Alternative career biographies.
Saw a link to Uncertain Principles over at FSP in the comments recently (posted by Dr. Pion).
Check out several posts tagged PNAS: since many of them are about science-related careers that do not require a PhD, and they are in all different areas (geophysics, astronomy, enzymes, high-throughput drug screening, etc.).
Note that in almost every case, the inteviewees mention that sometime during graduate school, they realized they did not want to stay in academia.
As an aside, for those of us who did not make that decision deliberately or early on, I wonder if Chad will find anyone willing to say on the record that they ended up doing something different as a backup plan after wanting to stay in academia? Seems unlikely, but it must happen to postdocs quite frequently nowadays?
Maybe everyone just rationalizes it so they don't look at it that way?
I'm thinking of examples like my friend who wanted to be a professor, but ultimately took a job in industry to support his family, so his kids could continue going to the same schools and wouldn't have to move. He was forced to make a choice, because he knew he wouldn't have many options about location, and the salary of a PI wasn't going to be enough to support his two kids.
I'm thinking of search committees who complain that they "can't find anyone good".
I wonder if search committees have caught on to realizing how bad it is that we're losing really good people who can't rationalize becoming faculty for these kinds of life-quality reasons?