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Alternative Careers in Science: Leaving the Ivory Tower Paperback – March 10, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


"The health care revolution is having profound effects on the nation's academic medical centers, creating threats and opportunities for researchers. While secure positions in academia may be harder to come by, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are flourishing. As one who has traveled the halls of academe and industry, I can attest to the viability of such transitions as well as the quality of opportunity in both sectors. This book will provide an excellent tool for scientists and scientists-in-training to better understand industry and the nature of research outside the Ivory Tower."
--RALPH SNYDERMAN, M.D., James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dean, School of Medicine, and CEO, Duke University Medical Center & Health System

"Alternative Careers in Science is a first-class guide for graduate students and postdoctorates who are considering careers outside the lab. The authors provide vivid, first-hand accounts of the situations leading to their 'alternative' careers. They also describe the day-to-day activities in their new jobs, discussing both the rewards and the difficulties in several different employment settings. Perhaps more than anything else, this book demonstrates that scientists can find challenges and fulfillment outside the lab. I wish that someone had published this kind of guide 15 years ago when I was considering my own transition to a non-research career."
--WALTER SCHAFFER, Ph.D., NIH Research Training Officer responsible for the extramural research training and career development programs

"This book is a must-read for anyone pursuing a degree in science. The detailed and honest case studies provide precisely the kind of career guidance that scientists-in-training desperately need, but cannot find at most colleges and universities."
--KEVIN AYELSWORTH, Ph.D., Founder of the Young Scientists' Network and Co-author of Rethinking Science as a Career

"...this book features the stories of 23 people who have moved from the traditional career path of research science to a host of different careers. Some are just starting out, others have had successful careers for years. Their advice is candid, often witty, and absolutely dead on. And to top it off, the book has a great index at the back."
--Peter Fiske in SCIENCE'S NEXT WAVE

"Alternative Careers is essential reading, not only for young scientists but also for their mentors and advisors responsible for influencing career options. It provides sound and down-to-earth advice to young professionals at the right time--in graduate school. I certainly would have benefited from such advice when I was a graduate student."
--JALEH DAIE, Ph.D., Professor at UW-Madison and President of AWIS

"What makes this book so refreshing is that it presents the ACTUAL VOICES of real scientists who have found fulfilling and challenging careers outside of research science. Each of their stories is different but the message is clear: scientists have a range of valuable skills that can find application practically anywhere! Every chapter in this book contains valuable career advice and pointers. Career change is difficult for anyone, but for scientists it can be particularly challenging and frustrating. This book is the first that provides real stories of success. If you are changing careers or only considering other options this book has valuable advice on every page."
--PETER S. FISKE, Ph.D., Author of To Boldly Go: A Practical Career Guide for Scientists

"Alternative Careers is an inspiring and entertaining addition to the careers literature. It fills a need for discussion of careers for those trained in science. I will gladly recommend that this book be added to the expanding information provided by our newly established career center. While this book could be helpful to anyone finishing an undergraduate or graduate academic program, the careers described are particularly appropriate for those trained in scientific methodology. The chapters are very personal, and describe not just 'how I got my job,' but 'what my job is now and what I like about it.' Hopefully, this book will inspire and encourage scientists to expand their concepts of successful careers."
--PATRICIA BRESNAHAN, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Co-founder, UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars Association

"Alternative Careers in Science: Leaving the Ivory Tower is a concise description of the many options available to those interested in science and wondering if there is a way to earn a living while satisfying their curiosity. The writing style is personal enough to be interesting to the public and concise enough to appeal to scientists. The job descriptions include prerequisites, daily activities, and future opportunities. It provides inspiration for anyone, from high school students to underemployed Ph.D.s, considering a scientific career. It should be in every career center and public library so that job seekers will be inspired to think farther than the industrial job listings they came for."
--KATHERINE L. MOORE, Ph.D., Bay Area Bioscience Center

"This book provides a glimpse of what it is like to have made it, to have successfully applied one's Ph.D. to a rewarding non-research career. It is at once an essential guidebook for those who would contemplate such a path and a chronicle of science-related jobs and their practitioners of general interest. From technical writing to regulatory affairs and from business development to patents, the broadest horizons of the scientific profession are explored. I would recommend it to anyone studying science or just interested in finding what it is that scientists can do."
--ROBERT H. RICH, Ph.D., Program Associate, AAAS Research Competitiveness Program and Staff Liaison, AAAS Task Force on Careers for Young Scientists

"...this timely book could be of value for frustrated graduate students and postdoctoral fellows or for those who have decided that laboratory research is not fulfilling... disillusioned bench scientists may find it comforting to read how some of their peers parlayed their science background in unique and profitable ways."

"...packed with good advice and essential information presented in an organized and highly readable format that will benefit even those of us well past our in-training stage. If you've been dreaming of another career, now's the time to start turning that dream into reality-and this book can help."

From the Back Cover

InAlternative Careers in Science: Leaving the Ivory Toweryou will meet scientists who evolved into Wall Street analysts, science policy gurus, patent agents, journalists, consultants, biopharmaceutical company executives, entrepreneurs, executive search specialists, public relations experts, and top-flight sales reps. You'll never think that science is a one-way street again!
Each chapter covers a different career track and includes:
* Basic job description, qualifications, responsibilities, and expectations
* Typical day scenario
* Why a graduate degree in science gives you an edge
* Outlines skills important to career track - creative, critical, computer, interpersonal
* Training phases and requirements
* Existing steps in the promotion ladder and salary ranges
* Career opportunities stemming from each position

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 1st edition (March 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0125893752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0125893756
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. Delillo on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a recent Biology Ph.D. graduate, I am fortunate to have found this book about 1 year before graduation. I have always enjoyed biology, but my heart was just not in research, poring over the same project and data, day in and day out, 50 hours a week. Biology Ph.D.'s are, unfortunately, trained with tunnel vision in terms of career development. You are lead down a research path, and graduation represents a fork in the road: You can choose a life of academia following your mandatory postdocs, or you can immediately enter industry, following your mandatory postdocs.
For those who don't know, a postdoc is a type of internship following your graduation. You are the personal Igor for the head of the lab (usually a professor at a university or medical school). Hours are typically 6 days a week, 60 hours minimum, and earns about $35,000. You work on at lest 2-3 projects for the lab, and are expected to assist in training the new graduate students as well. In addition, you are expected to find your own grant money.
After the extreme stress of graduate work had been completed, call me crazy, but I decided an increase in stress was not what I wanted. Don't get me wrong; for those who love research, this is heaven, but not for me.
A year prior to graduation, I found this book. In my multiple years of study, no one had ever mentioned a sentence about any of the career options mentioned here, ALL of which were accessible to a Ph.D. student. About two dozen career options are mentioned here, from clinical research, to broadcast journalism, to sales...lots. Every career is discussed in detail from a personal account of someone who actually works in the field. Everything is discussed, from salary, hours, a typical day, to extra training and advancement opportunities.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
A large number of students (and postdocs?) within the sciences are not overly happy with research as a career, but say wistfully; "What else could I do?"
Well, there are TWENTY THREE 'alternative' careers in here, written by people who have made the transition. Each job is described in terms of information about how to make the transition, what a typical day is like, and honest assessments of positives and negatives of each career. There's also recommendations for how to position yourself for the transition.
You may not find your 'dream job' in here, but even then you will learn about the wide possibilites which are available to you. You may decide not to switch careers, in which case you'll have learned enough to be more sure in your decision.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book offers ideas and support for the professional tired of their present career, no matter how successful. It was a real boost in my "ego-arm" to read this book. Sometimes it is lonely when making big changes and it helps to talk to someone who has been there.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
IF you find yourself in your seventh year of your PhD work, and you are not sure you want to work at the bench, buy this book! There is a world outside the lab.
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