|An actual "CJ's Diner." Credit: PALMETT0|
And again I ask all of you, what alternative career paths would any of you encourage people to pursue? What other careers don't have high numbers of people complaining about how tough it is out there?From the comments, a number of different suggestions:
- Anon012820131032a: "Pharmacists, Dentists, Opticians, Engineers"
- My 0.02: "It seems that there are endless positions for computer programmers."
- Anon012820130852p: "Accountants, doctors, pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, computer programmers, market researchers, sales folks."
- Regret: "Everyday of my life, I regret the decision to choose chemistry over computer science. Worst. Decision. Ever."
Far be it from me to discourage anyone to do what many of the readers of this blog has done, which is to get a Ph.D. in chemistry -- even more narrowly, organic chemistry. But as I keep saying, I think it is terribly important to have a finely calibrated sense for where you stand compared to your peers nationwide and to have a clear-eyed expectation of what might lie ahead for you (salary, length of job search) if you do not snag a Big Pharma entry-level senior scientist post. So that's my first response to David's challenge: I would encourage those who plan on a career in chemistry to understand the tradeoffs for what might lie ahead.
For those who find a 7-year journey to $90,000/year job (to pick some round numbers that are likely too short and too much) to be too long for not enough money, I've always asserted that engineering and nursing must have the best returns on investment for schooling. 4 years, a decent wage, government support (nursing) and licensure all seem to be things that weigh in favor of these two fields. That said, they're not free of complaints, so that fails the second part of David's challenge.
(If time and family were no object, I would personally be very interested in becoming a physician. I like people enough that I think I could deal with them day-to-day (I think) and the balance between routine work and long-term problem-solving would be interesting. But again, there are plenty of complaints about medicine as a career, so it fails part 2 of the David challenge.
Some days, I fancy a career as a short-order cook at an old-style diner, but that's not exactly lucrative.)
Finally, it seems to me that computer science has a relatively low barrier-to-learning and accepts informally-trained folks for jobs routinely. I plan to try to teach my kids the basics of coding as soon as practical; it sees like a fun computer-oriented activity and it seems to me that coding will be a basic skill for the future.
Readers, what would be your alternative career of choice?