I have been listening to old podcasts of “This Week in Virology” lately, notably TWIV n°100, with David Baltimore (Do I even need to present him ?) as a guest star. He was talking about all the seminal work he did in virology, and was asked to give an advice to young aspiring scientists. And he said the following: “Become a scientist only if you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else. It is hard, and only gets harder.”
To be honest, it creeps me out big time. I’m not going to lie. I can totally picture myself doing something else. Many things actually. So I asked my supervisor, former supervisors, other scientists, what they thought of this. To my great relief, they ALL said that they could imagine themselves somewhere else, and that they even seriously though about getting out of academia at some stages of their careers. Pfffiouuuu, right ?
So let’s just stop acting like academic science was just the only valid thing to do when you love science. And even following that path does not mean not imagining yourself going somewhere else sooner or later.