Careers in Microbiology\

Karl Roberts kr1 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Fri Oct 9 08:17:47 EST 1998

I've been reading this current line of discussion, and it sounds
extremely depressing.  While still working on my Ph.D. I had a class
with a professor who had taken many postdoc positions before finally
landing his university job, and the bitterness associated with that
experience was very evident.  He admonished all of us not to complete
our degrees, but to instead actively pursue positions in areas outside
of academia.  I, however, had no intention of giving up all of the years 
of work and hoop-jumping it had taken just to get where I wanted to be,
so I continued.  I am now a professor at a community college which has
an enrollment of about 35,000, I have participated in several grants, I
do have research facilities should I choose to use them, and have
continued to develop professionally although I am not employed by a
major research university.  There are many talented Ph.D.s and ABDs out
there who would benefit and provide a great service to academia by
considering getting a start in smaller colleges, two-year institutions,
and technical colleges.  Pay is generally equivalent to what one would
expect from a university, but the "paper mill" atmosphere doesn't exist, 
so there is no pressure to publish or perish.  Also, the young professor 
can hone his or her teaching skills, something which I have found lacking
in all but the most dedicated educators at the big schools.  After all,
many of the students at these smaller, often unfairly maligned 
institutions go on to universities, while others enter careers in the
health professions and other areas which directly impact the well-being
of all of us.  Considering enlightened self-interest, don't we owe it to 
ourselves and them to see to it that they are capable when they leave us? 
After all, most of them will make more than we do, and some may treat
US in the future.  Without college students, higher education ceases to
exist.  The experience a young professor will get teaching at a smaller
institution will only enhance his or her skills and make the likelihood
of landing the dream job a bit more probable.
Karl J. Roberts, Ph.D.
Prince George's Community College

On 6 Oct 1998, dahd wrote:

> In article <Pine.SOL.3.96.980927222408.27958A-100000 at post.its.mcw.edu>, 
> laceyd at post.its.mcw.edu says...
> >
> >
> >I have resently been excepted to a few Ph D programs (U of Arizona and 
> U
> >of Montana) in microbial ecology but am having second thoughts about
> >entering.  Outside of academia, what career options would I have.  I am
> >interested in the research and would injoy working on my PhD but with 
> the
> >glut of PHDs that I am told exist what kind of job would I find.
> >
> >Dave
> >
> With few exceptions, you are likely to become a "postdoc." This is
> a euphemism for temprorary, underpaid, insecure, flunky positions.
> If you are very lucky and exceptionally capable you wil be able to 
> move from  a postdoc to a real job.  But, you are also likely to find
> out that you have invested 6-7 years of your life getting the PhD,
> 2-4 years on a postdoc treadmill, and at the age of 30 something, you
> are quite unemployable.
> See discussions on the newsgroup sci.research.careers.

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