Science Jobs As Houses With Additions?
The house may look good, but with those additions, what’s it like inside? Is getting from bedroom to kitchen a tortured journey through twisting hallways, up random stairs, around imposing walls? Does the house’s design enhance its occupants’ quality of life?
Science jobs resemble houses with additions. They begin with simple structures. Then, as houses respond to new needs with additions, science jobs respond to “new responsibility creep” with new tasks. Like the evolved house, the evolved job may look good on the outside but be problematic inside. Its new tasks may dilute the scientist’s core interests, diverge from the scientist’s purpose and goals.
The ebb and flow of projects in science organizations makes it feasible for most scientists to redesign their job to better meet their needs. The payoff for redesign can be significant, like the difference between microwaving a packaged dinner and making a recipe from scratch. Cooking the meal takes a bit more effort but yields a more personalized, satisfying dining experience.