Monday, April 11, 2016

#chemjobs letters

Also in this week's C&EN, letters about #chemjobs: 
I am responding to Nelson Marans’s letter “Skimming the Classifieds” in the Feb. 22 issue (page 2). Maran wonders why the listed academic positions post requirements that the applicant would “have to walk on water” to qualify for. I have been under the conception that (and please tell me if I am misinformed) the applicant has already been picked for this position and that they are fulfilling requirements to advertise the position before a selection is made. Therefore, another applicant would be exceedingly difficult to find. 
I also have my own question about the job openings. Industrial position listings have almost disappeared. Why? 
Gary J. Banuk
Hanson, Mass 
I would like to add a counterpoint to Nelson Marans’s advice to recent Ph.D.s to seek a job in industry or government rather than in academia. I worked in industry before moving to academia, and there are signal advantages to the latter: the freedom to work on whatever science excites you, the opportunity to inspire young people to pursue chemistry, the soothing rhythm and flexibility of the fall-spring-summer academic schedule with its regular breaks and changes of pace, not having to worry about “fifty and fired” (as an industrial colleague of mine put it), the satisfaction of teaching chemistry well to brand-new science majors, and the gratification of seeing former students thrive and succeed in their careers. 
In the words of the Miller of the Dee, “I would not change my station for any other in life.” 
Tim Royappa
Pensacola, Fla
"Fifty and fired" makes me more nervous every day.  


  1. In academia, if you are tenured faculty at an R1 school making a six-figure, 100% salary (meaning you you get full salary no matter how many $$$ you bring in) its a great job.

    Below that, it wont be so good, and school administrations are finding new ways to make it tougher.

  2. I'm hoping for fifty and fired. It's why I paid off my student loan debts, save my money, drive an old car and live in a modest house. Then, I'll adjunct and volunteer while I still have my health and sanity. It's easier to make 6 figures in industry, and if you don't forget that you used to live on 1/5 of that in grad school, you'll be ok. There's a lot of Mercedes in my parking lot at work, so not everybody shares my sentiments. There are a lot of ways to make meaningful contributions to science and society without being a professor or working in industry.

  3. For an extreme example, see Mr. Moneymustache and his blog.