Monday, March 16, 2009

Career Path Networking

In the comments on my post about job prospects (and lack thereof), Arti made an excellent suggestion:

Perhaps we can try to build up some sort of network to share ideas about career paths (both in and out of "astronomy")? One of the things I find is many astronomers have very little idea of where to even begin looking for other types of jobs...or how applicable their skills might be in other fields. It would be great for people to have a forum to share their findings...and for people who've found success in other arenas to share their experiences.

How about we start a discussion right here and on the AASWOMEN newletter about alternate career paths? Would a wiki or Facebook page be useful, too? (Would someone be willing to start one up?)

I'll start by sharing this anecdote: On one of my darker days, I got to talking with my brother, who studies biophysics. I lamented, "All the science funding seems to be in bio these days. Maybe I should jump ship." His answer was immediate: "That would be great! Your computer modeling expertise would be perfect for doing all sorts of modeling of kinetic processes. And medical imaging isn't all too different from astronomical imaging: you're trying to decipher blurry things that you can't necessarily access directly."

I came away from that conversation feeling a lot better about my future. Somehow, just knowing that I had a possible alternative that would allow me to still be a scientist, albeit not an astronomer, made me feel a whole lot better.

What ideas do you have?