I suppose I could just answer it with 'Scientist' and consider myself already there, but that's not as accurate as I'd like.
Over the recent holidays, while at home visiting family and friends (and far away from my academic cocoon) I was asked numerous times: "So what are you going to be when you're done all this school?" While when I pose this question to myself, I am often satisfied to know that I probably won't know the answer until I get there. When faced by it from my loved ones I fined that it demands a response more hopeful than "I'm just going to stay in school forever."
How do I currently answer it? "I'd like to stay in academia, become a profession, ideally with a 50/50 split between teaching and research." I neglect to mention that, statistically speaking, less than 20% of PhD graduates will ever get an academic position; and female students in particular are most likely to leave academia for work in the private sector. But really, I do (at least for the time being) want to be a prof. one day.
So you can imagine that I was very interested to see "University Professor" listed as the single least stressful job of 2013.
Read about it from Forbes Magazine Here.
And needless to say, I wasn't the only one to think that assessment was dead wrong. As comments and emails poured, Forbes responded today with a "Top 10 Reasons Being a University Professor is Stressful" list.
Of particular interest on the list:
- Personal vendettas by that anonymous 3rd reviewer
- The constant fear of loosing your funding, and subsequently your lab
- Success rates for those grant applications are at an all time low
- Dealing with students, parents, and the administration for grading course work 'too low'
So what do you want to be when you grow up? For now, I'm going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where that takes me.