2nd Edition: Contemporary Problems in Sci Jobs

Arthur E. Sowers arthures at access2.digex.net
Wed Mar 27 19:10:56 EST 1996

LONG FILE: about 100K

========  beginning of copyrighted material ====

Contemporary Problems in Science Jobs (CPSJ) - in seven parts.


by: Arthur E. Sowers, PhD

e-mail addresses: 
<arthures at access.digex.net> and 
<arthures at dmv.com>

i. Copyright (conditions for unlimited reproduction)
ii. Preface to Second Edition

Part 1. The job crunch and the grant crunch
Part 2. What needs to be in a CV
Part 3. Self Evaluation and Some things YOU can do for YOU
Part 4. Tenure and terminations
Part 5A & 5B. Uncollegial behavior & Ref List
Part 6. Before the PhD, the post-doc search
Part 7. When ESCAPE from the science career is needed (Was ATSJ)

i. ================================

Copyright with conditions for unlimited reproduction 

This material is copyrighted. However, I hereby grant anyone non-
exclusive permission to reproduce and distribute, royalty-free, these
essays under the following three conditions: a) all material will remain
unmodified and unedited and complete, b) I be informed of who is
using the material and in what way (including installation at a Web
site, reproduction for handouts, etc.), and c) no profits or fee be
charged to the end user in any connection with using or distributing
this material. 

ii. ========= Preface to Second Edition =====

Earlier versions of these essays have been posted primarily and
repeatedly on the internet newsgroup <sci.research.careers> for
approximately one year (March 1995 to March 1996). A number of
versions are archived at a number of sites. These essays were written
in the public interest and for the benefit of younger people who are in
the grad school to postdoc pipeline. This edition was cleaned up,
reorganized somewhat, slightly shortened, and brought up to date. 

People who are in the grad school to postdoc pipeline are, for the
most part, hoping to see their dreams come true with a real and decent
career job in science. The purpose of this document is to inform these
people about the realities that will be in conflict with their dreams.

While the model "job" in this document is a faculty position in
academia, much of the job situation holds true for non academic jobs
in industry, also. The model "job" also has a research component.
Today, most research is done in post baccalaureate institutions usually
called a "research university", but can also be done at "health science
centers" (usually dominated by a medical school), or one of many
private institutions (eg. Salk Institute, etc.). The total number of
faculty, in all subjects, at all collegiate and university institutions, is
about 700,000. The total number of faculty at medical schools is about
80,000. Some research, better labeled as "development" also takes
place in industrial and government settings. While some details of jobs
in these environments will be discussed, the primary scope of this
document is academia.   

With the exception of a small number of "hot" fields, the number of
all after-the-postdoc jobs is half or less of what it needs to be to
absorb all of those coming through the pipeline.  Some of the rest
will, indeed, have some success and see their dreams for a career
partly fulfilled but the career there will be a shortfall in rewards. This
is because not only are there not enough jobs, but the funding levels
(primarily through government funding agencies) are not high enough
to support those jobs. Also, at many institutions, tenure is either
already diluted, being diluted, or being separated from promotions.
What this means is that you may spend one or two decades of hard
work devoting your life to a pursuit that can be pulled out from under
you at any time because of a funding glitch or politics in your local
power hierarchy.  I would also guess that in the future about five to
ten percent of all scientists are likely to run into really nasty
personality and ideological conflicts in their work environments and
have their career unjustly derailed or delayed.

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