Science careers and moving

DK dkat at
Mon Jun 24 12:48:06 EST 1996

Slechta at (Sue Slechta) wrote:

>I have been following this thread with a good deal of interest.  As a
>fairly young, childless, unmarried graduate student, I was amazed at the
>level of complaints from others about the simple fact that young
>scientists are expected to move to advance their career.  Nobody ever hid
>this fact from me, I was quite aware of it from the very beginning of my
>graduate career decision.  In fact, that, to me, was one of the
>advantages.  Getting the opportunity to move to a new location, meeting
>new people, the general feeling of moving on in your life.  That was one
>of the big reasons I moved from upstate NY to Utah for grad school.  I
>felt that I was closing one chapter in my life (collece, tech job) and
>opening a new one.

>I expect the same to be true when I move on to a poct-doc position (some
>day, I hope!).  I can't help but feeling that staying here, no matter how
>much I may like living here, will encourage me to still feel like a grad
>student, and after that long, I should not want to feel like that any
>more.  Moving to a new place will allow me to leave behind "grad
>student/TA Sue"  and help me to assert myself as "Dr. Sue" ( I'm sure you
>get my point).

>The interesting thing about this thread, to me, is how it is trying to
>make one of the most general aspects of research science (everybody keeps
>moving for several years) an anti-woman, anti-family issue.  It is not
>that at all.  There are definite benefits to this practice, and EVERYONE
>is expected to do it.  It's not like it is any easier for male scientists
>to do this these days either, since many of them are married to career
>women as well.  I'm sure it is very difficult for two career families when
>one of the careers demands moving around, but in science, this is a known
>problem.  I really believe that if both partners can't agree on some
>reasonable way to accomodate both careers, one person will have to make
>the sacrifice, or maybe they should not stay together.  Is this harsh? 
>Probably.  But every career type has its own type of sacrifices that need
>to be made, regardless of sex.  If you want to be a research scientist, be
>prepared to move around for a while.  

>As I see it, everyone makes choices in their lives that will influence
>future chioces.  You chose to go to grad school.  A few years later, you
>choose to get married.  Now your choice about you career is not as clear
>cut as it was before.  But you still have a choice to make, only now it is
>two people making it.  This choice would be the same if you were in
>business and got promoted and transferred, or if you were a lawyer and
>wanted to move to a new firm, or if you got down-sized and were looking
>for a job and the only one was on a different city.  People who get MBA's,
>or JD's or MD's for that matter, often (if not almost always) move to a
>different city for jobs after graduating.  Why should science be any
>different?  I know that there is at least one extra move involved , to a
>permanant position, but I know of very few people in other careesr these
>days who stay with the first job they get after getting their degree.

>So I generally agree with DK and her postings.  It was unfortunate that
>the discussion degenerated into a rather petty argument on nettiquette,
>but even so, those flames were quite mild as compared to those I've seen
>on other newsgroups.    I especially qgree with the above snipped
>paragraph, which I have basically restated here.  And I do think she was
>right to tell many of the posters that they needed to grow up.  I don't
>think she was being mean, but was instead gently reminding wveryone that
>they are adults now, and they are in this position they are now because of
>choices they have made in the past.  Everyone knew the rules then they
>came in (or they should have).  Bad rules should be complained about, or
>broken, but this is not a bad, or descriminating rule.  It os one of the
>mainstays and definitions of science; always growing, always changing.

>Ready to hear the responses.

>Sue Slechta

Thank you for saying it in a much more articulate manner than I
managed.  DK

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