Expectations of failure?

giner at my-deja.com giner at my-deja.com
Sat Jun 19 09:35:18 EST 1999


In article <post-1206992157430001 at 10.0.2.15>,
  post at newsgroup.please (J.) wrote:
> And money isn't my chief motivator, but, ever needed to get a crown
as a
> grad student/postdoc without dental insurance? Or make a major car
repair?
> It's pretty hard to maintain a middle-class lifestyle on a science
salary,
> without a second income. Never mind retirement. Should scientists
have to
> marry in order to afford both a scientific career and a middle-class
> lifestyle?

Funny you should mention dental work - while I was a grad student I did
need a crown and I didn't have any dental insurance. And my husband was
unemployed at the time.

> If I were to pick one reason, just one, to quit research science, it
would
> be stress, not poverty (although poverty contributes to stress).
> Experimental science is stressful in itself because a lot of
experiments
> don't work and must be repeated or modified. Some lines of inquiry
just
> don't pan out. This *by itself* would be ok. When the effects of long
> hours, low wages, the grant scramble, cross-country moves for jobs,
and
> amazing examples of uncollegiate behavior are added in, the
profession
> becomes incredibly stressful.

I think poverty is a tremendous stress factor. As I mentioned above, my
husband was unemployed part of the time I was in grad school and those
were some very bad times indeed. It still affects me, and it is one of
the reason why I'm questioning an academic career. (Along with every
reason mentioned above.) It is a really hard decision, though. Part of
me wants to stick it out because there *are* so few women in faculty
positions. But that of course is not a good reason to follow a
particular career path.

And it would be really nice for once not to be in fear of the next big
bill, whether it be a car repair, dental work, vet bill or whatever.
Never mind finally taking (gasp) a *real* vacation.






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