Sunday, August 29, 2010

alternative careers in science

F or perhaps fairly obvious reasons I have been reading: "alternative careers in science -- Leaving the ivory tower." edited by Cynthia Robbins-Roth. Each chapter of the book had a person telling the story of how they left University positions to do something else that was science based. Also they reported on a typical day. Some of the jobs were: science writer or program manager for the US military.

One problem with the book for me was that a lot of the contributors were actually doing some kind of biology research. The one physicist went to work for the APS. Also many of them didn't like lab work. I don't like lab work, so that is why I don't do any. I was surprised to see so many women authors, but that is just to more women doing research into biology, than physics.

One thing I noticed is that many of them are earrning more money than me. Most chapters had explanations of how you could earn more than 100,000 dollars. They were also working a lot harder than me. There were many people who started the day with a phone conference at 7:00 (or earlier). I think the authors are probably the people who are having the most fun outside the University system, rather than people stuck in an office job or teaching children.

I don't really want to do any of the jobs in the book, but it was useful to lok at the way people planned to leave accademia, say by networking, or taking additional courses.

I would like to be a bouncer, because this would keep me fit. I could start by doing security for physics conferences. If the LHC starts producing new results there will be many arguments at conferences and some people will need protection.