A Blog about Career Changes, Madness, and My Awful Brain

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Top Ten: Reasons a Science Career Rocks

Okay, I admit I've been bagging on science, and how it's a terrible career choice. I think I've been a little unfair, so I'm going to give everyone some great reasons to consider a career in science.

Top Ten Reasons Why Science is a Great Career.

10) Mates - You will meet some great, interesting people in school and at work. Passionate people who love what they do and bitter people who are funny as hell. Fellows, you will meet some of smartest, most beautiful women in university. You won't go out with any of them, because they'll be going out with a construction worker or rig pig who makes about five times more than you will ever make right out of high school. But still, you can look.....

9)Jeapardy - Seriously, you'll clean up at the science categories. You will then smugly look at the people in the room and tell them the question was a joke. Stupid contestants, you learned that in first year! And then you will feel guilty that you're watching tv, and will excuse yourself. There are papers that need reading.

8)Delayed adulthood - You may think it sucks that you can't buy a house right away or get married or have children because you are too busy with your ten + years of school. But honestly, you'll probably be getting married and buying a house at about the same time as your non-science friends are getting their first divorce and getting their house foreclosed on. You don't have to worry about divorce or foreclosure for at least another five or ten years.

7)Conferences - Boring speeches and substandard food or crazy drunkeness and licentious encounters? Depends on whether your supervisor is present or not. But still, in what other lines of work do you get to travel, usually on your employer's dime, to other countries to meet interesting people, do tours, and attend fancy banquets?

6)Impressed friends and relatives - Everyone thinks you are smart. Always a plus. You can feel good at the look of utter confusion on their faces when you try to explain your research, and laugh at their insecure manner when they ask you questions about science.

5)Uncover the secrets of life - You can play god, and bravely uncover the underlying structure of life and reality. Well, 99% of the time you'll actually be either banging your head against the wall, or repeating some lame experiment someone else has already done. But that 1%...well, that 1% is gold, even to cynics like me.

4)Make a difference/lasting impact - Even if you do nothing more than uncover the function of one gene, or map a tiny portion of the chromosome of some obscure organism, at least you've done something. You've helped add to pool of knowledge of humankind. You have to admit, it's better than just moving some money around in a broken economy, or selling people something they don't want. Yeah, hedge-fund managers, bankers, and politicians will make more money than you ever will, but at least you aren't a fucking douchebag leech ruining everything that is good and right.

3)You'll develop skills - People think that scientists learn nothing but technical skills, and that isn't even close to true. You will learn how to present information, orally and in written form. You will learn how to teach. You will learn how to solve problems, think outside the box, and improvise. If you get a phD, you will learn how to beg for money better than any preacher or street person. You will be good and ready to sell out and make money in some other career when you decide that you want to actually start owning stuff.

2)You'll develop outside interests - Guaranteed. Go to work, then come home and drink yourslf to sleep while watching TV? Unlikely. You get so used to living a full and busy life, that you will probably hold on to these habits when you finally do get a job. Most of the scientists I know have a wide range of interests and hobbies.

1)You'll never stop learning - The best thing about being in science is that your brain will never atrophy. If science is your passion, you will learn something everyday. Some of that learning will come from mind numbing papers, sure, but most of it will be a result of having to deal with some problem in the lab. It may occasionally be stressful, but you won't ever feel like your not being challenged.

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