Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Maybe we're the last humanists

"How about a research assistant professorship in the Yukon?"
Credit: jmount43
For this to work right, you gotta imagine Pacino's gravelly voice:
"Let me give you a little inside information about the job market. The job market likes to watch. It's a voyeur. Think about it. It knows chemists have needs. You have this extraordinary love for your science, and you need to pay the rent.  
What does it do, I swear for its own amusement, its own private, cosmic gag reel, it changes what it wants every two years. It's the goof of all time. We want chemists! We want biologists! How about a postdoc? How about a postdoc in chemical biology? 
We want big data folks! Total synthesis is dead! Total synthesis is great problem solving! Do research at the bench but don't forget the soft skills! Learn to communicate, but don't forget to be productive! Do methodology! Learn some computational skills! Be productive, but don't be too narrow. Specialize, become an expert! Ahaha!  
And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is the job market doing? It's laughin' its sick, [rear-end] off! It's a SADIST! It's an absentee landlord!" 
(With apologies to Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy)


  1. Pacino is the ultimate s*hitlord,or at least plays the best one in movies. Completely agree with the quote. At some point you just have to throw up your hands and say, "why bother?" Especially if you are not pedigreed, like me.

  2. This gets at a much deeper problem. Many people fall for the trap of preparing for the job market as it exists when they start their graduate training rather than the job market that will exist when they enter the job market. Obviously, guessing what the job market will look like 4-8 years in the future (PhD + possible postdoc) is exceptionally difficult, which is one of the many things that makes this whole game so difficult. If there is are a large number of job openings in a particular sub-field when you are entering graduate school, the most likely scenario is a surplus of applicants and scarcity of jobs openings in that sub-field when you finish grad school. You shouldn't chase a trendy area, particularly if it will require 4-8 years of training.

  3. Ricky: Stocks, bonds, objects of art, real estate. What are they? An opportunity. To what? To make money? Perhaps. To lose money? Perhaps. To 'indulge' and to 'learn' about ourselves? Perhaps. So fucking what? What isn't? They're an opportunity. That's all they are. They're an event. A guy comes to you, you make a call, you send in a card. 'I have these properties I would like for you to see.' What does it mean? What do you want it to mean. Do you see what I'm saying? Things happen to you. [pause] Glad I met you. I'm glad I met you, James. I want to show you something. It may mean something to you, it may not. I don't know. I don't know anymore. [He takes out a small brochure and puts it on the table] What is that? Florida. Glengarry Highlands. Florida. Bullshit. And maybe that's true, and that's what I said. But look at this. [He opens up the brochure, with the words: 'Make Your Dreams Come True'].