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Job Skills Changing path

  1. Sep 22, 2016 #1
    Hi all,

    After a major in physics (European university), a PhD in AMO physics (laser matter interaction) I am in the beginning of my 3rd postdoctoral position. I have been always studying laser interaction (from moderate to strong intensities) with molecules , atoms and (for a while surfaces). I have made several publications in peer reviewed journals and conferences. Normally I am on track for a permanent position in academia either in a university or in an institute.

    The thing is that I already feel a bit fed up with this kind of stuff. Even though I progress scientifically and I acquire more skills I feel somehow useless, that everything I do are not connected to real life. Not to mention that I am kind of tired with the timetable (in my last post the working hours are close to 12+ hours per day …) and the salary...

    That is why I have been thinking to change my career to something else, either in industry or in the public sector. In order to have a more regular life! The problem is that since I have been always dealing with fundamental science I have no idea about the job market and where I could search for job.

    So, I would be grateful if you could provide me with any suggestions about sites in the web that I could search for job postings (apart from indeed) or generally, sectors and fields that my skills could be useful and could provide me a fresh start.

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    My suggestion would be to get some hobbies and not place all your eggs in the fundamental science basket.

    Every job has ups and downs, fits of excitement and boredom. I am a programmer and I do a lot of boring work but it affords me the chance to ponder other things that are more interesting to me.

    If you keep jumping around then you will always feel that you are climbing up the hill and never getting to the top and doing meaningful work.

    This is the true meaning of:

    "The grass is always greener on the other side."


    Your track is toward academia and at some point you will begin teaching students perhaps that could be the thing that satisfies your need to do something meaningful. It won't be easy and often times the students will give you grief but that's how meaningful contributions are made (when that one student cites you as his/her inspiration).

    Alternatively, your track may be toward research where you will fight for funding and try to publish papers. Your boredom will cause you to look at other problems in your field and you may discover that you are in the right position at the right time to solve one and then you will realize the need to stay the course even though land is not in sight.

    Of course, I could be wrong or I'm an idealist but that's how I've tried to handle the boredom of work.

    And now for a Taoist story in the same vein:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=cmc8CgAAQBAJ&pg=PT11&lpg=PT11&dq=we+shall+see+taoist+tale&source=bl&ots=qHMZSqsFQt&sig=IGC6TvdofNCSDkSVdq5zxIAeWBs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZtpq3uqXPAhWBbD4KHcUgC30Q6AEINjAE#v=onepage&q=we shall see taoist tale&f=false
  4. Sep 24, 2016 #3
    Hobbies of course would be great... However working hours in academia and specifically in very competitive fields (as the one I am at the moment ) don't leave me time for such things. Especially now that I still don't have a permanent position...

    I guess at this part of my life I fell like crossing over the fence and carry the water I have collected with me so as to tend the other part of the garden...!

    As for me you are not wrong at all, however aside from the boredom, I have to handle also the monthly income ( which I can tell you that in academia most of the time is pretty low ) since I am a fresh father!
    In my view I can get higher salary in the industry.
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