Women and Genetics.....?

Linden Higgins linden at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Apr 18 08:39:12 EST 1996

... I hear of all the
>politics and the tight job market--and I'm starting to think twice of my
>goal. I thought I wanted a lab of my own but I'm not so sure now. I love
>the benchwork--I'm fairly independent and plan and design my own work--but
>I'm afraid I hate what a P.I. has to put up with and do in order to
>My questions are: Is the job market in academics and industry really as
>bad as I'm hearing?

I wouldn't know about industry, but with respect to academics the answer is
a resounding Yes.  I received my doctorate in 1988, and have had _2_
interviews, no offers, and am in my umpteenth post-doc (with funding that I
got myself - I've never had a postdoc on funding off someone else's grant).
If you are lucky enough to have all the right stuff - hot topic, good
pedigre, early publications in major journals - it is easier.  But it is
never easy.

My advice to students who ask, and to you, is if you love it - go for it.
I went into biology because I couldn't imagine doing anything else.  And
although I sometimes contemplate becoming a master gardener, just then
something great will happen, and my alternatives pale by comparison.

>or are the people here exaggerating? Should people
>consider graduate school? or would I be better off in industry? or with a

I think that this really depends on what you want to do.  If you want to be
your own boss - set your own research ajenda, your own calender, your own
hours - a Ph.D. in academica is a better bet.  If you, like a friend of
mine, like to leave work at work when you go home, a MS and being a
technician in either industry or academia is a better bet (sometimes it is
a drag to _always_ be thinking/eating/drinking/talking science - a
particular problem if you pair up with another scientist ;-)
>I know there's a lot of topics here but I'd appreciate any comments.
>Confused in Connecticut,
>Christine Shugrue

I'm afraid this won't have helped your confusion much -- but it isn't an
easy decision.  what ever you do, don't believe anyone who says "in x
years, there will be more jobs" - they've been saying that since I was a
student in the mid 80s.  The retirements predicted have come, but
universities (at least in ecology and evolution) are simply not replacing
the full faculty with other full faculty.


Linden Higgins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  78712
linden at mail.utexas.edu

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