Macho Science

JuneKK junekk at
Mon Mar 27 08:21:40 EST 1995

Sue (susan_forsburg at wrote:
<Also, this style of science is a reflection of the very competitive 
nature of the profession now.  Funding is tight, therefore we all want to 
be first to get the result/impressive publication/get the
grant/keep our jobs.  And, the perception that  someone
 else --a competitor-- may be willing to sacrifice everything outisde
the lab to beat us means that we feel driven to do the same 
just to keep up.  NATURE had an editorial a few months ago 
 that explicitly compared  the US system
to child labour:  "marvelously efficient, yet marvelously cruel.">

For me, this is the greatest truth.  Governmental funding IS very
difficult to get at all levels, from the newest post-doctoral fellow to
the most established principal investigators.  

Personally, I work from 6a.m. to about 6-7 p.m. at night.  In addition to
commuting 2h a day, this leaves little time for any personal life during
the week.  My husband, although not in science, has a job that also
demands these hours.  

Unfortunately, trying to get an NRSA post-doctoral fellowship has not met
with very much success despite solid preliminary data.   This is not a
unique event according to many of my colleagues.

Staying afloat tends to be an on-going, roller-coaster event.  So the
choices are becoming:  do I shuttle from one post-doc to the next, trying
to get funding for the important projects I become involved in ?  Many I
know are opting to go to a different field (medicine, law, industry) where
they might apply some of there well-earned knowledge.  

Bottom  line is: I truly love research, despite it's pitfalls and low
salary and political maneuverings... As many of us can attest to, the
incredible highs that you may experience in research are unparalelled!   

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