U of T professor Scott Scheiman standing outside on a downtown street.

Learn From Your Failures (There’ll Be Plenty)

Persistence has paid off for this researcher, whether it comes to his work in the field of sociology or making the most of an Indian buffet.


Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology and a Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health at the University of Toronto. His research explores the ways that work shapes one’s sense of self and identity, status, and well-being.

We asked him about everything from the importance of persistence to his favourite cuisines in the hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

The process of discovery and the new ways of learning to be curious.

What advice would you give to young researchers?

Persistence, persistence, persistence — learn from the failures (and there will be plenty of them).

What inspired you to become a researcher?

Caring and authentic mentors.

What do you like to do for fun?

Research… and play with my dog.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

I am dangerous around an Indian buffet (but also love sushi).

If you could do any profession other than your own, what would it be?


If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Karl Marx. I’d like to ask him: “What did you really mean when you said religion was the ‘opium of the people’?” And, maybe a follow-up: “When you said that work helps humans ‘develop their slumbering powers’ — what slumbering powers?”

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