Monday, August 27, 2012

Scientists don't have just a PhD

I don't want to be pessimistic about my job hunt. I have been learning a lot about careers, employment and how to get there over the last year, however, and it is quite obvious that Seattle does not support a job classification for people to be employed as scientists who have a PhD but no post-doc. Of course, if you know someone really well, if your PI is part owner in a start-up, maybe this can happen for you.  But I've met a lot of people who work here, working as a scientist (at the bench) requires a post-doc.  (For the record, working as a tech with a PhD is regarded as a very bad idea.)

For the last year, I've been quite confident that I could find something that wouldn't require a post-doc, and here is what I've come up with. 
You don't need a post-doc to become a medical writer. 
You don't (always) need a post-doc to teach, particularly at non-research schools.
You don't need a post-doc to get into patent law, or that arena of intellectual property, but you do need to pass the patent bar or have some significant business savvy. 
And you don't need a post-doc to just have a job- many positions (again, not at the bench, but administration springs to mind) don't actually require that PhD in the first place, but if you can make the case that you are well qualified it shouldn't preclude you working. 

So if just a job is the goal, a PhD is great- it shows you can work hard, learn challenging things, juggle multiple projects with changing priorities.  But you might not use your science at all. And frankly using that science is what people will pay the most for.

Now I am wondering, it's been a year, and I still don't have my dream job (although I am a lot less dissatisfied with contract work), and I don't actually know what that dream job looks like (I've found fixating on a single position has not been that good for me). Perhaps I should keep trying things to see what sticks.  Right now I am looking at medical writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment