Thinking about bugs
jaymone at paonline.com
Tue Apr 4 21:17:56 EST 2000
Asking what its like to be a microbiologist is like asking what its like to
be a doctor. It very much depends on what area you choose to be in.
I currently teach microbiology et al. at a liberal arts college. I teach 2
or three classes each semester, and usually have some time to do modest
research projects with students. Its a lot of fun to interact in the lab
with interested and motivated students. I don't have to teach in the
summer, but I can if I want.
Now, the place I left for this job was at a private, non-profit research
center. This environment was quite different. Top drawer research, meaning
the kind that gets funded by NIH and other federal institutions, is very
competitive, and very unforgiving. Most of the best people (scientifically)
that I met during my four years as a post doc were either single, or dinks.
There isn't really much time to raise a family.
I also worked as a medical technologist in a hospital, again a different
environment, geared mostly to the identification and characterization of
clinical isolates to help in the treatment of infections.
All in all, there are many different paths you can take. None are
particularly well paying, so don't worry about that. Just as your
experience in Africa is much different than the small town GP, different
areas of microbiology give vastly different experiences.
Good luck in your search.
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