"Ryan Bingham: Your resume says you minored in French Culinary Arts. Most students work the frier at KFC. You busted tables at Il Picatorre to support yourself. Then you got out of college and started working here. How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?The other day, I watched "Up in the Air"; for those of you who don't know, it's a movie about a man (Bingham, played by George Clooney) who flies around the country meeting with people who are about to get laid off. Despite the rather cruel job, he's quite humane about it.
Bob: Twenty seven thousand a year.
Ryan Bingham: At what point were you going to stop and go back to what made you happy?" - from "Up in the Air"
Contra the above exchange, someone paid me a lot less to go to graduate school and chase my dream. To be stereotypical, I think Hollywood is full of people who feel a tad guilty and smug that they get to do what they like, while the rest of America slaves away in a cubicle or stands behind a cash register. But this guy (two thumbs pointed at me) mostly loves what his hands have been doing for the past ten years or so. While I might wish to change some details of my working situation (and who doesn't?), I like my job and the people I work with a lot. I don't find myself daydreaming about what I might do if I won the lottery.*
I'm sure that, for some, chemistry is 'just a job'; however, I've mostly met other people who really like chemistry too. It's really sad that, in our tough time, chemists can't find jobs doing what they love.
So here's to chemistry, a job that makes me happy. I hope it makes you happy, too.
*I don't play the lottery.