Money and self-esteem
junekk at aol.com
Tue Sep 16 07:36:30 EST 1997
There is no question that if you want to go into academic research, that
the road will not be a hard one to take. To succeed in science you have to
"fight without the effort itself diminishing you" (as a respected colleague
The funding situation is the worst. Since I defended in 1993, I've done
two postdocs during which time it was a serious struggle to maintain some
semblance of funding. Indeed, at one low point I actually worked without
pay (!) for two months since I made the choice that I wanted to see through
the experiments I was doing. Twice, I was in the process of "packing my
bags" because I thought there was no recourse. Happily for me, this has
not happened yet, and in fact, things seemed to have picked up in regard to
funding. During these tough times, I too, looked at alternative
possibilities- getting my MBA, patent law (yes!), veterinary school, etc...
But still, I've "lingered" on here because I love research and know that
for me, I've got to keep trying- getting a little wiser and adept (I hope)
with each step. [It's not always this tough, I've got friends who HAVE had
The self-esteem you speak of, does wane- particularly when people say they
like your work, etc and yet no money is there (been there too!).....BUT
I've got to say, that in the long run, it has worked out. These same
people (mentors) have supported me when they could, and when they could
not, I was fortunate and willing enough to have another short-term
arrangement set-up until they could. At the same time, I'm careful not to
give others the power to dictate my own self-esteem (it can get small
enough on its own accord, thank you!). If I do my best, then I feel good
about myself (which I guess is why I am also a workaholic).
The problem with working with scientists like ourselves, is that it is the
nature of our job to continually critically appraise, nitpick, and then
critique-- thus it is dangerous to let others get to you on a PERSONAL level!
P.S. Enjoy your defense- it can be a wonderful experience (no, really!)!
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