Why I get out of bed…
I received an interesting email from a chap at a top scientific publishing house, who is writing an article about chemistry and chemists in general. The gist of the email was that he’d like to know what we love about chemistry, and what we hate about it: “could [you] ask [your] readers to e-mail me if they’d like to comment on what they love or hate about working as a chemist”. Rather than publish emails on a blog, and end out flooding him with spam (I get over 200 spam comments on this blog every day!), how about just posting your opinions as comments on this post?
I’ll start the ball rolling:
Every day is different. I might be using similar techniques, but every compound has it’s own character and behaviour, so I never have a repetative lifestyle. I have enough say in the project direction that it’s “my” project, too.
I get to use a great mixture of working within rules and using my imagination to try and bend those rules, or find new ones to fit that synthesis. Also, my project is full of little goals everyday, so I can get a great feeling of progress every week. And the science in general has an interesting split between lab work and theoretical work.
I’ve got a great research group to work in, where my collegues and supervisor and immensely helpful, supportive, and up for a couple of drinks after work. We work hard, but the results are worth it.
I’m doing stuff every day that no one else has done before. Each novel compound I make is “mine”.
Lack of job security; too many people I know have been made redundant over the last few years, along with thousands of their collegues, and they’re left scrabbling for the same jobs.
The media portraiting us as being “evil pharma scientists”.
Being marginalised as a science by the latest fad in research, where labs get mothballed, groups crushed together, funding slashed and departments closed.