Why am I going into science?!

Last week at my retail job, a Big Wig in the company came to visit the store.  I got the opportunity to speak with him for a couple of minutes as he did a walk through of my area.  At one point he said that he had heard good things about me and if I continued to do well he wanted to talk to me about a management position during his next visit.  I was seriously excited to hear this. It was nice to hear that I potentially had a future in that company.  It also got me thinking about why I am going into science instead of another career.  

We’ve all heard it: there are too many PhD’s and not enough positions; for all of the training (especially compared to medical doctors and lawyers) we are underpaid, getting a PhD closes doors to other career paths.  So, instead of working towards a promotion why do I plan to quit in a few months and go back to school?  I could go into business and work my way up into a lucrative career.  I could go to law school and be successful.  By going into biology and pursuing a research career I am taking several years out of the time where I can build up my finances and contribute to my retirement.  So, if there are so many cons to going into science, why do I plan on going into it?

Well first, I am 2 months into my job and I am bored.  Other than dealing with difficult customers, the most challenging things I do is figure out is where clothes should be hung and when to take lunch.  The thought of doing this long term sounds awful to me.  

Also, doing something I am interested is more important than money.  I’m not saying that I’m not worried about money, just that I don’t think that excessive money (and the things that go with it) would make me happier.  Science is what I have always been interested in.  I read science blogs and books in my spare time, and I prefer to talk about science over any other topic.  I get excited when I can attend talks or go to conferences.  I’m not saying that academia is perfect, but personally I find it preferable to business and other fields. 

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About myscientificlife

Welcome to myscientificlife! I recently completed my undergrad at State University. I am currently taking a year off of school and applying to graduate schools. This lovely blog is mostly about my journey towards grad school and other things I find interesting, such as food, podcasts, and books. Probably mostly food. You can reach me at myscientificlife@gmail.com.
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5 Responses to Why am I going into science?!

  1. Sean says:

    What do you think getting a PhD closes doors to other career paths?

  2. I had a similar experience when I worked retail. My store manager told me if that whole “teaching” thing didn’t work out (I was teaching HS at the time as well), I could do well in retail management. While I really enjoyed certain aspects of the job (i.e. the mindlessness of folding t-shirt tables), I couldn’t justify being a credit pusher (since all stores have store credit cards now), nor could I convince myself that I would feel fulfilled or love doing it.

    You’re right, retail management is good employment, but, like academia, it’s not for everyone!

  3. Anne says:

    Definitely go for the Ph.D. and pursue what interests you. There are plenty of people out there doing jobs they hate just for the money. And one advantage of going the academic route – if that is what you end up doing – is that you can perform the job way past typical retirement age if you truly love what you are doing. BTW – what field will your Ph.D. be in?

    • Good advice. Right now my goal is to be in academia; most of the professors in my department seem to be happy there. I will be in an evolution and ecology program studying social behavior in fish.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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