I hate to make my first post a little whiny, but right now that’s all I’ve got. No cheese, only whine. I am working on a graduate degree in biology, as well as working in a research lab. My field is predominantly male and I am female. Being female has never been a problem for me, in fact it’s only been extremely empowering. When I started my graduate work, I was excited to have my first job that truly mattered; that could genuinely make a difference in the world. Two semesters later, I’m feeling jaded and frustrated. Frustrated that my mind is wasted on secretarial work for the men in the lab and frustrated that even the other women in the field treat women just as harshly. I also feel guilty. Guilty because I am strongly considering a change from research to medicine. I feel like I coped out and let women everywhere down. It’s hard for me to let go of my perfect picture of working in an amazing lab, discovering the cure for cancer, and being best friends with all of my coworkers. In reality, all of my coworkers are males and colossal, arrogant egomaniacs and we work on things that really won’t make a huge impact on anyone. I want to be this amazing woman in STEM that helps pave the way for future women, but I just am not strong enough to withstand all of the bullshit that comes with that. I kind of had a miniature “a ha!” moment a few weeks ago. A cousin was talking about a friend that went to school to be a physician’s assistant and she loves the work she does. So in typical Type A fashion, I make a pro con list.
Pro: regular working hours, amazing women dominate the field, pay is nice, short (ish) degree, making an immediate difference in peoples’ lives
Cons: more school (hard ugh!) and more debt (what’s another $100k)
So currently I am feeling like the pros outweigh the cons, and the more I think about it the more I like the idea. I can’t live my life working at a job that does not appreciate me and my talents, so I need to make a change no matter the cost. I think perhaps I’ll end with my new mantra that I just thought of; steer towards change that you love. Not incredibly profound or new, but it speaks to me. I’ll try it out on the yoga mat soon and let you know how it feels. Until then!