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
>survive.
>
>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
>Master's?

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


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





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