What would YOU do?

A. Linet alynn at cms.cc.wayne.edu
Mon Apr 3 12:48:00 EST 1995


magoldstein at ucdavis.edu (Marc Goldstein) wrote: 
>In article <3lk9fn$qq3 at news.primenet.com>, jaylin at primenet.com (Jennifer 
>Langley) wrote: 
>  
>> I'm almost 30 years old and Two years ago I started College... I'm 
>thinking I want to 
>> major in Microbiology, (snipped) 
>Jennifer, 
> 
>   It's a good sign that you are giving very advanced thought to your 
>career.  
>snipped 
>Good luck!  I hope you find a career path that will be both fun and 
>rewarding for you. 
> 
>Marc 
> 
>--  
>Marc Allan Goldstein 
>Section of Plant Biology 
>University of California, Davis 
>magoldstein at ucdavis.edu 
 
Jennifer, 
 
I agree with Marc's evaluation!! I graduated with my Ph.D. in Micro in   
1984, did a postdoc and then took a soft-money (non-tenure track) faculty   
appointment in a medical school Biochemistry department. Unfortunately,   
the funding climate these days is terrible (even in the medical field,   
Marc!). As a result, my job is gone at the end of June. I even have a   
grant to support my research, but since it doesn't pay my salary I have   
to turn it back. I am also one of those folks whose spouse is much better   
paid but whose job is not movable without substantial loss of income.  
 
The upshot is that I am 40 and changing careers. The science is   
unbelievably exciting and fun but being an academic faculty member these   
days is not. Much more of my time was spent on grant writing and   
struggling for support than on the benchwork that makes it all   
worthwhile.  
 
This has been a difficult reply to write as this is a difficult time for   
me. There is so much I could say but I fear being too negative. There are   
scientists out there, even in microbiology, who are succeeding, but the   
competition is fierce for positions and funds. Most of my colleagues here   
don't predict much change in the near future. You could well be one of   
those who succeeds brilliantly and you won't know unless you try. But, it   
is wise of you to ask others what their experiences have been and   
consider them in your planning.  
 
I have no regrets about getting the degree nor the path I have taken. I   
am sorry to leave the field but I am fortunate to have a supportive   
spouse whose business (computer systems) is doing well enough that I know   
that I will be able to make a valuable contribution. 
 
Good luck in whatever field and at whatever degree level you choose. 
 
Anita Linet, Ph.D. 
Department of Biochemistry 
Wayne State University School of Medicine 
alynn at cms.cc.wayne.edu




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