Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Image: Wookey Hole.

There are moments in a person’s life where they sit back and ask themselves; was [fill in the blank] worth it? Was it really worth it?

I ask myself this question often, especially when it comes to job hunting. There’s nothing like a bout of unemployment punctuated with brief bouts as a below-poverty-wages throw-away worker to make a person contemplate the meaning of one’s existence. So when an employment opportunity like this comes along for a job that actually pays a living wage, it makes me think that I should do something dramatic, like changing my name to Hermione and living in a cave in Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK.

Besides living in a cave, the job description also includes living with a cat or two, some goats and a dog; teaching witchcraft and magic; and causing a variety of social ills, including crop failures and disease, and turning the local milk rancid. I can certainly do all those things, with a special emphasis on rancid milk and diseases, since I have rather fine microbiology training and experience gained from working in several hospital emergency rooms.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    July 8, 2009

    They conveniently left out the bit about “must not be squeamish about being sacrificed to the Dark Overlord or being tortured then burned at the stake”.

    Is it worth it? Well, do you love it? If so, how do you come up with opportunities to do what you want? I wouldn’t want to be a troglodyte in a copper and uranium mine (or even a bauxite mine for that matter) even though I remain a poor starving scientist.

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    July 8, 2009

    My brother used to work in a gold mine. Now he’s a civil servant at the passport office.

  3. #3 "GrrlScientist"
    July 8, 2009

    i can afford the rent, given what i’d be paid, and if the residents of the community don’t pay me, i can curse them all. no, wait, i am expected to curse them all with failed crops, disease and spoilt milk. how much fun would that be? and considering that my landlord doesn’t believe in doing anything in exchange for collecting rent from his tenants — “anything” being little things like maintaining the building we live in — i’d think a cave might actually be an improvement in living conditions. at least it won’t collapse any time soon, unlike some apartments in NYC.

  4. #4 MadScientist
    July 8, 2009

    If it looks like fun then do it. :) (Well, in this case it would help to have an EU passport – otherwise getting work rights is a nuisance.)

    For a long time the physicist Frank Oppenheimer couldn’t get a job at universities because he was a victim of Joe McCarthy – so he took up cattle ranching. Many years later he was able to get back into teaching and eventually founded the San Francisco Exploratorium. I think the important thing is that you care about what you do; it’s usually easy to spot people who are only in a job for the money and don’t care to be competent at what they do. Folks with a good attitude will do whatever they want and be good at it.

    Caves aren’t bad as long as:
    1. there’s a door
    2. there’s ventillation (don’t want to be asphyxiated)
    3. they don’t leak when it rains
    4. they have plumbing and lighting
    5. they don’t have those monstrous cave bugs of New Zealand, the ‘weta’ (http://weta.boarsnest.net/gallery.htm)

    Well, I can’t find a site with photos of a large variety of weta; you have to see the beasts – the photos just don’t give you the right impression.

    Oh, and watch out for little girls with an ozark accent and a pet dog named “Toto”.

    Can you curse like “Carnac the Magnificent”?

  5. #5 Don Thieme
    July 9, 2009

    I suspect that you would probably miss the birds down there in the Wookey Hole. Perhaps there are swallows hanging around the entrance or something.

    On the other hand, we would all love to read some posts from you on bats and crickets. Speaking of cricket, the Jamaicans and Trini should be out playing in their wool outfits right now.

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