Can you have success as a failure?

 (The Royal Society publication, The Scientific Century: securing our future prosperity) Click image for original.

Why go to graduate school? To win a Nobel Prize one day? You like the work (me)? Someone has offered you a position (Paid to learn – great!)? There are many reasons to start – and complete – a PhD. Current academic training creates many candidates for limited career positions. Much has been written about this and we’ll be discussing different aspects at #scio13BioInfoToolswrote a background piece for this session with some great links.

But training many talented people for a few coveted spots is not unique to science; it’s common in classical musicians, athletes, and more. Is a classically trained pop star a failure? Is a hockey player who pays the bills playing in the minors a failure? It depends if you base your definition of success on the training criteria or on other measures. I don’t think scientists who aren’t tenured academics are failing, but it is often a hurdle for trainees to accept new measures of success.

To read more about my experience in classical music and academic science, please go to the original post.

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