Friday, August 22, 2008

Science Careers Poll Results

Now, just after I posted an article about scientists, especially those about to graduate, having some delusion about the "perfect world", along comes a survey that clearly shows that these scientists-in-the-making do live in a realistic world and have realistic outlook on their possible careers.

Science Careers did a poll of their readerships recently, with most of the responses coming from graduate students and postdoc. While the poll result was interesting, what was more interesting was the comment from various participants. Now keep in mind that this is a survey of participants across all scientific disciplines, and also from various parts of the world. So the situation and scenario faced by one need not be the same as that faced by another. Still, one can get a gist of the situation faced by many of our science graduate students and postdocs.

I think that I've always tried to emphasize anyone wishing to pursue a physics degree to make him or herself as "employable" as possible, and not just in terms of getting good grades and doing everything the requirement asks for. Various skills that one can acquire while in school can turn out to be the difference in being employed and having a bleak outlook on having a career. To set one's goal at being in academia and putting on blinders in the beginning against other possibility is setting one up for failure and disappointment. It is VERY seldom that everything that we aimed and planned for when we enter undergraduate and graduate school will turn out that way.


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