A word of warning: My Apologies, this is a seriously long post. It was a long nightmare
I finished my PhD in Structural Chemistry (2003), with a coveted Lectureship in hand. I even skipped the post-doctoral phase and I actually had a job deadline – to finish writing my thesis in order to start work.
The truth is, I had started my PhD with the full intention of being an Academic (you know, one of those boffins in the Ivory Tower), by the end of it, I was pretty sure that I no longer wanted to be an Academic.
Having said that, I loved Crystallography, the science that brought us knowledge of the double helix DNA structure, of numerous bio-chemical molecules, in our body, and has formed the basis and groundwork for many of the medicines and applications in our daily lives. Crystallography-related Nobel prizes continue to be awarded, the most recent in 2009, not bad for a Science that started more than a century ago with the discovery of X-rays.
And so, when I was offered a job, doing Crystallography, at a time when there were probably 80 applicants for every Academic job going, I took it. I enjoyed doing what I loved, I enjoyed the lecturing, the contact time with the students, the sharing of knowledge. I loved what I did, I truly did, the only problem was, I abhorred the environment (both built and social) I did it in.
It was extremely lop-sided gender wise, I raised the women count by 100%, (not counting the really brave / really mad? man turned woman, who stayed on – Academia is complicated!) when I joined. I was the only non-Caucasian and the youngest by at least 5 years to all my colleagues, the average colleague was a 45-year old male Caucasian, BUT these were non-issues when I started.
The issues really started I suppose mid-2005. Read more »