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Subject: To Scientists - On Jobs
From: Tom Kwak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 8 Apr 1997 10:38:29 -0500
Content-Type:text/enriched
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/enriched (210 lines)


To All,


   I was hesitant to forward the letter below to the list, but I agree
with the list owner, who raised the issue, that it's worth discussion
in a general sense.  Many of us at a range of educational levels have
experienced trying times in finding that dream job - an adequate job -
or any job.  While the letter below may discourage some, it may inspire
others to know that they are not alone in a challenging situation.
Some may wish to respond to Alan Hale -- if for no other reason, to
share your frustration -- but also to possibly help call attention to a
problem worth discussing and mitigating.  I personally continue to
encourage students to pursue science...but not to expect an easy time
of it.


Regards,  Tom Kwak


p.s., if you have a problem with this posting, please contact me
directly.



--------------------------------------

Subject: an open letter from Alan Hale

Date: 21 Mar 1997 19:13:35 GMT

From: [log in to unmask] (Alan Hale)

Organization: NMSU Astronomy

Newsgroups: sci.astro.amateur



An open letter to the scientists of my generation:


   I am Alan Hale, the co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp which, as I'm

sure you're aware, is getting a tremendous amount of media attention

at this time. Like I'm sure is true for many of you, I was inspired

by the scientific discoveries and events taking place during my
childhood

to pursue a career in science only to find, after completing the
rigors

of undergraduate and graduate school, that the opportunities for us

to have a career in science are limited at best and are which I
usually

describe as "abysmal." Based upon my own experiences, and those of you

with whom I have discussed this issue, my personal feeling is that,

unless there are some pretty drastic changes in the way that our
society

approaches science and treats those of us who have devoted our lives
to

making some of our own contributions, there is no way that I can, with

a clear conscience, encourage present-day students to pursue a career

in science. It really pains me a great deal to say something like
that,

but I feel so strongly about this that I have publicly made this

statement at almost every opportunity I have been given.


   I am trying to use the media attention that is currently being
focused

upon me to raise awareness of this state of affairs, and perhaps start
to

effect those changes that will allow me to convey a more positive
message

to the next generation. So far, I'm sensing a certain reluctance among
the

media to discuss this issue, as they seem far more interested in items

which I consider to be irrelevant and unimportant. But I intend to
keep

hammering away at this, and I'd like to believe that eventually some
are

going to sit up and take notice. I am also attempting to schedule
meetings

with some of our government leaders, to see if I can at least get some

acknowledgement from Washington that this is a problem that needs to
be

dealt with.


   My reason for writing to you is to ask your help. I know that I'm
not

alone in being frustrated about the current prospects for pursuing any
kind of

decent career within science, and I'm quite sure that many of you have

"horror stories" about your searches for decent employment that are
quite

similar to my own. I'd like to hear them. I'd especially like to hear
from

those of you who are on your second or third or fourth post-doc, or
who

have left the field as a result of the employment situation, or who
have

experienced severe personal difficulties (e.g., break-up of a
marriage,

etc.). I realize that some of these might be painful to discuss, but
I'd

like to show that we are not a bunch of impersonal statistics, but
that

we're human beings trying to make an honest living and perhaps make a

contribution or two to society while we're at it. Speaking of
statistics,

though, if you received any information about the numbers of applicants
to

some of the positions you applied to -- which was often a 3-digit

number in my case -- I'd like to hear that, too.


   Please e-mail your stories to me at [log in to unmask], with a subject
line of

"horror stories" or something like that. Please let me know if you
would

prefer to remain anonymous when I share these stories with the press
and

the government. Also, please pass this message on to any of your
friends

and colleagues who might be interested in sharing their stories with

me, and keep in mind that I would like to receive stories from as many
scientific disciplines as possible. (Because of the amount of e-mail
traffic

I'm receiving these days, along with everything else that's going on,
I

probably won't be able to acknowledge each message individually.)


   Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you. Perhaps, with
the

opportunity we have before us right now, we have the chance to make a

difference.


Sincerely,


Alan Hale

--------------------------------------


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Tom Kwak      ([log in to unmask])

Arkansas Cooperative Research Unit

Dept of Biological Sciences

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR  72701

501/575-4426

http://comp.uark.edu/~tkwak

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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