Career in the Microbio Sciences

Russell Martin russell.martin at
Tue Feb 15 18:08:57 EST 2000

Jim Hu wrote:

snipped for brevity

> There are many other lower paying activities that can be substituted for
> baseball in the analogy - I just went to a concert/open discussion where
> guitarist Elliot Fisk mentioned that music conservatories are putting out
> musicians and training them as if they're all going to be soloists with the NY
> Philharmonic when there are 200 applicants for jobs like second tuba of the
> Tulsa symphony.  What fraction of actors/musicians/dancers make it?  What
> fraction of students who want to paint or sculpt for a living?

Allow me to take one point out of context and totally ravage you for it.

Everyone knows that one is unlikely to have a successful (not to
mention lucrative) professional career as an actor, musician, dancer,
or buggy whip maker, but we keep hearing about the importance of
America's lead in science and technology and how the 21st Century
workforce needs to understand science and technology if we are to
compete successfully, yada, yada.  If these things are actually so
important the free market should, in theory, set the value of the
labor of those with this type of knowledge higher.  No, the 21st
Century American economy is based on plenty of cheap, low skill
labor for the fast food industry, cheap imported mass market goods,
and the mass market entertainment industry, including sports.  To the
extent that a science education prepares one for the first in order
to earn a little money to spend keeping the second and third going,
it is welcome.

>  I would guess
> that  compared to Ph.D. scientists, the attrition, pay, benefits and future
> prospects are all worse (DISCLAIMER - this is based on no data at all).  What
> these have in common with science as a career is that people do these things to
> satisfy an obsession.  They view this reward as worth the risks involved.  This
> means that going to grad school as a way to mark time because you didn't get
> into med school is a bad idea.

Maybe, but I know a number of veterinarians who did this and it seems
to have worked out OK, especially if they've later gone into research.

rest snipped

Russell Martin

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