Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking for the next best thing

With my contract set to expire at the end of June, and Geoscience Australia looking at a blanket renewal ban in the face of their predicted staffing cuts, I’m hitting the job market again.

Given the current economic climate, I’d by lying if I said I had the ability to pick and choose. Still, my career to date has been more about the journey than the destination; its trajectory is best described using Brownian motion. Setting goals and working towards them has never really worked for me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t at least think about some of the broad differences in various types of employment.

1. Academics. The good thing about academic work is that the projects can be really, really interesting. There is some really cool stuff going on out there, and if you can get on the right project, that’s great. However, my inability to write papers means that I am unlikely to ever do anything other than work on other people’s projects, and the pay is pretty lousy as well.

2. Industry. The think I loved about working in exploration was the sense of accomplishment that accompanies the end of a successful project. However, the work is extremely demanding, and not always intellectually stimulating. It can also be tough on the family.

3. Government. The difference between this and industry is that for Government work, you don’t have to get up before dawn and work until 10 at night. Not surprisingly, it is less rewarding, both monetarily and in terms of accomplishment. On the other hand, it is great for having a life outside of the job- which is tempting now that LLLL is walking, talking, and fun to be around.

Sometimes I think it might be fun to write a book or do something completely off the wall, but how to monetize such activities in the short term is not obvious to me.

Any suggestions?


ScienceWoman said...

A guy with a professed inability to write papers wants to write a book? I think you have more ability to write papers than you think (cf. your blogging).

Personally, I think govt sounds like the way to go, sux that no one's hiring.

C W Magee said...

That may be because I forgot to mention the bureaucratic culture...

Wayfarer Scientista said...

good luck!