# How depressed should I be that I am going for a career in science?

by LogicX
Tags: career, depressed, science
 P: 4 am also a intended chemistry major, ( not decided but third year taken all the courses in chem), the above posters are correct i have read many reviews from real phds and graduates trying very hard to get jobs and always have laid offs and temporary jobs with no benefits and many have switch career just because life is difficult as a chemist. i mean we work so hard but yet.... any suggestions on changing majors?
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 Quote by twofish-quant One of my friends is the director of a national supercomputing center. This could count as "doing programming" but he isn't running cable or doing desktop support.
ROFL...i didn't realize running cable or doing desktop support was considered "doing programming".

I wouldn't consider a director of a supercomputing center a programmer either...

 Quote by twofish-quant Scientists are amateur liars, whereas you'll find no small number of lawyers, businessmen, and politicians who are professionals at it. Note that I don't believe that scientists are generally more honest than lawyers, businessmen, or a politicians. Just that they are less skilled at convincingly lying to people.
Come on, you don't really believe this do you? Calling people liars unfairly...poor form old chap.
 P: 2 In the well known fields of science (physics, chemistry etc.) Nobel prizes had been awarded approximately to 1 out of 1000 scientists. Let us assume their rank is 3 (log1000 = 3). Let us assume that unemployment rate among scientists is 1%, i.e. theoretically somebody is one worst scientist out of 100. His rank is -2. The difference in the rank of unemployed and Nobelists is 5 orders of magnitude. If scientist who has de facto Nobelist’s rank is jobless the error of the reward system of science in determining the rank of scientists is 5 orders of magnitude. Something like this really happened in modern science. In Wikipeda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_controversies) you can find the following: “The 2008 prize was awarded to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien for their work on green fluorescent protein or GFP. However, Douglas Prasher was the first to clone the GFP gene and suggested its use as a biological tracer. Martin Chalfie stated, "Douglas Prasher's work was critical and essential for the work we did in our lab. They could've easily given the prize to Douglas and the other two and left me out." Dr. Prasher's accomplishments were not recognized and he lost his job. When the Nobel was awarded in 2008, Dr. Prasher was working as a courtesy shuttle bus driver in Huntsville Alabama.” Conclusion: softly speaking the reward system of science is inadequate. Everyone should think twice before choosing a career to be a scientist.
 P: 4 well said, also reading some reviews on internet ( though am not sure if it is reliable or not) but since is just not one person saying the same thing is ok to assume they are not lying, no reason to.Chemistry field seems to be a dead head more than 3 of the reviews have said they have experience over 5 years and one even over 15 years end up jobless and very hard to find a job. does anyone know what field is great at the moment?
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 Quote by olegmatt Conclusion: softly speaking the reward system of science is inadequate. Everyone should think twice before choosing a career to be a scientist.
On the other hand, I'm sure the reward system for courtesy shuttle bus drivers is flawless.
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 Quote by phyzguy On the other hand, I'm sure the reward system for courtesy shuttle bus drivers is flawless.
at least the bus driver didnt need to suffer the hard work of studying 24/7
P: 6,863
 Quote by daveyinaz Come on, you don't really believe this do you? Calling people liars unfairly...poor form old chap.
I don't think it's unfair. Also, sometimes it's a good thing to be able to lie well. If you are playing poker or are in a poker-like situation, for example.

Also in the words of Doctor Who......

Doctor: You know when grownups tell you, "Everything's gonna be fine" and you think they're probably lying to make you feel better?
Amelia: Yeah.
Doctor: Everything's gonna be fine.
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 Quote by olegmatt Conclusion: softly speaking the reward system of science is inadequate. Everyone should think twice before choosing a career to be a scientist.
1) What's your alternative choice of career?

2) I think you have a model of job searching that doesn't work. The other thing is that lots of people with science training don't end up as full time scientists, but people usually don't end up living out of cardboard boxes.
P: 7,440
 Quote by phyzguy On the other hand, I'm sure the reward system for courtesy shuttle bus drivers is flawless.
 Quote by itbeginx at least the bus driver didnt need to suffer the hard work of studying 24/7
At least one shuttle driver revolutionized biology.
http://discovermagazine.com/2011/apr...-prasher-nobel
 P: 4 probably a mishap on my part, i meant chemistry major in college is dead end. bio-scientist are totally different field from just chemist,
P: 635
 The other thing is that lots of people with science training don't end up as full time scientists, but people usually don't end up living out of cardboard boxes.
But pretty much no one with a college degree ends up living out of a cardboard box, thats a terrible metric. The question should be- are science degrees a good way to meet your goals. If your goal is a decent salary in some business position, then an undergrad science degree is a decent way to go. If your goal is more technical work, then its probably not.

And a phd is a totally different beast. Getting a phd and ending up outside your field is a waste of time and training- the phd system burns human capital in an unhealthy way. Yes, phds don't end up destitute, but thats the wrong comparison.
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 Quote by itbeginx does anyone know what field is great at the moment?

I do not think there exist a ”great field” in modern science. I know at least three jobless great physicists with their rank for sure higher than 2. It looks like clever people understand what is going on in science and they are trying to find some another career path. If this trend continues further science would quickly become the asylum for mediocrity.
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 Quote by atyy At least one shuttle driver revolutionized biology. http://discovermagazine.com/2011/apr...-prasher-nobel
 Quote by itbeginx probably a mishap on my part, i meant chemistry major in college is dead end. bio-scientist are totally different field from just chemist,
That's the opposite of what I was trying to say. I meant that one could do fantastic work and still not get one's just deserts. (OTOH, maybe the concept is out-dated, since most progress comes from teamwork. But I cannot bring myself to say that in Prasher's case.)
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 Quote by ParticleGrl But pretty much no one with a college degree ends up living out of a cardboard box, thats a terrible metric.
It's a pretty important one for me. I'm pretty sure that I've ended up with less money than I would have had I gotten an MBA or law degree. But the important thing for me is *how much less*? If it's a choice between "explore the universe + $10K/year" versus "do law +$120K/year" that's one thing. If it's a choice between "explore the universe + $180K/year" versus "do law +$360K/year" that's another.

 The question should be- are science degrees a good way to meet your goals.
It depends on what your goals are. I want to explore the universe. I want to avoid poverty. Vast sums of money are nice, but I'll forgo that if it means living a life that is more interesting.

 If your goal is a decent salary in some business position, then an undergrad science degree is a decent way to go. If your goal is more technical work, then its probably not.
It's worked for me.

 And a phd is a totally different beast. Getting a phd and ending up outside your field is a waste of time and training- the phd system burns human capital in an unhealthy way. Yes, phds don't end up destitute, but thats the wrong comparison.
Disagree with this. I hate being trapped in a "field" and one thing that I've done that seems to have worked is to switch from field to field in order to find where the grass is greenest. The fields that are *most* interesting to me are those that no one has explored yet.

Spending a few years at the frontiers of human knowledge and experience is great training for being at the frontiers of human knowledge and experience.

The other thing is that Ph.D. programs are different from school to school, and I get the sense that mine did something seriously right. Maybe what ended up working is the attitude "there are no jobs as a research professor, we have no clue what to do, good luck and let us know how it works out."
 P: 6,863 One other thing is that I seriously trying to avoid the "so who makes more money" game, because it's a losing game. If you are in the 1%, you see the 0.1%. If you are in the 0.1%, you see the 0.01%, etc. etc. etc.
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 Quote by ParticleGrl [...] And a phd is a totally different beast. Getting a phd and ending up outside your field is a waste of time and training- the phd system burns human capital in an unhealthy way. Yes, phds don't end up destitute, but thats the wrong comparison.
One can actually find themselves less employable after a PhD, due to the widespread perception that PhD's are "overqualified" for everything except being a professor.

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