Nature Jobs International Salary Survey
Jun25

Nature Jobs International Salary Survey

Nature jobs has published their first ever International Salary Survey, tracking things like salary level, job satisfaction, happiness, and gender bias for over 10,500 scientists over 16 countries, including those working in non-traditional jobs, although the article did not elaborate on that point. The goal of this survey was "to track contentment with one's job by region or by job attributes such as health care, the degree of independence or mentoring potential," says Gene Russo in the analysis, something hard to come by previously. The results are pretty interesting. In short, if you want to be a happy scientist, live in Denmark. Avoid Japan. Also, expect to take a pay cut for having ovaries in every country they charted. Surprisingly enough, the gender salary difference was the lowest in India. But overall salaries are also the lowest in India, which may explain the smaller difference. (Although it IS possible that they really are less sexist in India. Right? A girl can dream.) In other news, I got turned down for another science writing internship yesterday. I've honestly lost count, so I don't know if it's my 11th or 12th rejection. What did I say before about persistence and not giving up? I think I need to go read that...

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Fortune, fame, and writing gigs
Jun02

Fortune, fame, and writing gigs

Pick two! Then throw those both out and pick writing gigs, since that's what you'll get as a science writer, my particular flavor of alternative chemistry career. But how did I choose that? As usual. By wandering. It's often difficult, later, to exactly pin down when your life began to go astray. Not so in my case. December 2005.  Screwing around on the internet instead of working, I came upon this article in NatureJobs about science writing. I had always planned on being a research chemist, but this really resonated with me. Trumpets blared. The ceiling opened, and a blinding ray of light shoneth downeth upon me-ith. A deep voice intoned, "And she shall be a science writer, for now and forever after!" That was about it, really. One of the links at the end of that article was for the AAAS Mass Media fellowship, which I thought sounded like it was made for me. So I applied! Aaaand I didn't get it. More googling when I should have been working told me that there was a science writing class at my university, so I emailed the prof and asked what I should do. She said get clips. So I did by writing columns for the campus paper. Then I applied for the AAAS fellowship again in 2008 and this time I got it. I was very excited. See how screwing around on the internet is so useful? Do it lots! My internship was at the Orange County Register in southern California, which was fun and hard and frustrating and exciting. When I came back to school, I took that science writing class from the prof who gave me advice. Turns out she was the very nice and accomplished S. Holly Stocking, whom I later helped write a book about science writing. Then I also started freelancing, first at an alumi magazine, then some book reviews, then the local NPR station, then news at more mainstream places. I applied for a bunch more writing internships this summer (aka Leigh's season of no) and got turned down for all of them. But I did talk to a few of the editors to see how I could do better and am gearing up for another round of applications for the fall. Plus I get to write this blog, which is good. A success story? No. A work in progress. And as you may have noticed, science writing isn't something that you just fall into. You have to really want to do it. You have to prepared to be rejected, take a lot of criticism (sometimes editing, sometimes not), be very persistent,...

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