Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Job recommendation for me?

  1. Aug 1, 2010 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm a junior in college and recently I made a list of some things I'm looking for in a future job. Could someone give some recommendations of jobs to look into? I'm looking for a job that uses math daily.

    Skills I want to use in my job:
    1. Problem-solving. Looking at problems objectively, pinpointing roots of the problem, collaborating with people to try to fix the problem.

    2. Research. Learning new things in general.

    3. Teaching. Sharing the results with people.

    4. Calculating/computing. Doing the difficult mathematical work required to find a solution.

    Where? In a wealthy country; near or in a large city with cultural attractions, things to do

    I want to work with people who are curious about the world, who like to complete tasks and projects, who think very logically, and who want to help, teach, or serve people.

    Ultimately I want to help bring more knowledge, truth, and clarity to the world. Ideally the job I do values making moral and just choices. I would like to encourage more protection and preservation of the Earth and less exploitation.

    Ideally the job would be indoors and in a quiet location. I would work in a team environment and there would be little supervision. I want to be my own boss but also a member of a team. I'm looking for intellectual challenge; and any fame and recognition that goes with my job would be appreciated, too :)

    So, does this ring a bell for any specific jobs?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2010 #2
    It sounds like you have just outlined a job as a professor in Academia.
  4. Aug 1, 2010 #3
    You're describing something so specific with extra (unfortunately) things like "morality" and protection for the environment that you'll struggle to match. If you wanted to do anything other than work in academic, you're struggling.

    Working for big companies means that you don't get to make the decision - you're being a bit too grandiose in your expectations, I think you will be disappointed. Finding full time employment in academic is extremely difficult. It's worth thinking about working in places that don't meet some of your requirements, too - after all, who is going to change the thinking in large companies that are unfriendly to the environment and have immoral policies? It could be you that helps to shift the way of thinking. There is such a thing as doing the best you can, too.
  5. Aug 1, 2010 #4
    I understand that there might not be a job that has absolutely everything I need. The conditions I described are the ideal: they are sufficient but not necessary for me to be happy at work.

    Theorem: I was afraid you'd say that. Basically throughout my whole life I saw myself as a teacher and not much else. In elementary school I would write equations on the walls and play "teacher" and give "lessons" in front of an imaginary audience. I think that my dream job is probably to be first and foremost a teacher, and then a researcher in math. I think I would love to be a professor.

    But as fasterthanjoao said, it's hard to find a job in academia. That's why I put this thread up in the first place.
  6. Aug 2, 2010 #5
    If that's what you want though, to teach and research in an academic setting with relative control over your work with the ability to still collaborate with others - then being a professor sounds ideal.

    Another option would be to start your own business. It's not exactly the same, but all of what you mentioned applies (albeit in slightly different ways). You get the opportunity to mentor, teach, and train people who you bring on. You can pursue (mostly) whatever you want (keeping in mind that you need to produce something that turns a profit or is at least break-even for a non-profit organization - but that's okay if you accept that in most cases that just means that you're creating something that people want/need be it a product, knowledge, etc). Also, unless you're doing consulting, you'll probably be doing it with others who are (hopefully) as excited and driven as you about whatever your business is. Of course, with business you need to be able to deal with running the business or at least be partnered with someone who is (and whom you can communicate with and trust), but that can be intriguing in its own right.

    Thought I'd mention that perspective as it hasn't been mentioned. Some excellent researchers and students have gone on to found very successful companies based upon their research/interests. Arguably, their ability to bring their ideas to the market has led to far quicker rates of adoption of whatever their ideas were than if the idea were to be tried and tested in academia first - though often business and research go hand in hand when it comes to technology.
  7. Aug 2, 2010 #6
    Thanks, david.aloha for your insight.

    My parents want me to look into the actuarial field. Does anyone have any experience with this? I don't know too much about it, though I've browsed some websites.
  8. Aug 2, 2010 #7
    Have a look at this:


    Though the salaries are in UK terms, I'm sure you can gleam the fact that actuaries are well paid. There wouldn't be any teaching in a position like that, it's really number crunching. You would have to be able to explain things well for many positions, though, when you are describing things to clients.

    You should try to prioritise your goals. Just now, you say you want to be a teacher first - then research would be good. You should look into all of the jobs you can find that involve teaching. Full time teaching at community college is more attainable than at a university - though salaries the same.

    Should you finish your degree and head on to grad school, you'll get the opportunity to tutor students at university - this will give you an idea of how badly you want to do that. I'm not sure about US institutions, but because of financial pressures, here in the UK I'm seeing more and more universities not being able to keep as many researchers on the pay roll, so it means we're seeing a sharp increase in the number of full time 'teaching only' staff - staff who have no research responsibilities. The university department I work at had one such staff member 6 years ago - they have seven now.

    Full time teacher positions at universities might then be worth looking at, too. Who knows, you could maybe also carry out some research in your spare time. You would be working at a university, afterall.

    Otherwise, consider if something like tutoring part-time would satisfy your desire to teach. Designing individual lesson plans for high school, college and university level students is certainly a challenge - though it would take some time to build up a client base sufficient to make this the mainstay of your employment.

    Finally, consider any extra qualifications you would need to teach: are you going to double major with education? or an education minor? Do you need any professional qualifications after that to teach in high schools, colleges or universities?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook