A woman who graduated with an M.S. in chemistry from a western university around the time of the recession recalls the difficulty of finding work as a new graduate. The woman, who did not want to be identified by name so that her job prospects would not be affected, was unemployed for two-and-a-half years, she says, and heartbroken at being unable to find work in a field she was passionate about.
But she had to pay the bills, including student loans, so she worked at a hotel chain before deciding to return to school for a nursing degree. Now that the woman has graduated and obtained her nursing license in two states, she has the luxury of choosing among four job offers.
Some chemists question whether they should encourage young people to go into the sciences when their journeys have been so difficult. “It’s kind of hard to encourage kids I know who want to go into science, which is terrible because it’s a great field, and we need scientists,” [CJ's note: former Pfizer chemist Pamela] Case says. “But when they ask for my experience, I have to be honest.” Many chemists like Case were forced to leave the bench.If I were laid off and could not find a job in my field, I would imagine it would be hard-pressed to recommend it to others. That's got to be a tough thing to mention during a career day session.
(Readers, what do you do during career day sessions? I regret to admit my audiences get more exposure to the Survey of Earned Doctorates than they would ever want...)