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Post Archive
2017 (0)2012 (1)2011 (51)
August (1)

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
July (1)

Is it worth getting an education?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
June (2)

Miscellany
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It Gets Better
Thursday, June 2, 2011
May (4)

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My first experience with science writing (Part 1 of 2)
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is why we get vaccinated
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Monday Morning Jam
Monday, May 2, 2011
April (2)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, April 23, 2011

So long, farewell ...
Friday, April 1, 2011
March (10)

Stay Tuned ...
Thursday, March 31, 2011

From the Union of Concerned Scientists
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 23 - Hockey Pool
Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness
Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a bargain!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Technique Overload
Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Et tu FDA?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
February (10)

Saturday Morning Serenade - A Hip Edition
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits (on Thursday!)
Thursday, February 17, 2011

HR1
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day
Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 12, 2011

The GOP War on Science
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

People, how about some ...
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 5, 2011
January (21)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sacrifice
Friday, January 28, 2011

Are you married to your reagents?
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Common Sense Tip #1
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 22, 2011

From the Baby Boomers, a Big "Screw You"
Friday, January 21, 2011

Student Worker - More Student or More Worker?
Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 15, 2011

Holy moly!
Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday Pondering
Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Electronic Office
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Plug - January Edition
Friday, January 7, 2011

Bits 'N Pieces
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Latest Manuscript Review
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The $4 gallon of gas
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our slowly shrinking (and dying) planet
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's 2011 already? For reals?
Monday, January 3, 2011
2010 (46)
December (9)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, December 11, 2010

The State of Microbiology
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 blogging meme
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Environmental Impact of the Christmas Season
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Music Snobbery
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Phantom Power
Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's Your Name?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
November (8)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Awakening from the food coma ...
Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Donor's Choose Final Followup (Recipes #3 and #4)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Monday Mess
Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Peer-Review Edition)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 2 of the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting (#ACSMtg)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October (29)

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting - Day 1
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stayin' Alive
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol. 4)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Early Career Program
Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol. 3)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donor's Choose - Family Recipe Number 1
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Good on Donor's Choose Bribe - Comfort Food Recipe 1
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Wrap-Up and Random Thoughts (Vol. 2)
Friday, October 15, 2010

First I Begged, Now I Bribe
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding Out Things The Hard Way(TM)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol 2)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here's where I start begging ...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#UnK3rn3d: Life Outside the Lab?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First fleas, now frogs?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Fleas Please
Monday, October 11, 2010

My next Research Blogging article has been chosen ...
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Donor's Choose
Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Wrap-up and Random Thoughts
Friday, October 8, 2010

RB: Waste Not, Want Not.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Research Blogging
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What if I were not a microbiologist ...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TJ's Tips on Manuscript Review
Monday, October 4, 2010

Chinese plagiarism and the death of English-language journals
Friday, October 1, 2010

Allow Me a Formal Introduction
Friday, October 1, 2010
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Thomas Joseph

It's a Micro World after all is a blog dedicated to discussing pretty much whatever I feel like. When I delve into scientific matters it will primarily be discussing microbiology (agricultural, bioenergy, and environmental focus). Otherwise, I'll probably ramble on about sports and life.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The "What If?" blog theme for this month concerns what we feel our career path might have been had we not decided to do what we're doing now. I've mulled this question over in my head a number of times, not as often as I used to when I was still in graduate school*, so I have a pretty good idea of where I might have ended up.

Vulcanologist.

Seriously. It started back in my undergraduate days. Back then at my university we had what was known as "general electives". The university was broken into eight disciplines, and in addition to your pre-reqs, you needed to take a total of nine classes from the discipline which did not contain your major. For me, my major (Medical Technology) was in the Life Sciences, so I needed to take classes from the Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages and Cross Cultural Studies, etc. The class had to be three credits, and had to be on the "general education" list, and departments often taught courses which would stir student interest. The Geology Department at my university had a class entitled "Geology of National Parks" and it seemed like an interesting enough class. So I enrolled. And yes, there is a textbook for this class. It's pretty good, and I still have it to this day.

 

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

The class covered, as you would guess, a lot of the geology of both US and Canadian National Parks. We learned about glaciers and their effect on the landscape (to this day I still want to travel to Banff National Park), we learned about the geological forces behind Yellowstone, we covered Death Valley, Crater Lake, Bryce Canyon ... we covered it all. And while I found all of that deeply interesting, I waited for us to cover Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. That was THE reason I signed up for the class. I wanted to know everything about volcanoes, I wanted to know what they looked like, how they formed, how they persisted, how people studied them. I was enthralled with tales about Vesuvius, I had heard stories about Krakatoa, I saw dozens of stories on Mount Saint Helens. I loved volcanoes. (ed note: I still love volcanoes). And the class did not disappoint. I learned more about volcanoes in that class than I'll ever need to know, and I loved every minute of it. As a matter of fact, I wound up getting the highest grade on both semester exams in that class, scoring higher than even the senior geology students (which caused the professor to lecture them when handing back exam #2 ... after he found out I was a Med Tech and not a sophomore entering the Geology Department).

So why didn't I go into geology? Probably because I didn't want to take any more math and physics. For some reason I thought Organic Chemistry was going to be an easier time of things (it wasn't) and I was looking forward to my Microbiology classes in the upcoming semester. I had started on the Med Tech track the day I stepped foot onto campus, and I didn't want to back out after two full semesters of coursework. I doubt I would have lost much time in the scheme of things and I don't regret my decisions ... most days.

Though there is a part of me that wonders what it might of been like had I gone into geology and studied to become a vulcanologist. Would I be living in Hawai'i today, working maybe for the USGS monitoring Kílauea? Or maybe working for the US National Parks Service at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park? Or maybe I'd be somewhere else in the world, monitoring another volcano somewhere, doing research trying to predict the next eruption, finding ways to increase the warning time for the local residents. Is it too late to consider a career change?

Could this have been me?

Could this have been me?

*Oftentimes when experiments had gone belly up, I debated whether it was worth seeing it all through or starting from scratch and going down an alternate career path.

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Blog Comments

Thomas Joseph
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Folks, can you see the two pictures in this entry?


Odyssey
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Yep. Two pictures. But that one of GR and the donkey might get you in trouble. I think that kind of thing is banned in pretty much all 50 states.

Cindy Jones

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Careers do take long winding paths (mine certainly has) and your's still has time to wind alot! Perhaps you can study thermophiles in volcanoes!


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Um ... so when I read that the first time I immediately thought it had something to do with Star Trek. Oops!


Thomas Joseph
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Cindy Jones said:

Careers do take long winding paths (mine certainly has) and your's still has time to wind alot! Perhaps you can study thermophiles in volcanoes!

 

Awesome idea! At the very least, it's a great reason to get on over to Yellowstone National Park* on the company dime! ;) Welcome to LabSpaces Cindy, and thanks for commenting!

*Yellowstone sits on top of a "supervolcano" which is the source of all of Yellowstones hot springs and geysers.


Evie
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Yes, the pix are awesome and that is a fascinating field!! And no, I think it is never too late to change, add, or take deeper interest in something. :)


Thomas Joseph
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I have a whole lot of time and effort invested in my career now, so while it's probably not too late to change, I'd need to have some pretty impressive incentive to change at this point! I'll probably go the "deeper interest" route. I really do need to plan a trip to Hawai'i at some point! Banff too!


yannisguerra
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Things like this makes me wonder if we are making our youth to decide their career orientation too early. How many awesome (insert job description) we have lost because they thought they would be better at (insert another job description).

 


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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Great post!


Thomas Joseph
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Thanks Jane. :)

yannisguerra, thats quite possible. I know that when I went to college, if I wanted to get out in 4 years with my B.S., I pretty much needed to start on my pre-reqs the first day of school ... which means I really needed to know what area I wanted to focus on before I even got to college. To ask that of a 16-17 year old is quite a demand. Of course, teenagers need to mature at some point ... or one might argue. ;) IIRC England puts children on career tracks even earlier than the United States does ... though someone who is better "in the know" might want clarify/correct that statement.


Thomas Joseph
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Thanks for that bit of history Alisha. Very interesting!

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