Yesterday on twitter people talked about whether to join a lab from a new PI with the risk that they do not get tenure, or whether to join an older PI who might leave or move or whatever. This is a difficult decision with many factors, but say you've chosen a lab and then all of a sudden the bomb gets dropped and the PI has to or chose to leave. Who in the lab is screwed the most?
1. The newest grad student who just decided to join the lab.
2. The grad student who is a couple years into their project but faaaaaar from finishing up.
3. The grad student who is really almost done, but just has to finish a few things and write their thesis.
4. The foreign post-doc who needs to leave the country when they don't have a job.
5. The favorite post-doc who thought they had saved their ass (i.e. secure funding) by writing a multi-PI grant with their PI.
6. Did I forget anyone?
It's been nearly two months since I started my industry job. My main reason to switch to industry was the insecurity in academia. The fact that you need to get grants and that it is unknown what will happen to your job if you don't get those grants. People had assured me that there is insecurity everywhere and these people appear to be right. The new type of insecurity is the fact that companies buy each other, and then it is unclear if the company will move, if the interests of the company will change or -worst case scenario - if everyone will lose their job.
But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Instead, I wanted to talk about the fact that even though I consider myself much happier in this job than in my post-doc job, I still very often feel like instead of gaining a cool and awesome job, I lost my chance of becoming an academic PI. I lost my shot at awards and stuff like that. And I wonder if academia has brainwashed me into thinking that being succesfull in academia is the highest attainable goal in everyone's life. In this job, I come home happy and feeling like I've accomplished something nearly every day*. In my previous job, I came home angry and disgruntled on many days. But whenever I hear about someone else getting a job, or a paper, or a grant, I feel kind of jealous. I worked hard, why did I not get there? I just can't figure out why I then still feel like I've lost here, even though in my heart I know that I am much happier here. Still dis-assimilating I guess.
* so yes, this can totally be filed under #firstworldproblems. I realize how whiny this post sounds and how lucky I am to have this awesome job .
Today I heard that someone wanted to nominate a woman in science for an award for women in science. When the woman realized what this person wanted to nominate her for, she said that she never wanted to be nominated for an award specific for women in science, because to her it almost felt like an insult; like she wasn't good enough for an award for men AND women.
What do you think? Is it good that there are awards for women in science to increase their visibility for example? Or are they like a consolation prize?