How About Some Good News?


With all the bad news we’ve been hearing lately, I thought it was time for some good news. I looked around for some, and here’s what I was able to find.  

For those looking for a second career, or a way to keep busy with a little income after retirement, teaching has always been a viable option.  In fact, many places are now looking for more math and science teachers.  While teaching is certainly not for everyone, for those with the interest and aptitude it can be a great way to give back and share your love of science with the next generation.  

Other areas are hiring as well.  In this time of increasing globalization, Foreign Service Officers and junior officers are in demand, to work for the United States Government and help build self-sufficient governments in other parts of the world, in many cases by serving as a technical resource or transferring basic scientific knowledge from one area to another.
 
This has also been a Good Week for Green Jobs – those positions involved in supporting the solar, wind, biomass, hydro, hydrogen and fuel cell industries, many of which require scientific expertise and backgrounds. In fact, the newly formed Presidential Middle Class Task Force initially focused on how the creation of “green jobs” can help fuel the economic recovery and bolster the middle class. As more federal attention is paid to these issues, the number of opportunities can only be expected to increase.

If neither of those appeal to you, there may be a surge in interest for
Careers in Science Writing, Editing, Broadcasting, and Public Relations. While good communication skills are required for almost every job, in some cases you can make a career out of those skills alone.  

And finally, if you don’t get all the self-satisfaction you need from your day job, how about finding a second job that lets you explore other passions? Office Hand by Day; Rock Diva by Night talks about several people who get additional satisfaction, and a little extra money, by indulging their passions. For example, if your passion is movies, how about combining that with your scientific expertise and look into the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences to provide “entertainment industry professionals with access to top scientists and engineers to help bring the reality of cutting-edge science to creative and engaging storylines”.

Having an interesting second job or hobby can also help when you get that Interview Question:  What do you do in your spare time? Giving some thought beforehand to what you have learned from your hobbies, or how they are related to the job for which you are applying, can help you stand out from the crowd of applicants who “watch TV”.

Finally, if you are young and looking to get experience in a new area, a something new on the horizon is Internships for Sale. While you will hopefully be able to gain experience without having to pay for it, it’s nice to know that there is a fallback option.

This article was written by scientific communication consultant Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants, and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists,” published by Oxford University Press (2006).

3 Responses to How About Some Good News?

  1. chemist says:

    ” In fact, many places are now looking for more math and science teachers”

    Erroneous propaganda. On the east coast of the US there are 100 applicants for each position. All of the people who I know (personally) who wish to become teachers are, at best being put into holding patterns as substitute teachers. NYC has a freeze on the hiring of candidates from outside their system.

  2. You are probably correct, there are many places that have plenty of teachers. However, some states are looking for more teachers – especially some in the south and the middle of the country. If you’re willing to move, it could be something to look into.

  3. chemist says:

    OK, here’s what I propose:

    School in south or southwest gets a PhD chemist who can already teach chemistry under the following conditions:

    Teaching commitments for 3 days a week, including grading, admin and meetings.
    Research for two days/week, including modest but modern wet chemistry lab and access to modern analytical equipment.
    NO “no child left behind” nonsense
    NO tolerance for creationism, etc. in the classroom.
    NO two year teaching degree nonsense.
    Salary equivalent to 50 K/year, normalized from east coast to local market conditions.

    Do we have a deal?

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