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need guidance to find new job - dunno what to do

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#1 BioPe

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:13 PM

I have a PhD in Molecular biology / Cancer but I feel troubled by my pos-doc work and I want to quit research because of all that reasons you already know: science is too ambivalent, bad supervision, exhausting hours, not enough reward, metal health is compromised, ...

 

I am very hard working and before I get completely crazy, I would like to find another job.

 

I have always worked in science and I feel I cannot do anything else.

Can someone point me to alternatives to science related jobs? let me know about your experience.

 

Any help would be appretiated,

 

Cheers biggrin.png



#2 bob1

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:35 PM

The obvious alternative is teaching, not necessarily at a university, but maybe high-school.  Most countries are actively looking out for science teachers (and male teachers too, if you happen to be male). 

 

You could work at a museum if you have any interest in botany, zoology, natural history sort of things. 

 

Science communication is an up and coming field - journalism, writing PR material for companies, making videos and blogs for anyone interested in science but who don't know how to tell the story, that sort of thing.

 

Technician jobs are often quite good too, if you wanted to remain in science, they are often the sort of job where you can put your pipettes down at the end of the day and not have to worry.  The pay isn't too bad, but it probably won't be as much as you would get for your post-docs.

 

Have you thought about changing your field? - if you have any interest in programming or bio-informatics, there is a big and growing demand for these sorts of people.



#3 BioPe

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:54 PM

Hey bob1,

 

I actually thought of science communication, possibly in combination with programing and bio-informatics. I fact I think my skills in computers are quite good.

 

I am not sure where I can find such jobs. Are there websites with these job opportunities? (europe wide)

 

Thanks once more.



#4 bob1

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:35 PM

Sorry, not much idea - try the Europa careers website?  They used to have a science jobs webpage there.



#5 hobglobin

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:02 AM

two possibilities:

http://www.postdocjobs.com/

http://www.findapostdoc.com/

 

Using google you can find lots of jobs/career websites more or less specialised...


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#6 Goggi

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 07:54 PM

If I ever knew what phd and research actually are, I would never ever studied molecular biology.  I hate all this "graduate school marketing" fraud, like our graduate school will open doors for you in schience.

I have spent almost 4 years in phd programm in europe and cannot find any Job anywhere. Nobody wants to hire me because I am from third-world country, I cannot become even science editor or writer, because English is non my native language. There is no job for me anywhere. I was asking for career advices for 2 years and nobody was able to give me any meaningful advice. 

Everybody knows that there is no science in developing countries, yet they continue to take people like me in phd schools just to abuse as cheap labor in sweat-shop.

I am working now in horrible job that is no better that Amazon warehouse or Foxxconn sweatshop. I have no life, no money, just work 12 hours per day.

This is where european academic science brought me. 



#7 mdfenko

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:27 AM

goggi, you sound pretty bitter about your experiences.

 

you say you are in your fourth year of a phd program, have you completed your phd?

 

if so, have you explored a post-doctoral position? they can make you more marketable.

 

i have seen many "third world" phds who have had successful careers in science. your problem may be more of a timing issue. many phds in the life sciences are "molecular biologists". the competition for (few) positions is fierce. even in academia, tenure track positions are few and far between, adjuncts are the preferred hire.

 

you have to make yourself stand out from the crowd. if you haven't, finish your phd and find a (hopefully prominent) post doctoral position (there is also a lot of competition for them so brush up on your interview skills, also, think world wide, don't lock yourself in to any specific geographic area). publish some good work. then you may be able to find a more permanent position.


talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#8 Goggi

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:35 PM

I have finsihed and get a phd degree which is absolutely useless.  I do not have a paper.

I was sending CV s for 1 year. 99,99% even did not acnowledge that they receive my application.

The most I was able to find were technician positions.

Now I got some temporary post-doc position. I did not want  to do a post-doc because I knew that it will be ugly.

I work for salary which is 30% less than local postdocs receive. I cannot afford to buy coffee or meal in cafe.

Moreover, I have worked 60 hours per week since the beginning of this year and started to develope some physical sickness. I am not thinking how to publish good work; I am thinking what I will do if I need to go to dentist.  Is it much different from nazi labour camp !?

If nodoby wants to hire me for stupid post-doc job, who will hire me for bio-industry where salaries and conditions are better than in academia? How publishing 2 or 3 papers make me more employable for any normal medium-income job ?

You know, if I was told - you work certain hours for 3-4 years without any benefits, you will be unemployable, your experience will be totally useless, your health will be compromised, nobody cares about you, your life and career.  Than I would have at least clear picture about what I am egaging in. You get what you pay for.

If I am accepting job in MacDonalds, I know what sort of job it is.

But these guys make very "sweet" marketing of "graduate school".

****

did I study for 10 years just to get a stupid technician job? Today you need a phd in order to become technician ? What sort of career choice is molecular biology? This is worst career you can imagine.



#9 mdfenko

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 04:25 AM

reread what you wrote.

your whole attitude towards progression in the scientific world is negative. that attitude shows up in interviews and cover letters with applications.

 

why did you go into science? most scientists don't get rich, even in industry.

 

post docs are supposed to be temporary. they are for learning, experience, gaining prominence and making connections. they are not "stupid". even though not required for industry, they do make one more attractive to industry.

 

why didn't you publish from your thesis work?

 

many experienced technicians earn more (and are worth more) than post docs. try not to antagonize them, it could come back to bite you.

 

but, it's obvious that my words won't have any effect on your attitude so i wish you more success in your future. good luck.


talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#10 pito

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 05:51 AM

I have finsihed and get a phd degree which is absolutely useless.  I do not have a paper.

I was sending CV s for 1 year. 99,99% even did not acnowledge that they receive my application.

The most I was able to find were technician positions.

Now I got some temporary post-doc position. I did not want  to do a post-doc because I knew that it will be ugly.

I work for salary which is 30% less than local postdocs receive. I cannot afford to buy coffee or meal in cafe.

Moreover, I have worked 60 hours per week since the beginning of this year and started to develope some physical sickness. I am not thinking how to publish good work; I am thinking what I will do if I need to go to dentist.  Is it much different from nazi labour camp !?

If nodoby wants to hire me for stupid post-doc job, who will hire me for bio-industry where salaries and conditions are better than in academia? How publishing 2 or 3 papers make me more employable for any normal medium-income job ?

You know, if I was told - you work certain hours for 3-4 years without any benefits, you will be unemployable, your experience will be totally useless, your health will be compromised, nobody cares about you, your life and career.  Than I would have at least clear picture about what I am egaging in. You get what you pay for.

If I am accepting job in MacDonalds, I know what sort of job it is.

But these guys make very "sweet" marketing of "graduate school".

****

did I study for 10 years just to get a stupid technician job? Today you need a phd in order to become technician ? What sort of career choice is molecular biology? This is worst career you can imagine.

 

 

Where do you work? What country?

Also: you have a post doc position... so I don't really understand it... you complain about not finding a (good) job, but you do have a post doc... I wonder; where is it that you work, what country? post docs are normally paid pretty well.... 

 

 

And as mdfenko already said: "stupid" technician job? I would trade pretty much 50% of the PhD students here, the lab where I am, with lab techs....

(and here lab tech get paid badly compared to (some) lazy PhD students that think they know it all while they know pretty much nothing and refuse to listen (to the lab techs that know more about the practical stuff)


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#11 hobglobin

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:09 AM

Though his attitude is negative now and surely shows up in interviews etc, hopefully it was not his initial attitude but developed from negative experience...which is of course not a good idea but understandable...

PhD and postdoc jobs are kind of exploitation jobs in academia that keep the nasty system running...therefore in my opinion the best strategy is to leave academia as soon as possible and to find a position e.g. in industry, the younger the better chance to find something.

People who continue being postdoc and switch from one project to the next either need a good network and a sufficiently number of papers and experience helping them to easily can find new projects, or a place were they can write proposals and stay longer. And later perhaps even find a permanent position even if not professor (but this is like a lottery win and not possible in every academic system). Therefore it's a risky strategy that produces losers too (I also know several postdocs with European origin that are now cab drivers or work in other underpaid positions and are not happy at all). So very few stay in academia but have positions everywhere, from governmental institutes, companies, private labs, publishers, consultants etc etc...(for this it's good to have additional qualifications that help you to find an entry and leave postdoc world).

 

BTW technicians in Europe and US/Canada seem to be quite different, in Europe it's usually a job that requires a training as technician and then you stay tech until retirement, they're not paid well but have relatively often a permanent position. Anyway usually they do not study and then become a PhD etc, but if, they would have to start as an undergraduate.

 

Edit: a late additional comment for goggi: Your situation is surely not nice, but please avoid comparisons with nazi labour camps; they were very very different compared with your situation, as they were deathly places build to do genocide.


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#12 Ameya P

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 01:46 AM

Dear Goggi, 

 

I can understand your frustration at not being able to find a job and having to do physical labour to make ends meet, when you have a specialization in a very good field. Your frustration comes from the fact that you spent a good period of your life to make a career in science and now when you really want your hard work to bear fruit, you have to spend more time and effort to just make a simple living. I could not agree more that getting a job in science is next to impossible for a outsider in Europe at this point in time and the promise that PhD once held is nowhere near what it was supposed to be. 

 

I was in a similar position a few years ago and that was when I decided to move back to my home country. First and foremost, you do not have to pay over the top for house rent and heating bills and that drastically reduces the pressure on you. You will have the support of your family and friends through this tough time. Yes, you will not be a part of ground breaking research in your home country but you are not doing that in Europe either. So, why stay there and spend the best years of your life doing something a forklift can do. If you look carefully, there should still be a fair number of institutes that must be looking for PhD candidates to fill positions in say academia/ marketing/ consulting etc. It is just about you looking for the right type of job that will suit you. I know a few people who have PhD's and are working as technical consultants/ marketing heads for multinational companies wishing to sell their life sciences products and services in India. 

 

Do not lose hope and surrender to some job that you do not like. Yes, sometimes, you have to do it, it makes you humble (a little too frustrated) and can really help you pay your bills. But when it frustrates you so much that you start questioning your previous decisions you have break free. And if you are scared about going back to your home country without the security of a job, you should not really worry. If you have survived a PhD, then you can survive it all. 


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#13 Goggi

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 06:54 PM

a couple of points:

1) I wish I could back home, but the country from wich I am originally has GDP per capita which is similar to Albania, El Salvador, Mongolia. There are no positions in academia, consulting etc. No international company wants to sell anything (except cell phones) to the country because there is no money in the country. There is no jobs, no prospectives, nothing. If I only could,  I would rather go to India, Brazil or South Africa, because the life level is much higher there. Generally, the offered wages do not allow you to make ends meet. For instance, a single working individual cannot afford to rent a flat!

 

2) I receive 2 000 dollars after taxes per month in North America as a postdoc.  I do not know if this is a decent payment accordingly to american standards. Please, take into account also the 60-70 hours working week. No wonder, we do not have any native citizen in our group. I would go immidiately in any other place on this planet , if I was offered better conditions or at least 40-hours working week.

 

3) This part was removed.

I am not glorifying nazism. I equally disguised by any kind of anti-human ideology. But it is terrible that having 10 years of education in biology, I got trapped in the same conditions as prisoner in gulag or labor camp without any hope for better future.

Actually, academia destroyed my life. I engaged in something that doesn't make any sence. While I was doing research, the situation in my country of origin became much-much worth. Those who have already jobs struggle to maintain those despite wages cut. it is nearly impossible to get a job for fresh graduates.

 

4) I do not know how to stay positive if it took me several months to find even this slave job !

 

5)  I engaged in one of these "3 years" PhD in Europe. I believe that it is impossible to publish anything if you start project from absolute scratch, do not have support or mentoring from supervisor etc etc. I see growing number of such offers (3 year funded PhD position somewhere in Europe). Stay away from these! They are generally rubbish !

 

6) I do not understand why in industry they do not want accept people with PhD because they are overqualified even if I ready to work for whatever money. On the other hand, in academia now they require phd degree for even technician job! It does not make any  sence to me.


Edited by hobglobin, 31 March 2014 - 12:12 PM.
See post #15 for details.


#14 mdfenko

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 04:25 AM

in response to:

 

5) if you started your phd research from scratch then you should have publishable results. if you presented a thesis then you should have publishable results. you just have to write them up.

 

6) industry refrains from hiring "overqualified" individuals because they expect them to continue their job hunt, even after being hired, until they find a job that fits their qualifications (happened to people i know).

 

2) depending on where in the states you are will determine whether $2k/month after taxes is acceptable. some places are less expensive than others.

 

i find your comparison with nazi labor (aka death) camps neither appropriate, amusing nor accurate and would hope you refrain from such comparisons in future posts.


talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#15 hobglobin

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 12:09 PM

@ goggi: After a discussion with other moderatos, we all agreed that some parts of your post (i.e. the comparison of your postdoc training with nazi labour camp) are inappropriate and unacceptable. Therefore I deleted it.

Please avoid posting such inflammatory and unwarranted comments in the future or you will receive an official warning.


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.





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