Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Alternate Careers for Young Scientists in Trump's America

Are you a young scientist about to graduate into a world where EPA scientists can't discuss their findings, climate change "isn't real", federal hiring is frozen, and NSF funding has been called into question a number of times and is undoubtedly going to be decapitated?

Why, you must be a bit worried about your career prospects, huh?

Don't worry, young graduates. We have some career pathways for you that we'd like to call "Alternative Service Post-Docs" that we think you'd be perfectly cut out for. Someone with your background in logic, reasoning, and (probably) statistics skills will be perfect for these jobs. They offer benefits, flexible hours, and are offered in all 50 states so you can mostly live where you want to - fantastic, huh? There's a bit of paperwork involved, but not as much as you'd think (and from what we've seen, some people in these positions get away without much reading at all). Without further ado, here's our list of top 10 jobs for upcoming science graduates!

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Senator - So - do you like throwing snowballs? What about claiming that legislation is intended to specifically hurt doughnut manufacturers? That's great, because as far as we can tell, the general job of a state senator is to act like a buffoon in front of cameras!  As a senator, you'll be able to use all sorts of nonsensical evidence to support your bills and ideas, and you'll get paid about 170k a year for it! This Alternative Service Post-Doc just requires that you're 30 years old and have lived here for 9 years, which you will definitely be and have after being trapped in graduate school your whole goddamned life for nothing. Hell, you don't even have to publish a single paper to be eligible - sounds a lot better than Academia, doesn't it? Also, in case you ever want to return, you'll have the right to demand NSF proposals to pour through, so you'll definitely get an edge on the competition when your soul has healed and you've decided to apply for funding again.

Image result for house of representative iconRepresentative - similar to State Senator, your primary job will be to make unsubstantiated claims that prove you know nothing of human anatomy. Also, feel free to worry that reacting to climate change will starve plants, and that there might not be enough wind if we keep building windmills. That's right, 174k a year to waste everyone's time and shut down the government because you can't agree on funding. Basic requirements of this Alternative Service Post-Doc include a high school education and three years of progressive experience in - just kidding, you just have to be 25 and have lived in the state for 7 years - that's basically where you were at the end of your Masters, right? Perfect.

Image result for federal education iconSecretary of Education - So while a secretary just generally needs a high school diploma, a secretary of education needs... nothing, apparently. Cool. Having spent your entire life learning and crying over journal articles, you're basically a shoe-in for the job. You'll be in charge of federal financial aid and standards, without ever having had to receive the former or met the latter! To be fair, the federal position's just been filled, but look forward to running for your state position in the near future and make a cool 160k and pay off parts of your student loan debt while being part of the system that's causing that debt in the first place!

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County Commissioner - How would you like to make 100-180 thousand dollars a year to make local ordinances like "It's illegal to harass Bigfoot"? Sounds pretty fun, right? You might eligible for this job if you: are eligible to vote in that county. That's all! Think of the power you could have - you could make it illegal to study anything other than your favorite animal in biology classes, for example! Think of the potential!

Image result for secretary of state iconSecretary of State (of States) - Do you like power? How about safeguarding records (come on, all you natural curators!)? Then being the Secretary of State for a State might be just the Alternative Service PostDoc position for you! Your job is to help keep elections fair, collect historical records, and put seals on things. Most of these Alternative Service Post-Docs last 4 years and, if the Governor dies, you get to be in charge! Best of all, you'll be making more than double the salary of a normal post-doc - salaries vary from state to state, but you can expect to make between 80k to 120k a year. As for qualifications, forget it - they don't even require a bachelor's degree! You've got this one in the bag, young grad student. Now go out there and salvage some records!

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Comptroller: Here's the downside - nobody knows what this position does. Something with money, or maybe traffic lights? Whatever. The upside - you will have literally no competition for this position. Meaghan has personally seen ballots with county or city comptroller and either no names, or only one name, listed next to it. You don't have to fill out an application, send in a CV, or have any real skills or talent - fantastic for the fresh graduate with Imposter Sydrome and no ability to identify or describe their own gifts!

So if you're interested in running for any of these or similar Alternative Service Post-Docs, please contact 314Action, a group dedicated to funding science advocacy and getting more scientists into political positions. This blog post may have been riddled with sarcasm, but we promise that we are deadly serious - if you are unsatisfied with your job prospects as a scientist (and you should be), consider running for office and fixing the problem from the inside. Use reason and logic to dictate laws and bills. Explain basic statistics and reasoning to your fellow employees, and smack the snowballs out of climate-deniers hands. Go to to find openings you're eligible for. It might not be the job you trained for, or where you thought you would end up, but it's the job we need more scientists to do, or this shit is never going to get better.

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