Disadvantages of Science Jobs

While working in science can be very rewarding - intellectually stimulating, allowing contributions to society, generating a possibility of profit - a job in science is not for everyone. Some science jobs require long training (graduate school and beyond), working very long hours, depending on grant funding if working in academia, depending on the success of the product being developed if working in industry, and possibly even working conditions that have an adverse impact on one's health.

While many science jobs require a college degree and possibly a certification, most independent research positions require doctoral training. This means that one truly enters the workforce, in terms of salary and job security, some five to ten years later than one's peers. By many estimates, American universities train almost twice as many PhDs as there are possible job openings. This has led to a longer time spent in postdoctoral jobs with little permanence and relatively low salaries. Given a glut of scientists, even after obtaining a professorship, many scientists find themselves writing proposals rather than doing research and with their research driven by funding opportunities, rather than pursuing avenues necessary to solve important scientific problems.

Many students with science degrees decide to become teachers to train the next generations of scientists. While this is a great career path, both cuts in salaries and the reduction of teaching positions can make this a career path far less secure than it has been in the past.

Disadvantages of Science Jobs

Since scientists, whether working in academia or industry, depend on producing results quickly, many science jobs entail very long hours, as well as work on weekends. In addition, because there are often several laboratories or biotechnology companies competing to be the first to describe a phenomenon or develop a therapeutic drug, the job can be very stressful.

Finally, depending on your work setting, working in science can pose some health risks. In addition to health problems related to stress, some scientists work in the field where they can suffer from exposure to pathogens when working with animals or in industrial settings where they can be exposed to toxic chemicals when working in the design of new materials. Even those working at a computer can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and vision problems.