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Re: paleo jobs Re: Howdy peoples!
Chris Brochu said:
>There are more openings for governor in the U.S every year than for
>vertebrate paleontologist. And the U.S. has a darned excellent job
>market for vertebrate paleontologists compared with the rest of the
>world. Prospects improve a little when you include positions for all
>paleontologists, but not by much.
>...There are some nice
>post-doctoral fellowships out there (I have one now), but these are
>temporary, and the knowledge that my current position is not guaranteed
>to be permanent is stressful. And many universities are starting to
>kill tenure, so permanent positions may be a thing of the past.
Chris' first point is one the shames of our culture - that academia is
so often underpaid, and under-funded. I know that I like to have nice
things (grown-up's "toys" - some of them), and that consequently I need a
certain amount of money to live on. I have a B.S. in Engineering Physics,
and I work as a Computer Consultant. After my first year working as a
programmer, I had the opportunity to work on a Nuclear Physics project - for
1 year only, Midnight to 9 AM, for 20% less money than I was making. I
chose to continue with computers, and have been fortunate enough to make a
career out of it.
However, Chris second point (as I've edited here), is one that is
becoming relevant to all professions, not just academia. After I had been
working for my first company for over 4 years, I discovered that they would
not increase my salary to match those of new hires from other companies -
even though I had more experience than them. I also realized, as the 75+
year old company waltzed its way to bankruptcy, that they wouldn't be around
to help me, and in fact, I would be one of the first to go (as I was only
there for a relatively short time). I realized that I had to find a way to
make sure that I got paid what I believed I was worth (or something close),
and to not worry about the longevity of a particular company - just make
sure that they can pay their employees and consultants in the short-run. I
currently live from engagement to engagement, and it can be nerve-racking to
wait for a new one to open up, as your assets dwindle, if the timing is
The point here, is that no job is permanent - even the ones that you
believe are. Shoot for having a vocation - a career, rather than a job.
If you end up like me, doing something you like, but still trying to have a
secondary advocation of paleontology - you should be in good shape (I just
never seem to have the time and money at the same time to really go out
there and dig dinosaurs - maybe next year :-) ).
(P.S. When I'm on an engagement, I make quite a bit of money, more than the
average consultant - this makes it even more difficult to find new
assignments - but I'm not rich - give me a few more years).