The grass that is greener

This morning I realized I still feel envious of people in academia. And I started a blog post about that feeling and whether it meant I had made the wrong decision (which I don't think I did) by moving to industry. But then I realized I had written a post about this before where I wondered "if academia has brainwashed me into thinking that being successful in academia is the highest attainable goal in everyone's life."

I think part of my jealousy is the fact that for so many years I was working towards becoming a PI with my own line of research and now I have become something else. Other people have become that and I haven't. (But I guess I shouldn't forget about all the aspects that I didn't like.)

Another part of it is the lack of personal recognition. Or maybe I should phrase this differently and say the amount of teamwork in industry. The nice aspect of this is that responsibilities are shared and so are rejections. It feels a lot less personal than before (and I vaguely remember having written a post about this before too, but I can't find it) which is both a good thing but also a bit disappointing at times. Often, I make slides for somebody else to present for example and my name (or anyone's name) won't be on there. To the company or the world outside the company, it seems to matter less exactly who did what. I wanted to end this post by the example that most people will know the names of those who made discoveries in academia but not those in industry, but then I found that this is not true. The inventor of PCR worked at a biotech company at the time and the inventor of viagra just got knighted by the queen of England. So I'll end this post and continue my work towards a future Nobel prize. Happy Friday everyone!

3 responses so far

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is less personal in industry -- the responsibility is not yours alone but neither is the credit. Do you think that's unfair? Or did you not realize exactly what trade(s) you were making when you took your industry position?

    • babyattachmode says:

      I did realize this, and was even warned for it during my interview, but I think I just did not realize how it would affect me. I still find myself comparing my CV to others who are still in academia and then I feel jealous. And I'm not sure whether I need to take that as an incentive for change or just realize that I should stop comparing myself to others. Probably the latter.

      • Joseph says:

        Comparing CVs is guaranteed to bring you down; they track the wrong things for an industry job. (At least for me; your company my vary.)

        Maybe compare salary and funding instead. 🙂

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