11 April 2010

Two Roads Diverge in a Wood, and I

On one side lies the Science Academia path. I can get another job as a data analyst and continue my endless string of research tech jobs. Or, if I want to actually advance, I can get a PhD in something. So far I've narrowed the "something" down to ecology, which is still kind of broad. Then, once I have a PhD, expectations rise steeply about what I do next: develop a research program and find ways to fund it. This would be exactly what I was avoiding for the past ten years.

On the other side lies Freelance Writing. Bright Hub has seemingly endless stuff for me to do, and it's certainly a place where I can help them grow. There are lots of other content sites I can write for as well. For that matter there's "real" freelance writing where I query to write stuff for a lot more money than content sites pay. The pay is very low at the start, but then there are my friends with the seafood market who have offered to let me move into their house for free room and board - so I'll stop having any living expenses to speak of. And just as I was waffling about where I should go, eHow folded up its ad-revenue-share program, and suddenly I'm a part of Demand Studios. Suddenly I can actually make decent money at this.

To go one way, I'd really need to find the right kind of passion for my work. Good scientists don't just go to work, they live and breathe what they study. I don't have that.

To go the other way, I'll basically lose all my credentials to go back to science later. My degrees are already stale, and my leet skillz will go too. I won't be able to go back.

Two roads diverging. I can't keep going up the middle or I'll just hit a tree. I don't know that the one I'm choosing is the less travelled, but it certainly seems to be the path of least resistance.


vince said...

I can't say which of the roads will be the best for you, but I will say you should choose the road that feels the most right for you. There's little sense (in my opinion) doing something that you really don't like, or makes you unhappy. At least not for the long term.

Of course, sometimes figuring out what it is that is both realistic and will make you happiest isn't easy.

For what it's worth, I think you do a good job with your articles. I think, should you choose to go more in that direction, you would do well.

Janiece said...

I'm going to weigh in with Vince on this one. Follow your bliss, within the realms of possibility and reality.

MWT said...

Heh, what I most want is to go back to doing what I was doing before - 40 hours a week crunching data, rest of the time writing. But so far the lengthy string of rejections is not helping with that...

mattw said...

I'm with Vince and Janiece. Do what makes you happy. Why spend a lot of time doing something that doesn't make you happy. I know that doesn't really help, and maybe that's not the best solution for you right now, but that's the best I can offer.

John the Scientist said...

You've done your duty to Science, and you're right, you've got to immerse yourself in one thing and one thing only to go anywhere. I don't see a multitasker like you doing that.

In this economy, you may get your path decided for you.