On January 20, Barack Obama became the first African American to be sworn in as President of the United States. On that day television screens carried images of African American men and women moved to tears as they watched the historical event—one that many of them thought they would never witness in their lifetimes.
Like it or not, each of us has only 168 hours a week to spend in whatever way we see fit, and most of us apply at least one-fourth of those hours—about half of our waking hours—engaged in some type of gainful employment.
About 20 years ago Alice, a virologist, was up for a position as university president. She was one of three possible candidates. But during her interview things started to go a bit sour when the committee persistently asked her what she would be willing to give up should she be given the job.
The science job market in the London–Oxford–Cambridge triangle, after 10 years of rising public investment in the United Kingdom's science base, has never been stronger. But the shockwaves of the financial crisis are undermining the biotech industry and pharma restructuring is hitting R&D, while academia is refocusing research with a translational bent.
The selection of a doctoral program: it's not quite marriage, but it's a long-term commitment that could turn into a lifetime relationship, perhaps impacting—positively or negatively—the rest of your research career.
Publish or perish is the scientist's maxim—with good reason. Career advancement hinges on publications. But data generation requires dollars. And as the time it takes for investigators to become financially independent grows, the old adage may also motivate early-career researchers to capitalize on their youth.
The year 2009 has been a time of change for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. With a weakened global economy and dwindling drug pipelines, many of the companies that made the list of Science's 2009 top employers are finding that maintaining innovation through collaborations and partnerships is critical to success.
Collectively, the US government is the largest single employer in America, filling approximately 1.6 million full-time, permanent positions; however, in reality, the US government consists of several hundred smaller employers, each of which has its own individual function and culture. As a result, the opportunities offered by government jobs are wide ranging, and the needs are diverse.
In the idealized career path, a scientist goes straight from earning an undergraduate degree to graduate school, and then on to a postdoc and eventual employment, without breaks between positions. For various reasons, however, not all scientists' career paths are nearly so linear.
The number of women embarking on science careers has been increasing steadily during the past several decades. Although women scientists continue to be underrepresented at the faculty level, many women have established rewarding and successful careers in science—thanks in part to having had role models and mentors whose paths they could follow.
After completing their graduate studies, many scientists have moved away from the bench and found rewarding careers in areas from grant administration to venture capital. While still making use of the training and skills gained during graduate school, these "alternative" careers are a better match for many.
You've reached a career milestone: managing your own lab. This recognition of your achievements attests to your hard work, attention to detail, commitment to a goal—and outstanding science. But be prepared. You're about to face challenges you may not have considered.