Ten Things I Love About My Academic Job

Wrapping up a great first day of the “Let’s Have An Awesome Time Doing Science!” conference/unconference, Ron Vale, Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology at UCSF, endeavored to impart some optimism and positivity to some proceedings that would no doubt also explore some of the challenges and downsides of doing science.

He began by telling us that he has friends in more lucrative jobs that are anxious to retire.  They’re always talking about how they hope to be able to retire five or ten years early – not because they have something in particular they long to do – they just don’t enjoy their careers and want them to end so they can do something else.

Ron said that someday he will retire from his position as a university professor – but he doesn’t look forward to it.  Like his family, his job is integral to his life and who he is.

His presentation was entitled, “Why I Love My Job,” and was structured around a Letterman-style Top 10 List (though in no particular order).  He spoke for several minutes on each point, and the list itself doesn’t really do the presentation justice, but he successfully conveyed how much he loves his job.

Ten Things I Love About My Academic Job
by Ron Vale

1.  Freedom to choose your own directions (like Ira Mellman said earlier, “I am serially interested”)
2.  Reinventing oneself throughout one’s career – flexibility
3.  Participating in a great era of discovery
4.  Being part of an international community joined by common interests
5.  Pleasant travels
6.  A social and “youthful” job
7.  Many measures of “success”
8.  Flexible daily schedule (“I don’t have to report to the office when the stock market opens”  “I own one suit and a bunch of t-shirts”)
9.  Doing some good
10.  Scholarship

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