Friday, August 31, 2007

What a Tangled Web We Weave

It's kind of funny that I should read this article today: Spider Web Engulfs Texas Park Trail.

Yesterday, I started thinking about my current career trajectory [straight into the toilet*]. My contract ends in March [the Best Month of the Year]. More than likely it will be renewed, or the company which wins the new contract will transition our staff.

The thing is I don't want to be renewed or transitioned. I am tired of my job. It is not leading me down a path I like ... or want. As one of my co-workers said the other day, "What kind of career is this? I mean, you have doctors and lawyers and public health workers, but what are we?"

I have been casually looking for other jobs. However, most of the jobs in which I'm interested or feel qualified offer salary ranges $10-12K less than what I'm making now. I can't afford that kind of pay cut. [Note to parents: Talk your socially responsible kids out of a "career" in environmental policy/activism unless they want a life of poverty and group house living].

Anyway, I started thinking about going back to school. When I was younger, I thought about getting my Ph.D. in Entomology, specializing in systematics ... of hemipterans. I *heart* assassin bugs. I got sidetracked (obviously).

Now, I'm thinking of something along the lines of the spread of insect disease vectors and climate change. As traditionally cold climes become warmer, tropical diseases (and the bugs that spread them) will become more prevalent in those areas. Are Northern cities ready and equipped to handle a malarial outbreak?

[One of] The decision[s] I need to make is would I be more interested in studying the actual spread (and thus enter an Entomology or Ecology program) or would I want to study the public health and preparedness issues (which I guess would mean a Public Health Policy program)?

And after that ... how do I research these programs? Who do I talk to? How do I afford it? Do I have the knowledge base to enter an (almost) entirely new field and be successful? What should I be doing to prepare? GAH. All of this uncertainty and confusion makes me want to shut down.

This is something I'll be researching over the weekend. Fun times.

*No, this isn't a Senator Craig joke. OK. Maybe it is. But I didn't intend it.


  1. It's never too late to go back to school.

    As for affording it, I would say that most Ph.D. students receive some type of funding. Indeed, I usually tell people interested in grad school not to attend unless they have a stipened and tution waiver.

    Still, while enough to live off of, it will be a very tiny stipend, though. Your standard of living would decrease dramatically.

  2. Dr. VUBOQ, should I blame climate change for a rat in my living room? Can you lend me Isabella?

  3. I think you should make every effort to go back to school. I know this is super cliche... but

    "where there is a will...."

    Have a great weekend buddy!

  4. Entomology choices are easy because there are so damn few dedicated ento programs in this country--just ask my sibling who graduated from UCD recently with a BS in entomology. They have a good-sized grad program too with a lot of people working on ag pests and vectors.