Jobs for Astronomers

Bye bye research. So now what?

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One year ago, I posted the above status on the Facebook Astronomers page. My decision to quit research in astrophysics didn't come out of the blue. I had been working as a post-doc for one year. At the beginning of that post-doc I was enthusiastic, happy to be able to work on my own projects, to be considered an expert in something, to have the opportunity to produce some results. But 6 months into it, I felt too much pressure by the "publish or perish" mentality. All my friends were happily publishing paper after paper, while I was just discovering a serious error in the first paper I was about to submit. My boss noticed the decline in my performance, and eventually gave me an ultimatum: "You are smart", he said, "smarter than many people who have successful careers in astrophysics. But you're not putting in the hours. This is not enough. You can make it in science, but you have to really think whether you really want to or not. If you do, you still have time to turn things...

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