What’s Next??

Why is it the most anxiety-inducing thoughts always come in the middle of the night?

I woke up recently and the most random thing popped into my head: If I need a job, any job, in a year from now… what the heck would that be? Could I really go back to retail with a PhD? I don’t know if I could waitress, I’m such a klutz as it is…

This thought appeared benign and inquisitive. Just a random idea that didn’t seem threatening… until it totally was.

These days, we all know there’s a “glut” of PhDs, there are not enough jobs and too many of us are toiling away as low-paid postdocs, across STEM fields. Bleak, reading? Yes. I’ve still got a year of my postdoc and am I worried? Oh yeah. I mean, I’m thinking about my prospects as a waitress at 2am… and I have multiple advanced degrees.

I know I’m not alone. As we Young Career Scientists look out on the Future, it’s kind of a scary place.

Indeed, this is a bit off-topic for our Diversity Journal Club, but Doctor PMS and I decided it’d be a good topic to tackle, as many of us are in this boat together, searching for a paddle. Moreover, so many of our conversations have come back to the importance of community, of a place to talk about concerns and issues – and certainly these concerns affect all of us.

So next time we get together on twitter, this coming Monday 23 March at 2pm Eastern, let’s talk about what’s next: About our concerns and fears for the future, but let’s also lean on that community to help one another find a paddle. Let’s share thoughts, ideas, and advice on how we get through the scary times, and also about alternative routes to fulfilling careers that lie beyond academia (where so many of us have been told for so long to hang our hopes). Let’s talk about what you do or did to help get through the Early Career stage, and about what other avenues are out there to explore.

Come to commiserate, or to share how you got through it and to give advice! All voices welcome!

2pm ET, Monday 23 March!


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