Expectations of failure? NOT!
fillekes at ihug.co.nz
Fri Jun 11 20:52:51 EST 1999
J. wrote in message ...
>I am a woman who recently received my PhD, and I am seriously considering
>saying "to hell with it" and leaving academic science, and maybe science
>altogether. It looks to me like the most rational thing to do.
>The reason I want to leave is that I think science is a rotten career. It
>has terrible working hours and awesome amounts of stress. Uncollegiate
>behavior is the norm rather than the exception. Salaries are pitiful: with
>7 years more training than my husband, who has a professional degree, I
>can expect a postdoc salary less than 1/3 of his, and 12-15K less than
>someone I know, age 23 with a BS in accounting, who just started work. If
>I got a faculty job, I'd start at a similar salary to the accountant, with
>way more hours.
Well, take it from someone who's done it. You're absolutely right.
There's no failure in taking your Ph.D. and doing something with
it in the real world. The reason it's portrayed as "failure" in academics
--well, I could speculate, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the
I left academic science 5 years ago, after 4 postdocs and a tenure
track faculty position. What a *drag* that was!
I now own my own company, and contract work out to faculty,
some students. And don't let the blather about "wanting to be
a good supervisor" fool you. There's nothing more exhilirating
than firing someone who wasn't doing their job properly, and
replacing them with someone who can. It feels bloody good.
I *employ* people in the very community that would call me a
"failure." I can name a number of people I'll never hire!
When your company makes the Fortune 500, you can endow
chairs and private fellowships and have the same people who
tried to make you feel like a "failure" come begging you to sit
on their board of trustees.
Maybe you'll give them the satphone number for your private
yacht in Antigua where you spend most of your time. Maybe not.
Don't laugh! Ever hear of Beckman Instruments? Netscape?
Do you think that Jim Clarke is being called a "failure" by
UIUC people because he left his job in academia? Well,
not if they ever want an afternoon sail on Hyperion, they don't!
The most valuable thing my granfather ever told me was:
"The reason academics are so petty is that the stakes
are so low."
Go Get 'em, Tigress! There's a much bigger world out there
than the academic community would have you believe.
More information about the Womenbio