postdocs

Julia Frugoli JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Thu Aug 14 12:23:48 EST 1997


>To:            womenbio at net.bio.net
>From:          apallas at ARSERRC.Gov (APALLAS)
>Subject:       Re: postdocs
>Date:          14 Aug 1997 09:48:59 -0700
>
>Hey everyone...
>
>It sounds like I shouldn't be wasting my time getting my Ph.D. because 
>I'm
>going to be stuck in a dead-end postdoc job for the rest of my life, or
>teaching in some insignificant school, rather when I can go into 
>research and
>get paid more, although under some PI, with my simple BS degree, since 
>I
>probably will never get to be a PI with a Ph.D. because of the lack of 
>jobs.
>
>	...is this what people are saying...get out while I can? Stick with a
>simple 	     BS or MS?
>
>Alicia
>apallas at ARSERRC.Gov
>US Dept. of Agriculture
>Philadelphia, PA
>


I'd be really interested in everyone's reply.  A woman department chair 
I know was on an NSF panel during which the subject of encouraging women 
in science came up.  Some of the people on the panel felt it was almost 
deceitful to encourage women to stay in science, when the job outlook 
was so poor.  Others felt that precisely because it was so poor, women 
needed all the encouragement they could get.  This wasn't a bunch of 
postdoc sitting around complaining  ;) -these were prominent faculty 
members at major universities.

In the lab that I come from at Dartmouth, two very talented 
undergraduates, whose undergraduate thesis work was publishable quality 
(better than some masters work I've seen) both decided to forgo grad 
school because of the answers they got from other women grad students, 
faculty,and postdocs they talked to about what was involved and what the 
future looked like.  They both still work in science, just not academia. 
On the one hand, I feel badly that they decided not to go into academic 
science-I think the world would be a better place if they did.  On the 
other hand, to paint a rosy picture when there isn't one fosters the 
kind of angst, frustration, and discouragment that has been expressed in 
this newsgroup lately when reality hits.  And I resolve my dillemma by 
saying to myself that each of us must make our own decisions, but the 
best decisions are based on all the facts.

So I would say  to Alicia that the job picture presented here is not 
wildly off base-it is pretty bad.  On the other hand, for most people I 
know, a PhD became a very personal thing-that's what got them through in 
the end: not the union card aspect, but the personal triumph aspect.  
Ask everyone you know, especially those doing what you want to do, how 
they got there, but remember that if they've been in that position more 
than 10 years, it was a different world  when they were job hunting 
(several tenured faculty members here admit they could never have been 
hired in today's job market, yet they are good teachers and good 
researchers, with adequate outside funding.)  Then consider what you're 
willing to do in order to do science, and decide.  And if you do decide 
to pursue the degree, having a newsgroup like this to blow off steam in 
and sort through ideas in helps an awful lot!  :)
Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
409-845-0663
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck



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