No Insults Intended, But...

David Kristofferson kristoff at genbank.bio.net
Tue Feb 5 16:42:46 EST 1991


> 	Furthermore, as the economic situation get tighter, researchers
> that fit between disciplines will have more trouble getting jobs,
> grants, etc.

Frankly, this is not new, although it may be worsening.  The gist of
the report was that funding did not rise as fast as the number of baby
boomers who want to get a slice of the pie.  This shouldn't be news to
anyone.

Coming from a BIO-PHYSICAL-CHEMISTRY background which included
substantial computing, this kind of interdiscplinary "lack of
identity" problem had a lot to do with my own career choices and with
why I am now at IntelliGenetics.

Suffice it to say that I was the first in one of my advisors groups to
go into dreaded industry in 1986.  However, I would like all of you to
know that

		     there is life in industry!!!

I was told by one person a long time back (being one of their "prize
students") that if I ever went into industry he'd "cut off both of my
legs."  While I am sure that this was stated with a slight amount of
exaggeration 8-), it nonetheless reflects an attitude in academia that
I encountered repeatedly.

No, I am not doing "real science" any more, but, frankly, I am happy
in my job and have no regrets.  In fact, when I think back about the
academic position that I turned down prior to coming to IG, I sigh
with relief at the choice I made.

The thing that bothers me about the situation above is that so many
young people are essentially brain-washed into thinking that, if they
don't make in in academics, they've failed.  This is absolutely
asinine and a complete disservice to them as part of their
"education."  High tech companies are not the mindless industrial
mills of the 19th century, and capitalists are not vampires who suck
blood out of widows and orphans.  What is sad is that a more positive
attitude towards industry is not fostered in academia.  For example,
the Genome project will undoubtedly lead to all kinds of new jobs for
people in this area, but many of those jobs would be in the private
sector.  Thus one is confronted by the protest of young academics who
are concerned about their money being sucked away.  I believe that if
one looked at the overall picture without rose-colored glasses, one
might actually find that these people might be better off if they
considered other options.

I would be the first to applaud if Congress decided to expand
scientific funding to the point where all qualified people could get
grants.  However, this is not the case, probably won't be the case for
some time to come, but still isn't cause for total despair.  There are
other options.  It takes a lot of exertion to change one's mindset and
realize that, unfortunately.

				Sincerely,

				Dave Kristofferson
				GenBank Manager

				kristoff at genbank.bio.net


P.S. - I don't expect the above to be especially popular and am
prepared to take my lumps 8-).



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