SPIE Career Center


Maria Calvo
Professor of Optics, University Complutense de Madrid, Spain

How do you spend a typical day?
I spend most of the day with the faculty. I am now head of the department, and I try to speed up the administrative business early in the morning (say before 10 a.m.). Then if I have courses, I start with the preparation. Sometimes I need to update the multimedia and other material for my students--exercises and so on. In the middle of the morning I stop a bit to check my email. This is now taken time, and I try to speed up the most urgent matters.

After working with email I stop fur lunch (sometimes I have lunch in my office, this is faster!) unless I have some appointment or visit, then I have a better lunch (?) at the faculty cafeteria. In the afternoon if I have no courses, this is when I work better with my collaborators at the lab on discussions and projects.

Anyhow, it is rather difficult to assure a routine schedule since one needs to adjust to the everyday happenings.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career?
The most important thing is that you have to like your work; you have to trust the benefits of your daily work for the profit of your students or for the improvement of your career. If things seem harder in some moments, remember this is something that usually happens to everyone in one moment or another of our professional life. Then, do not give room to discouragement; adopting a positive and constructive attitude will always help you secure a good decision.