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How satisfying is working for NASA?

  1. Jul 19, 2016 #1
    Its always been a dream of mine to work for NASA but so many people (whether they've worked for them or not), have said that it takes so long to work towards and it isn't even that satisfying of a job...
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  3. Jul 19, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hi Kay Mc. smiley_sign_welcome.gif

    Best of luck pursuing your dream. Perhaps you could be the one to prove the naysayers wrong (including those who have never worked for NASA?). Interested in colonising Mars?

    Otherwise, there is always career plan #2 to fall back on.
  4. Jul 19, 2016 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    We have occasional threads about NASA here in our Career Guidance forum:

    Click on the "Search" link at the top right corner of the page and enter 'NASA'.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  5. Jul 19, 2016 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

  6. Jul 20, 2016 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    I worked as a NASA contractor in the microgravity science division for a while, I was not a civil servant (government employee), and there are real differences between the two. On the whole, everyone works together as equals. Here's my perspective.

    In my experience, I was privileged to work with some of the best engineers and technicians on the planet and I learned a ton of stuff that I've carried with me- how to design and construct scientific instruments that are robust and will work in harsh environments, for example. I was also privileged to work with world-class PIs (the scientists who conceive and design the various experiments. Basically, I learned a lot and was able to (professionally) live at the leading edge (or bleeding edge, if you prefer...).

    But it's also a government agency and thus susceptible to political machinations. The biggest a$$-ache is the annual budget situation. Every year the budget has to be appropriated and negotiated, and so every year around May stress levels and busywork would rise because (in theory) anyone's project could be summarily ended. So every year, months would be spent on gathering information and generating PowerPoint presentations designed to show how our project is the most important and deserving of funding. Going along with that, every year administrative burdens on projects would increase, there is much wailing and rending of garments about project schedules slipping, etc. etc.

    On balance, I easily recommend working for NASA as a starting (or early-career) position to gain amazing experience and then move on. Not sure it's a good lifetime career option, although I know several 'lifers' who are really happy.
  7. Jul 21, 2016 #6


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    NASA is a volatile work environment, as Andy noted. Not the best choice for anyone prone to fret over trivial matters - like job security.
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