We believe that finding purpose in your career – whatever that may be – is foundational to your success.

If you’re a TU/e PhD, PDEng, Postdoc or starting researcher and want to discover the possibilities for the next stage in your career, even during uncertain times, this event is for you! Join your colleagues and our expert trainers throughout November 15-19th to explore and get inspired in your choice of more than 70 live sessions. Speak to coaches, peers, trainers and experiential experts when it comes to shaping your career YOUR way.

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the connecting thread of this Young Professional Career Week
What is Ikigai?
According to the Japanese tradition, everyone has an Ikigai. This is defined as ‘the reason for being’ and having a sense of purpose. The feeling of Ikigai is supposed to make you feel accomplished and fulfilled, and leads to a long, healthy and happy life. The tradition was born on the Japanese island Okinawa, where more healthy and active 100-year-olds live than anywhere on earth.
Ikigai can be found when your passion, mission, profession and vocation align; Ikigai ‘happens’ if what you are good at, what you love to do, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for come together.
Finding your Ikigai is not achieved easily, it is a process that takes time and attention. But how wonderful would it be if your next career step brings you closer to your Ikigai, or even matches your Ikigai? For that reason we have chosen Ikigai as a connecting thread for our program this year. We hope that by participating in the Young Professionals Career Week you will discover more about your Ikigai and will find fulfillment in the next career step. We offer a short workshop that covers the whole Ikigai model: see workshop ‘Ikigai, find out what truly motivates you’. Or you can spend time digging deeper in some of the elements of Ikigai, in the workshops ‘Ikigai find your passion, ‘Ikigai find your purpose’ or ‘Ikigai action’. Take a look at our program of the Young Professional Career Week and get inspired to find your Ikigai!

TU/e staff about career paths

“I am curious by nature and always want to explore new directions, not only in science but also in my career. I think I always have a point on the horizon to aim for, but I try to keep my eyes wide open when heading towards that point. You don’t want to miss new opportunities that can be even more interesting and rewarding.”

Prof.dr. Paul Koenraad, Dean of the Graduate School
“Choose for what gives you most energy and for activities you like the most. In following steps, focus on where you can add most value. Do not think and plan too much, but start DOING and making decisions, even when uncertainty is high. Remember, failing is part of learning! And most important for whatever you go for: resilience and never give up is often necessary in order to succeed.”
Prof. Isabelle Reymen, Scientific Director TU/e Innovation Space and Chair of Design of Innovation Ecosystems ITEM Group
“We live in an exciting, but demanding era due to continuous change. These changes open new opportunities, but also make it harder to find and pursue a career that matches your interests and in which you fully can employ your skills. Make full use of the Career Week to get the best possible view on different career paths, to get to know yourself and become aware of what it takes to obtain your dream career!”
Dr. Alessandro Di Bucchianico, Graduate Program Director Industrial and Applied Mathematics
“When it comes to achieving your dream career, making a timely and conscious decision to pursue your career goals can make all the difference. However, the first step must be career orientation: to learn about what career options exist (besides a tenure track) and figuring out what suits you the best.”
Dr. Tim Wezeman, Chairman of the TU/e Postdoc Association
“The first question I ask applicants is: ‘What will you do ten years from now?” And I am pretty sure that many of the ones who give a clear answer find themselves in a totally different job than they imagined ten years down the road, but also in one which fits them even better than they ever expected. Planning your career is not about predicting your future, but it is about working on your strengths (and somewhat on your weaknesses), so that when opportunities come by, you are ready for them. For me this meant that after a 26-year international career in industry on the factory floor, and not in research, I got the offer for a professorship at this university. And that has brought totally different challenges, and lots of new fun.”
Dr. Ward Cottaar, Director School of Medical Physics and Engineering

“For people with an outstanding education like you, these are times of amazing opportunities and options! In my personal case, following passion and purpose lead me down an exciting -sometimes too exciting- path to say the least. I had the opportunity to combine academia and entrepreneurship and now I have the privilege to work with promising young students, private companies, government bodies and universities. My wish for our students is to understand the many options and to find their fit. You should know that some trial and error may be needed but that you have the rare fortune of being able to take stock of the future ahead of you.”

Prof.dr. Sandro Etalle, Full Professor and Group Leader 'security', Mathematics and Computer Science
“Building a great career is about taking risks and knowing that by doing what you love, you are contributing value as a scientist. I fell in love with teaching and knew it was my path for the start of my scientific career. Teaching give me the chance to work with brilliant people that challenge my point of view – I am learning from the process of teaching as much as my students are learning from me! When it comes to deciding on your career, don’t be afraid of a career path outside of the research norm and use this change to explore as many avenues as possible.”
Dr. Josephine Proll, Assistant Professor - Applied Physics