Name: Jennifer Rohn
Source: Mind the Gap [original post from March 2013]
Although research is a popular and oversubscribed profession because of the excitement and freedom of doing creative work, it is widely acknowledged to have many drawbacks compared to other professions. But in a 2011 survey conducted by Science is Vital on more than 700 UK researchers across all levels of experience, casualization was cited as the very top concern – ahead of pay and other common complaints.
As an individual, I’d have to agree that short-termism and its affiliated career uncertainty is my biggest problem with the scientific profession too. As an exercise for the talk I was giving, I thought it might be useful to make a flow chart of my professional career in terms of contract length (with relative salary indicated by the yellow stars). Although I know I’ve had a long and tortuous progression, something immediately sprang out at me when I put it all together in one diagram: in the private sector, I’ve been offered a permanent position within a few months of joining a company – every time. In academia, I’ve never been offered one.