yourself, so without further ado I leave you with the great Fernando Mateos.
Where to find Fernando:
Mentioned in the episode:
0:53 – Presentation of the guest
2:32 – Start of the interview
2:37 – How I met Fernando
5:24 – Where does Fernando’s fondness for speaking as in the 17th century come from and if it is true that he had a Facebook group called “I also like to speak as if I lived in the 17th century”
9:12 – How did he deal with having to move so much as a child due to his father’s military job?
11:28 – How do you think that having to start from scratch several times as a child has impacted your personality?
15:20 Why did you choose Biology?
19:21 – Why at university I didn’t go to class much and preferred to collaborate with the zoology department
12:52 p.m. – Why did he set himself the goal of finishing his degree with a 7 and how did he prepare for exams without going to class?
29:14 – What impact has a job you had as a salesperson one summer while studying have had on your life?
33:11 – Where did the idea of starting your Bioblogía blog come from and what did you write about?
35:27 – How he got his first job as a biologist which involved installing nest boxes
37:37 – How was the interview you did with Javier Castroviejo, a legend in biology?
42:04 – How he learned to tan animal skins, shoot weapons or ride a horse
44:52 – How difficult it was to make the decision to give up your dream of going to the jungle and stay to do your thesis in Badajoz
49:07 – How about the offer to work in flora and fauna in La Rioja that came to you through your blog?
53:29 – How Fernando felt about leaving his research position at the university a few months after starting the new position he got in conservation
56:54 – Which option did you choose between working in the Monfragüe National Park or going to do your PhD in Barcelona and why?
58:56 – What did the Barcelona scholarship consist of?
59:28 – How did you manage to get the scholarship if you didn’t have such a good grade?
1:04:52 – How was your stay in Sweden and if the Swedish women are as beautiful as they say
1:09:27 – How did you find life in Sweden and its culture?
1:11:50 – How he combined his long-distance relationship with his doctorate in Barcelona and research stays abroad
1:14:44 – What is the reason for the paper that he wrote about the “sexy birds” had such an impact in the world of biology
1:19:23 – How was your experience as a researcher in the United States and what differences did you find there with Spain and Europe?
1:26:59 – What is type 1 luck and what incredible thing happened to Fernando in relation to this kind of luck
1:33:43 – Why Fernando decides to continue in the academic world once he finishes his thesis instead of recovering his dream of going to the jungle
1:35:40 – What epic adventure you decide to do with your friend Sergi during your post-doc and what happened to them
1:42:50 – How was your experience working as a researcher once you finished your doctorate and how was life in Sweden without being a student?
1:48:10 – Why were you not worried about going to the United States without a job?
1:53:02 – How was the experience of living and working in Austin compared to Sweden and Alabama?
1:58:03 – Why Fernando had a strong personal crisis at that time
2:02:54 – Why did it not seem like a mistake, after all the years you had invested as a researcher, to leave everything to return to conservation?
2:05:51 – What is type 2 luck and what did Fernando do to invoke it in London the night before an important interview
2:15:22 – How was the interview you did with the British Exploring Society
2:18:58 – What did your job consist of as a guide for the British Exploring Society and did the Amazon jungle meet your expectations?
2:28:11 – What is type 3 luck and how did it help you find a job with the characteristics you wanted?
2:39:46 – Why did you end up accepting a job below your level and if you didn’t feel like taking a step back in your professional career?
2:44:49 – How was working with ALKA Wildlife and what projects did you do with them during your first months?
2:47:12 – What is type 4 luck and what happened to you in Canada related to it
2:57:08 – How was the experience of recording a documentary with the BBC
2:59:53 – What is Conservation Careers and how did you start collaborating with them?
3:03:51 – What did you do in the course that Fernando is doing together with Conservation Careers to get a job in conservation and to which profiles it is aimed
3:08:33 – What did Fernando come up with to be able to make more and more expeditions in the jungle as he wanted?
3:14:51 – What has happened to the own expedition that you are preparing, what it will consist of and who can sign up
3:17:09 – What does Fernando do now and what jobs and projects he has underway
3:20:50 – How is a day in the life of Fernando
3:22:54 –Fernando explains if he is happy with the life of adventures he has created
3:24:18 – What does Fernando recommend to focus on during the university years to a biology student who is clear that he wants to dedicate himself to research?
3:31:39 – What is better once you finish your degree than if you want to be a researcher: work, do a master’s degree, look for a scholarship…
3:38:57 – What type of doctorates are there and what needs to be taken into account to choose the most appropriate one according to your goals
3:42:51 – Which is better: doing the doctorate in Spain or abroad
3:42:44 – What are the things that must be taken into account to be a researcher
3:51:14 – How to write a good paper
3:56:23 – What opportunities are there in the academic world that not everyone knows about and how they can be taken advantage of
4:03:41 – What is the difference between researching as a doctor outside and inside the university and the advantages and disadvantages of each one
4:08:35 – What kind of jobs exist in the conservation sector
4:13:11 – How is the labor market on the subject of conservation?
4:14:24 – How to find those special offers that do not appear on Linkedin or in traditional search engines
4:19:47 – What is more important to work in conservation: grades or skills
4:21:21 – What is the secret to a good job interview that secures the position
4:31:10 – How to turn a job that you are offered into a job that suits you
4:36:03 – What is the Biogroup and why did Fernando create it?
4:39:48 – What are Fernando’s plans for the coming months?
4:41:28 – Which 3 books have impacted or changed you the most throughout your life?
4:46:19 – Advice, message or final recommendation for listeners
4:47:18 – Where to find Fernando
(10 ratings, mean: 4.4)