Nicely put Bart. The reasons I went into science had little to do with
being a woman (which I am), rather than as an individual who wanted to
find out the answers to some basic life questions of "WHY" does our body
work and "HOW" do they work (granted these are rather naive questions
considering their scope).
It is clear that scientists are generally an intelligent population of
people that can market their skills in many different ways- I think with
this level of education, we are pretty much assured of finding some kind
of employment. The difficulty arises when that job is not the type of
job we want- and that is the crux of our problems!
Throughout my education, I've worked at various jobs to help support
myself, including those in business, making a tidy sum at the same time.
The thing is that these jobs never felt right, since I have always wanted
to know the whys and hows of biological systems and what's more, I've
always wanted to make a difference (contribute) to that body of knowledge!
So while the amount of money I make is certainly an issue, I also know
that in order to feel right about my choices in life, I want to continue
with science. Whether this is in research, teaching, or some combination
of both is still a question, but I guess it still comes down to Bart's
"How do you justify your existance?"
At the same time, I have to agree with those same caveats that Bart
mentioned- if these feelings change, then I'd have to make a new decision
about what to do with my life, but this has not happened yet (close, on
those bad experimental or funding days, but not really!).
Ultimately, you've got to keeping asking yourself:
Is this what I want to do with my life?