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Category → the interwebs

Web roundup: Nontraditional careers—they’re not just for chemists anymore

There are many reasons for a person to seek out a career that’s seen as nontraditional within their particular field of study. With the current state of the job market within chemistry, a lack of employment prospects has been one reason focused upon here. Another motivator may simply be choice, based on a change in personal values, a need to escape a career that has become stressful, or a desire to convert a lifelong avocation into a career…among other considerations.

For example, many chemists have left the bench after becoming disenchanted with laboratory work, and then seek something else, often because of a perceived lack of opportunities for career progression in a lab-based position.

And then there are those who are forced to seek a career change because their position, which may have been considered traditional, no longer exists, nor does any real prospect of future opportunities in their field.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across blog posts about people in other disciplines seeking alternatives to their “traditional” career options. This should come as no surprise—the circumstances described above for seeking a career change are by no means experienced by chemists alone.

A couple of random examples include a profile within the field of sports psychology and speculation on career possibilities for boxer Manny Pacquiao (okay, that latter example is pretty specific).

One career, in particular, seemed to stand out by its prevalence—Lawyers seeking nontraditional or alternative careers. Nontraditional careers are a recurring topic on the law blog Above the Law. Some recent examples include yoga instructorcomedian, and screenwriter. Another law blog, Legal Nomads, has a series entitled Thrillable Hours with examples such as fashion entrepreneurmarketing director, and wildlife journalist. The profiles describe reasons for career changes that are eerily similar to ones that have been described here.

An example:

It is simple really: I was just never cut out for a life of 9-5 traipsing into work every day and doing something I really didn’t care about. Unfortunately for me, legal work was something I really didn’t care about.

Not too different than a research chemist losing interest in research.

One reason why the notion of lawyers in nontraditional careers caught my attention is because, as you may remember, the law—specifically patent law—was highlighted as a nontraditional chemistry career option in a profile here a couple of years ago. The possibility seems somewhat unlikely, but I’m anxious to see if it comes full circle—are there examples of a lawyer (or someone from another career covered here) seeking out chemistry as their nontraditional career of choice? I’ll keep looking.