We can always go stale on a career, even one for which we’ve attended years of specialized post-secondary education. If you are a skilled scientist who has lately lost the spark for applied, hard science, there’s no need for you to feel that you’ve been sentenced to a life in the laboratory. There are a number of interesting applications for your brand of expertise just waiting to be explored. You also shouldn’t view this break as a permanent one from your chosen career. It’s just a change of scene, and you can always come back to it.
Get Away From That Journal
Nearly all individuals engaged in direct research and development are expected to publish their findings in peer-reviewed academic journals. Even when a scientist isn’t directly involved with academia, he or she must submit to critique and examination the fruits of practice and theory. Many scientists acquire some level of skill in expository writing as a result, even if they didn’t begin their professional careers with much to recommend their literary acumen. Write a book—it can be about anything you want, because it’s your project, not a public good.
Get Into The Private Market
Many corporations employ scientists not for research and development, but for the purposes of consultation. Check out private biorepository companies that run cold chain management and have a need for an expertise in your field. Use your expertise in your field and your experience in the job force to your advantage and secure a position as a member of an advisory board or panel.
Join a Think Tank
Often, career ennui can be sourced to a lack of new experiences and information. Exposure to the same mind sets and thought processes can be a big reason you’ve grown tired of working in a field that once excited you. National and international think tanks and brain trusts collect talented people from many different fields and bring them together to collaborate on solving some of society’s largest issues. You may find your passion for science refreshed by encountering minds that think very differently from yours.
Become a Consultant for Movies
You know that feeling of sitting in a darkened theater, excited about the movie you’ve paid to see. Then, suddenly, it strikes without warning—bad science, flawed logic, poor reasoning. You look around, but no one else seems to notice. Bad science screen writing happens because the writers don’t know that they’re wrong. Studios will often hire science consultants for this reason.
Nothing could be more different from working in a lab. Your degrees qualify you to teach, with the addition of a few helpful courses. You are likely equipped to teach at any level of the school system, including University level.
Work for a National Science Museum
Whether it’s as a developer of museum education literature, helping to design new projects and exhibits, or as a public spokesperson for the sciences, you can educate the public and rediscover your enthusiasm for science by interacting with others who engage it on a different level.
There are many more applications for your specialized field of expertise. The only thing you need to do now is choose another path to explore. An education in the hard sciences has equipped with you excellent tools for evaluating the relative merit of various projects or professions; it also gifts you with a unique perspective on the world that you can share in many new ways.