Jul 16 2012 Published by drugmonkey under #FWDAOTI, Blogging, Careerism, Postdoctoral Training, Postgraduate Training
In case you absolutely must continue the 300 comment thread which developed under
Alternate careers" is just the next exploitation strategy?
you can have at it here.
11 responses so far
Dude, what's the fucken point of closing that thread and telling people to continue here? Couldn't they have just continued there?
Come on CPP, even you should be more creative in quashing debate than that.
Why have one 600 comment threads when you could have two 300 comment behemoths? C'mon now XD.
I heard that CPP likes his martinis served in a glass rinsed with the bitter tears of failed postdocs. He keeps a bottle of said tears in the minibar in the Bentley.
I heard he is The Stig
I made a comment early in the last thread and never checked back, but you replied to it:
"ok, whoa. We can talk about history and "prime of life" and "ideal reproductive age" but the bottom line is that things have changed from 60s and 70s.
maybe we professional, upper middle class folks have always reproduced later but I don't think this is the explanation. In a convenient nutshell, 34 is the new 24.
Expectation-wise, I don't think it is some tragedy that women are thinking about having kids at 30-34 (with 6-7 yr time to completion, 34 is kind of up there, isn't it?). Now once you get up to 38 or so, ok. this is where the medical establishment starts getting wiggy about the complication rate. Then we can talk."
In my post, I was responding to Grumble, who claimed you shouldn't have to take out loans during grad school. I was explaining how I didn't have a lot of options but to take out loans, and even then, qualified for welfare at times.
34 is NOT the new 24. I've watched lots of friends struggle with infertility for a decade or more, starting in their 20's. If people start trying in their 30's, often it never happens. I've seen too much heartbreak to take that gamble. We knew we didn't have the fortitude or finances for artificial reproduction, so we wanted to avoid it if at all possible. Fertility drops precipitously past about 34 or so. If we'd had any clue how hard it would be to have kids in grad school, I don't think we'd have done it. We sure as hell didn't know anyone else who did it (except for a few men with stay-at-home wives).
I'm not the norm, but I never went to college until I was in my mid-20's. I spent my early 20's working to support my husband through undergrad (including paying toward his loans) and grad school, since his stipend was tiny. I decided I wanted a better career than being a receptionist, so I went to college, paid for it myself, and finished in 3 years. I had to wait for my husband to finish grad school so we could move and I could start grad school at a new uni, so we had a kid while I was waiting for him, fearing for infertility if we waiting till I was done with my PhD. University daycare waiting lists were 2 YEARS long, so I had to stay home, despite not wanting to. I couldn't take grad classes at my undergrad uni because we couldn't afford the tuition. I couldn't matriculate in the local grad program because they didn't admit anyone who wasn't intending to do a PhD. We were at our poorest then.
I moved, started grad school, had another kid (not really planned), took a 3 month unpaid maternity leave, and when my research really got cooking, changed projects/advisors because I got yelled at for taking a weekend off after having worked 30 consecutive days (my baby was still an infant). I started all over from scratch in another (awesome) lab. That was 3 years ago and I'll be graduating this year, for 5.5 years total in grad school.
So yes, 34 is getting "up there" but not everyone follows the traditional track. My husband did follow the traditional track and because he's an equal partner, this affects him just as much as me.
I'm not complaining at all, just explaining why I'm so old. Fertility issues are not unique to us old grad students, however. I still adore grad school and cannot believe I get paid to have so much fun. It is way better than any job I had before. It's my dream job, but I have to admit it's a bit tough to do the whole having kids, getting 2 PhDs, and getting grown-up jobs thing. I am so relieved I don't have any babies to look forward to and am glad I had them "young" despite how much it honestly sucked.
I am really worried about getting a grown-up job. I don't want to be a prof, and I'd love to be one of those fabled staff scientists/research assistants that don't really exist. My husband makes okay money now, but I hate the idea of being so dependent on him. I've made my bed and I'll lie in it, but I am a little bummed that despite all the self-education I tried to do on careers, I probably will struggle to find a permanent job that will support my family without being heavily subsidized by my man. At least I didn't sacrifice my most fertile years to my training, only to come up barren at the end...
Can I just state the obvious?
The government needs to hire more scientists. There's no particular reason why we need to restrict the job of scientist to just 0.0001% of the population. Hire more. They don't necessarily have to be TT professors, just full-time, professional, non-post-doc scientists.
@argh "The government needs to hire more scientists."
When the rate of antibiotic failures gets too high, maybe politicians will realize we can't rely on private companies to cure all diseases and the government needs to hire scientists to work on problems of public importance.
I hear that Physioprof believes that bathing in the blood of graduate students will keep him young.
Stating that a whole lot of people other than academics are delaying childbirth is not making any statement about fertility.
I hear that lab meetings in CPP's lab always start with "bring out the gimp".
DrugMonkey is an NIH-funded researcher who blogs about careerism in science. And occasionally about the science of drug use.
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