Monday, November 12, 2007

Hope for the future?

Maybe it's my idealistic streak coming out again, but last night I watched the 60 minutes report on what they call the Millenials, where they were talking about the New Generation.

You know, the kids.

Keep in mind, lately it seems like 60 minutes gets it name from the average age of their viewing audience, not from the length of the show.

So when they say kids, they mean the ones in their 20s now. The ones who hate sucky jobs and say so, because they actually want to have a life, not just a career.

Those crazy kids!

It was a very interesting report, and kind of related to what FSP blogged about ambition recently.

The part that gets my hopes up is where they talk about all the baby boomers who will be retiring and how there will be more jobs than people to fill them.

Can you imagine?? It sounds like utopia.

But that is 5-10 years down the line, and most academic scientists don't retire at 64 if they can help it, so it's probably longer before it would help someone like me get the kind of job I want.

Come on, old guys. RETIRE. You know you want to.

I have also been reading several articles on the new generation and new ways of teaching these kids who are real technophiles, the ones who grew up with Google and text messaging. The ones who aren't content to be spoon-fed information and actually want to direct their own education (that was me, wayyyy ahead of my time).

You know, the ones who would actually rather do real research than sit in a lecture and memorize, and then sit in an exam and spit back out "facts" that will turn out to be false by the time they graduate.

The good news is, we finally have the technology to be able to help students direct their own learning, instead of making them wait until grad school or postdoc or god forbid, until they have their own labs.

So it's pretty inspiring. And in theory this trend should only help me get a job, right??

Unfortunately I don't think most search committees are factoring these sorts of things into their searches.

I definitely don't know how to effectively highlight my techie bent in my applications. All I can think of is to try to work it into my teaching statement somehow (?).

Anyway if there's one thing I've always had faith in, it's nerdy kids. I especially liked the report I saw the other day about tv shows like Chuck and how geek is the new cool.

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6 Comments:

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but the types of people who want tenure are the ones who want to stay where they are once they are tenured. which leads me to believe a lot of them will continue to work past the 'retirement age.' tough beans huh.

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous JR said...

On a national level, more jobs than people is not good. There just won't be enough talent to continue to drive the amount of growth that is necessary to remain competitive in a global economy. That said, if you are identified as having talent, you can do well for yourself, in indusrty at least. I am not sure how this would effect academic positions. Since academics relies heavily on public funding, that available source of funding could likely shrink as the tax paying population decreases, so as Dr. Baby-Boomer retires, departments may just decide not to fill the positon. As a result, the effect on the opportunity in academics with the boomers retiring may just be a wash. Even with a Democrat in the White House for the next 4-8 years, the days of the magical doubling NIH budgets like in the 1990's is long gone. There's just too many mouths to feed and most of them will have gray hair and be on Medicare.

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Fellow of Research said...

The part that gets my hopes up is where they talk about all the baby boomers who will be retiring and how there will be more jobs than people to fill them.

Can you imagine?? It sounds like utopia.


Funnily enough, I was talking about this very subject with a colleague yesterday. Not that I saw that report... I'm a post-doc at an Australian physics department, trying to work out where to apply for fellowships and grants so I can continue my high-stress, low-security lifestyle. Of course, if those old guys would just retire already, and more importantly, if their institutions actually hire new staff, then I'd be able to stop worrying and spend more time on researching science than researching faculty positions and fellowships.

Oh, and re. this:

I definitely don't know how to effectively highlight my techie bent in my applications. All I can think of is to try to work it into my teaching statement somehow (?).

I'm pretty sure the teaching statement is the only (and best) place for it. It's something you could probably really push in your teaching statement though. Perhaps you could do some student surveys to get documentary evidence on how much they love your techie teaching too?

 
At 3:55 PM, Blogger EcoGeoFemme said...

It'd be cool if we could fund science instead of war with our dwindling tax revenue, though, JR.

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger Schlupp said...

Don't want to crush your hopes, but the 'great retirement wave' has been 'five year ahead' for ten years now.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said...

I think all your techie stuff would be really well-received if presented in your teaching philosophy...of course, this is coming from someone whose only feedback on her own submitted teaching statements has been "thank you for your application...now please return to us this form indicating your gender and race, thanks." :)

 

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