Friday, June 25, 2010

Unmitigated whining

So it looks like I'll be out of a job come January. My boss didn't get a grant she was hoping for and won't be able to pick up my paycheck when my funding runs out at the end of December. So I'm working on exploring career options right now. It's actually kind of nice to finally get the kick in the @ss I needed to start seriously looking for jobs away from academic research instead of just constantly focusing on the next experiment.

I'm finishing up my first postdoc paper right now, and I'll immediately begin writing the second paper. In the meantime I've been trolling the Science Careers website, looking at job postings for industry, and doing informational interviews here at the University trying to come up with a plan to keep myself employed for at least the next year. Husband has his first interview lined up for a tenure track job (at a very prestigious place... I'm very proud, but also befuddled: He didn't get interviews at some real podunk places, but he got an interview someplace really awesome? WTF mate?) and is generally planning on doing a second search this fall. However, he's also looking at industry job postings... I think the job search left him pretty disillusioned with academia.

Articles like this one have left me pretty disillusioned myself. I think Science-with-a-capital-S was just a pretty different tplace when all of the current faculty were coming up through the ranks. There were some reasonable expectations for employment in science when you were done. For current postdocs, it's such a different atmosphere. Not only are there not enough academic jobs to go around, but leaving academia is usually a pretty ego-shattering experience. We spend 10+ years drinking the kool-aid, listening to people we respect as mentors tell us that the best and brightest stay at the bench as academics and if you leave the bench you are a sell-out or a failure.

I guess I'm finally over it. I'm done caring if people want to brand me a "failed scientist" and I'm going to try my best to find a position with a decent paycheck and some appropriate work-life balance. I'll keep you posted. I imagine that I'm in for a bumpy ride.