Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Chemjobber Christmas tradition

A Chemjobber Christmas tradition, updated for 2020. Send a PDF to your family - try it, it works! 

December 23, 2020

Dear family member:

This holiday season, your relative is in his or her fifth/sixth/seventh/_______ year of graduate school in chemistry. This is an unusual year, due to the pandemic. Many of you are wisely avoiding seeing your graduate student, but you may be discussing things via virtual visits. This is a delicate time in their lives -- please make interactions smooth for all by following these simple suggestions:

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

  2. Do not have pizza delivered, it is an all-too-common part of their diets. 

  3. Sleep is a rare commodity in graduate school; please avoid early morning FaceTime sessions if possible.

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. Does the vaccine have microchips in it? 

  5. How about a startup? I hear machine learning is hot. 

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

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

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

  9. Is COVID-19 a hoax?  

  10. STEM jobs are really in high demand, aren't they? 

  11. Have you thought about data science? 

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

  13. Can you make hydroxychloroquine?  

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

  15. 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. Mid(or maybe late? sheesh)-career chemist here. I've gone through a couple of layoffs, and still get question 8.

    Happy Holidays!


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