December 29, 2011

The drum beat continues....

@Brainpicker on twitter pointed me to this This piece in 'The Economist' called 'The Disposoable Ph.D.' that brings up the current statistics on why the current Ph.D. system is truly broken. I have become very aware of this lately. And I know I got into science for the love of it, not the career prospects (though that would be a nice bonus). I also know that as a smart person, it's up to me to carve out my own niche in the world. But the universities that employ Ph.D. students need to be a lot more encouraging of those of us choosing to get out of the academy (I'm on the fence: if I miraculously land an academic job, great. If not, well I'll find my way somewhere else). The apprentice model is gone. We're employees like at any other company and need to be much more free to leave- or pursue something else and not made to feel like we've failed at life for doing so. Consider me a disgruntled academic. And I will be until I can demonstrate I can get a job, I think I won't be fully satisfied. I still love science. I am just not feeling well positioned to transition into something else. Perhaps 2012 will be my year. Despite what the facts seem to say, I do feel more optimistic and looking forward to exploring what's out there. One thing that helps: spending less time in the lab and more time living my life doing things I enjoy. Gotta keep moving forward.

December 17, 2011


I wrote an email into a podcast I listen to. They read it on the air. I turned red when I heard it. I talk to people and often don't want to reveal anything. What am I reading? I read a great book recently called 'The Nerdist Way'. It's about improving my nerdy brain and nerdy life. I didn't want to tell anyone but close friends that. I just did here. I've kept this blog anonymous (somewhat) but I just transferred the profile to my Google+ profile, so my real name will be associated with it now. The Science Careers journalist, David Jensen wrote a column about inflection points in careers that made the point that it's critical to really explore the world to find new opportunities (career or personal life). To do that, you have to put yourself out there to be seen. I'm really trying hard to get comfortable with the notion of being seen and recognized. Like anyone, I like being acknowledged for good work, but I also am much more comfortable under my rock. Partly, getting out into the world makes me anxious. Partly, I don't feel all that confident (though that's changing- see above...I'm putting my name on the blog now- not a huge change since I share this on Twitter and Facebook).

This is the end of the year, so I guess I should make an aspiration for 2012. The big goal is to get out into the world and really explore. The particular goals I have, I'll keep to myself. 2012, to boldly go where no one has gone before....