Ok, this week has been a bad week in the lab so far. A few weeks ago I wrote a post describing 15 reasons to be a scientist. Today I am in the mood to cross over to the dark side and give you 10 reasons NOT to be a scientist! Strangely I could only think of 10. If you have any more, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

1. Egos. Science attracts some straaaange people – and you have to work with them.

2. You can spend weeks, months even, trying to clone a gene, grow a strain or whatever and end up with zero results in the end. Bench work is surely one of the most frustrating jobs in the world.

3. Career Structure. Mainly if you work in academia I suppose. There are plenty of post-doc posts, but what about the next step?

4. Coming last at Trivial Pursuits. I don’t know about you, but I have spent so long with my head in science books that my general knowledge is terrible.

5. Having to write grant proposals

6. Repetition. As is often said – a trained monkey could do 90% of your job.

7. None of your non-science friends have a clue what your job is really all about (maybe that’s a good thing)

8. Transience. You work somewhere for a few years and make lots of friends, then gradually everyone moves to new jobs all over the world and you never see each other again. Sniff.

9. Unless you are very lucky. No-one in the real world cares about, or will be affected by, what you do.

10. The following quote from Max in the comment section of the the sister post to this one sums it up beautifully:

Getting paid substandard wages while working days and nights while on tenure track, while your buddies drive BMWs and surf in Hawaii, while you wonder why your second wife has left you and why you still don’t have an office with a window???

Oh wait, that was my “inside” voice,

Ahhh, I feel better after that. Remember to add your own in the comments section and maybe you’ll feel better too!

Photo: Steenslag

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22 Comments

  1. Wow to #6, I actually want & would love to be a scientist because I love independent & hands on work. I actually worked at a laboratory, loved it, & I was thriving.
    However in school, I kept failing general sciences so I switched my major to just college level (I’ve even failed that 2x before getting a decent grade).
    Idk what to do, if a supervisor taught/trained me on what to do, I can do it. But I can’t afford taking out loans just to fail the advanced classes. I’m sorry for the rant, but I truly want this as a career yet my brain with these classes don’t resonate

  2. The smell of BME, DTT or even worse, bleach-spiked LB media…

    Unrelated to this topic, but related to the difficulties of a scientist’s life: has anybody tried to bring a baby to a conference? I am trying to go to the Epigenetics Summit in Boston, but I can’t seem to find any information about potential daycare. Am I dreaming out loud?

  3. Come On. Raise your shoulder!
    We are all artist. Science is a passion!
    A musician will carry his guitar where ever he goes. We scientist think about science all day all night (or maybe we are lucky and can sleep once in a while).
    But once you are dedicated, it becomes part of you. If you don’t have the satisfaction of being there, it’s never too late. Find something else. For the rest of us who think about it all the time, just be it and live with it. One day, you will have the satisfaction of doing great work and will be proud of it.

  4. well i really dont agree that it doesnt make an impact… may be in lesser journals..but every small work adds up everyday…( it becomes clear when u read a review) and at last a breakthrough comes which apply the science in real life… eg. just knowing the time of diff genes was used to make a body calender that was used in drug administration… the real world may not understand wat we do in a room but that doest mean its not(/ will not) effecting them

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