Thursday, December 23, 2021

A Chemjobber Christmas tradition

A Chemjobber Christmas tradition, updated for 2021. Send a PDF to your family - try it, it works! 

December 23, 2021

Dear family member:

This holiday season, your relative is in his or her fifth/sixth/seventh/_______ year of graduate school in chemistry. This continues to be an unusual time due to the pandemic. I hope that you are all vaccinated with booster shots. This is a delicate time in your students’ lives -- please make interactions smooth for all by following these simple suggestions:

  1. Please supply lots of fresh fruit and vegetables -- they are in short supply. 

  2. Do not offer pizza, which is an all-too-common part of their diets. 

  3. Sleep is a rare commodity in graduate school; please turn down sheets and fluff pillows. Be prepared to see them about 24 hours after they get home.

In attempting to communicate with your graduate student, please avoid asking the following questions: 

  1. When are you going to finish? 

  2. What can you do with your degree? 

  3. Will you be the kind of doctor that helps people? 

  4. Now that I’ve been vaccinated, why do I still need to wear a mask? 

  5. How about a startup? I hear cryptocurrency is hot. 

  6. There's a clinical chemistry department at my hospital -- can you get a job there? 

  7. Do you know Charles Lieber? 

  8. Why do you need a postdoc? Haven't you gone to enough school? 

  9. MEGABIOGENE has opened a facility nearby -- can you get a job there?  

  10. Have you thought about data science? 

  11. I see [insert high school rival here] has finished medical school -- how much will they be

  12. Can you make ivermectin?  

  13. Have you thought about teaching? I heard professors have a stable job. 

  14. When are you going to finish? 

In following these simple suggestions, I trust that you, your graduate student and your family will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Very sincerely,


1 comment:

  1. Haha! I wish I had known about this years ago. The "when are you going to finish" questions started about 3 years in and persisted.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20