Azote

Quitting/transcending R&D career?

24 posts in this topic

I thought I would become a "noble" scientist. Seek for the truth and develop cool useful things as well. But now I'm so disappointed. 

Ok, yeah, I made a new material, so what?I have no say in what it will be used for. Have I just contributed to saving the humanity or destroying it? There is no dignity in such work. And also little real value, judging by tiny paychecks scientists get here in my country.

Now I'm just tapping into research work as an intern (3rd-year undergrad), but I'm already paralyzed and have zero productivity. And scared shitless to even think about what to do with my current most probable perspectives of doing all this shallow technical shit forever, being this little brick in the wall.

If this world comes to an end, it will most likely be caused by stage orange scientific minded goal oriented people. But what do we do about it?

 

Assuming that I'm not just a lazy dumb whinie with no work ethics. I suppose I could find my motivation to go through this work up to a PhD, as a stage, but I cannot quite see the next step.

How could a scientist, namely, polymer physicist, possibly positively influence the world? Like, significantly? 

Quitting science altogether and becoming a sage now sounds more like one of those pipe dream stories from "So good they can't ignore you", though.

I need some advice, guys. Please share your fresh view from the outside) Some sources, maybe, on effective altruism? 

 

 

 


Truth killed the cat

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Posted (edited)

I can't really give advice, but I can give my perspective as a former aspiring researcher.

My undergrad major was biology, primarily because I was fascinated with life's deeper questions and thought I could pierce them with science. Classes were miserable, and research was worse. One of my research jobs was in a stem cell lab, where I had to go into lab on the weekends in order to feed the cell cultures. My experiments felt like they were going nowhere, and in fact, the entire lab seemed that way. Weekly meetings consisted of presenting our speculative, may-be-true-but-needs-more-testing data, which made me realize that scientists are just as clueless as the people who dogmatically cling to them for the truth. Then I found out that in order to get funding for my own research project, I had to do four extra years of schooling, spend thousands of dollars, dance with bureaucracy, and choose a study that has pragmatic implications for society. 

That's when my productivity plummeted, and all science-related work felt Sisyphean. I didn't want to deal with that shit. I realized that I was more interested in the idea of being a world-famous researcher than I was in actually doing the work. So I quit and decided to graduate early to cut my losses. Then I followed my genuine motivations. And whattya know, turns out that life's deeper questions can be explored through other means.

I also realized recently that most of my misery comes from having too high expectations of myself. The idea that I have to "impact the world" in some significant way has precisely prevented me from doing so, because I've become too perfectionistic for my future plans and haven't been able to open up to the little synchronistic opportunities that cross my path every day.

Okay, an attempt at advice. Put your hand on your heart, and ask it if it loves the work. The answer won't come in words; you'll just know.

Edited by jjer94

"Getting there...that's not the hard part. It's letting go."
--Elijah, Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

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Mostly wanna follow this thread. I'm in a pretty much similar place, except I've put a few more years into it. 

I'm thinking that polymers are rather practical. 

Would you be happy doing the work if it was in the private sector, and you knew that your company is doing the research for a good reason? Like, you know, polymers which are much more ecological, or polymers for space exploration, or (at least) polymers for stockings that don't break all the time ;)

You'd still hyperspecialize, obviously. 

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@jjer94 So true, all that you mentioned!

May I ask what do you do now?  Do you get enough meaningfulness and other INFJ stuff? %)

@Elisabeth Following your thread too)

On 04.04.2018 at 1:16 AM, Elisabeth said:

Would you be happy doing the work if it was in the private sector, and you knew that your company is doing the research for a good reason?

Nope. I'd rather be the visionary in charge of such company (well, eventually).  I feel the duty to rise to the highest levels of consciousness I can and inspire others to do so too.  But is it productive to perform this mission being part of the pragmatic, academic "orange" system? 

On the one hand:

  • It will be incredibly hard to go against it or even function within this system
  •  participating in technological advances seems to be less important than that in cultural progress.
  • As a highly sensitive person, I can burn out very easily under such stress. Or get corrupted. Hell, Leo left the academia, and I guess I am much weaker mentally. 

On the other hand:

  • I do love science
  • I already put a good chunk of my life to this path
  • I fear that all this confusion might be just my inability to commit speaking, not the understanding of world's problems.

Thank you for your response ^_^

 

I get it that this is my personal creative task to make this desirable job, and I should do LP course asap to sort out my values (for example, it is rather important for me to get personal feedback from my clients, to be sure that I'm actually helping real people). Just hoped (and still do) people here might share their vision on this issue.


Truth killed the cat

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1 hour ago, Azote said:

Nope. I'd rather be the visionary in charge of such company (well, eventually).  I feel the duty to rise to the highest levels of consciousness I can and inspire others to do so too.  But is it productive to perform this mission being part of the pragmatic, academic "orange" system? 

It's nice that you do have this drive. I don't really have it, not consistently. Ask yourself this: What does it take? Are you willing to engage in the process, or do you only want the result?

On the one hand:

  • It will be incredibly hard to go against it or even function within this system

Well, if you find it hard already, then likely, it will.

  •  participating in technological advances seems to be less important than that in cultural progress.

Feel you on that one.

  • As a highly sensitive person, I can burn out very easily under such stress. Or get corrupted. Hell, Leo left the academia, and I guess I am much weaker mentally. 

And feel you on high sensitivity. However, I don't understand the rest of the statement. For me, it's a sign of strength, that Leo was able to leave accademia, and his job, and start an independent business. I guess this is a limiting belief. (Yours is "I can't function in accademia", while mine is "I can't function outside of accademia")

On the other hand:

  • I do love science
  • I already put a good chunk of my life to this path
  • I fear that all this confusion might be just my inability to commit speaking, not the understanding of world's problems.

And again, I totally feel you on all of these. However, number two is called "sunk cost fallacy" and is definitelly a limiting belief. How long have you put into science, three years? Well, I've put in eight, and only now finding out it's perhaps not as much a forte of mine as I thought it would be. And I'm past that belief already - those years, they were not lost, they were necessary for me. I needed to experience what I did in accademia. I am happy to know as much theory of science as I do, because only now I see how it succeeds, and how it fails. If (I'm not sure yet) I do go elsewhere, I won't be thinking like 'oh, but I wanted to be a scientist, what if that was the better path'.

However this "what if I'm simply unable to commit" fear is still my own.

Thank you for your response ^_^

Thank you too. It's a mirror.

 

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Posted (edited)

On ‎3‎.‎4‎.‎2018 at 10:16 PM, Azote said:

Now I'm just tapping into research work as an intern (3rd-year undergrad), but I'm already paralyzed and have zero productivity. And scared shitless to even think about what to do with my current most probable perspectives of doing all this shallow technical shit forever, being this little brick in the wall.

Also, one possible answer to this could be "become excellent". Than you'll eventually be the leading person in the field, not a lab technician.

Is that what you want to do, or not?

Edited by Elisabeth

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11 hours ago, Azote said:

May I ask what do you do now?  Do you get enough meaningfulness and other INFJ stuff? %)

Odd jobs, volunteer work, odds and ends. And yes. 9_9 


"Getting there...that's not the hard part. It's letting go."
--Elijah, Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

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Posted (edited)

What I discovered in my life is that I have to give up those imposed inauthentic "I have to become X" and start looking for joy and inspiration in life, follow what my gut tells me. This shit is hella scary and may leave you with nothing for several years before you find your direction.

You can't rely on anyone's opinion about this, this is a really bad idea. Noone can tell you what feels right for you.

I recommend to watch those videos.

 

Edited by Privet

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@Elisabeth @Privet

@jjer94

Wow, guys) Thank you a lot! Now I've got specific things and questions to study and process concerning this issue. 

I guess I will be able to post some further coherent response in a week or two.

Totally worth it to post this topic ❤️

 


Truth killed the cat

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@Azote Hello Azote. I am a Physics undergrad and I too aspired to be a great scientist. With time though, this desire has been fading. One of the chief reasons I liked science and physics in particular, was because it helped me feel connected to the reality, to see the mundane and obvious phenomenon in novel ways. But since I started doing consciousness work (3 years ago), I realized that there are better and more intimate ways to experience reality to its fullest and understand it profoundly. This made me more and more inclined towards my meditation practices and research on consciousness rather than my physics studies. Because what I was trying to achieve from physics indirectly was achieved directly through consciousness work.  

My story is actually quite fucked up because I am more or less stuck in life. I don't really know whether to go with this science thing and become an academic or find a way to earn a living refining my understanding of my experience. Perhaps I need to find a balance between the two. I don't really know. I actually know what I want out of my life. My real problem is how to earn a living out of it. 

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46 minutes ago, Rajat Bhatia said:

 what I was trying to achieve from physics indirectly was achieved directly through consciousness work

 

I'm seeing a pattern ;)

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8 hours ago, Elisabeth said:

I'm seeing a pattern ;)

Are you experiencing that too? 

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8 hours ago, Rajat Bhatia said:

Are you experiencing that too? 

Kind of. I wouldn't say I've done deep consciousness work, but I've done work on my emotions, and I've come to realize that not only physics is just a model, but it describes just a tiny fraction of reality. An important one, sure. But the subjective inner world became much more interesting to me (hope this time no one comes in to beat me for still believing in "objective reality" :$). So when I was seeking to understand the universe through physics, when I was seeking meaning and stability in it, that was... incomplete at best. I still love the beauty of the physical theories though. 

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What I learnt about life purpose work is, every single thing you could do is related to consciousness. Even being a soldier is partaking in the creation of consciousness. 

It doesn't matter that your career isn't being a spiritual teacher, or a 'higher consciousness job', as long as you enjoy it its what you should aim for.

If you enjoy shooting birds for a living, go and do that. Don't worry about the 'higher consciousness' or 'seeking for truth' dogma on here. 

Fulfil your desire for the universe with yoga, fulfill your personal desires with your LP, whether that's cleaning garbage, or being a yogic teacher, it doesn't matter. 

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@electroBeam

The problem ofcourse is that consciousness work is often time consuming and requires serious practice which then sort of interferes with your "personal desires" and other plans which you might have had previously. And If we try to prioritise between our personal desires and raising our consciousness, we fail miserably. The former being authentic, the latter being "the right thing".  This is why most people are then compelled to either find their authenticity in doing "the right thing" or  ignoring the enlightenment business altogether and stay commited to honing their personal skills however low conscious they might be (which is quite difficult after watching Leo's content for a long time). 

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@Azote  @jjer94  @Elisabeth @Rajat Bhatia

This is incredible to read. I resonate so much with what you all say. 

I'm a 4th and final year nuclear material science at uni... I have an offer for a PhD for next yeah but... I'm so disillusioned. I'm so frustrated with the system - there is no soul where I work. I want to be free and work on my consciousness. I thought I was going to cause a revolution with the "Hydrogen Economy"... academia has sucked the life out of me. 

For me personally, I'm probably going to decline my PhD offer. I want freedom from the rat race so I can work on consciousness and be in my community. I've been thinking about starting eCommerce over the summer as my next step. 

This advice is golden: 

On 03/04/2018 at 11:03 PM, jjer94 said:

Okay, an attempt at advice. Put your hand on your heart, and ask it if it loves the work. The answer won't come in words; you'll just know.

Thank you for opening this thread! I'd like to give/hear updates with you all.

Love and Kindness. Ollie.  

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On 4/14/2018 at 7:37 AM, Privet said:

What I discovered in my life is that I have to give up those imposed inauthentic "I have to become X" and start looking for joy and inspiration in life, follow what my gut tells me. This shit is hella scary and may leave you with nothing for several years before you find your direction.

This. So much this.

I know this was just my interpretation, but the way Leo presents the concept of "Life Purpose" makes it seem as though there is some ultimate destiny we have to fulfill, some huge impact we have to make on the world. For me, life purpose had this extreme sense of duty - I HAD to uncover this supposed life purpose, else my life would amount to nothing. I had to choose that ONE THING - and stick to it for ten thousand hours so I could become world-class at it and everyone could love me and I could meet the Dalai Llama and get twenty million Youtube views and be featured on Oprah. Then I'd be fulfilled.

Just another ego game. Wanting to control outcomes, wanting to be someone. Truth is, all of life amounts to nothing, and any supposed "impact" never lasts. As Jed McKenna says, the universe can be ours only when we become no one in particular.

Like you described, I discovered that life purpose is really a process that unfolds organically as you remove that which is inauthentic to you - old beliefs, traumas, attachments, etc. This takes awhile. But when you continually remove the inauthentic self, what emerges is the joyful authentic self - and that authentic self will naturally be inspired to do something, anything, no matter the fact that the sun will explode one day. The authentic self is so happy that it wants to express its happiness in some form. Like @electroBeam said, it doesn't have to be "spiritual guru." Your life purpose could be trash collecting, bird watching, or board game collecting. (And for folks with ADHD like me, it definitely won't be "one thing" xD.)

Impact comes as a side effect of being your authentic self... and authenticity cannot be forced, only uncovered.


"Getting there...that's not the hard part. It's letting go."
--Elijah, Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

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Alright, so I did some work and awkward things surfaced.

6b4.jpg

Well, first of all, there are actually 2 problems: life purpose and my immediate inability to work.

My actions on the latter:

  • meditation and yoga - to reduce neurosis. Actually, I start to see that I am now less neurotic than I used to be a year ago.
  • quitting my current lab - because now I assume that if a worker has the productivity of a retard when they are a student of a prestige university, it is the consequence of poor managing. I'm done beating myself up and feeling miserable and stupid here.

And now to the LP.

Most of mindfucks are coming from @Privet 's post here)

$ 100.000.000 Question:

If I had one hundred million dollars. And also if I dropped all these "moral obligations" that I have (something along the lines: "we must save Russian economy and science" or "we must build good future"). If I didn't care if I possess the talent required or not. 

Then I guess my typical day would be like this:

  • spiritual practices
  • reading books and drooling on non-equilibrium thermodynamics, synergetics etc. (4-5 hrs)
  • lunch, discussing new ideas with friends
  • painting (tada!) (3-4 hrs)
  • a bit of martial arts practice.  (maybe 1-2 hrs, not every day)

Now, this requires some explanation :) I didn't mention it earlier because I was so engulfed in dealing with scientific career issue, but here is how my LP work looked like up until today:

  1. (age 15) I defined a bunch of my interests: physics, chemistry, maths, languages, painting, crafts, playing music, singing, dancing, body mastery, self-defence skills.
  2. I gave up crafts altogether, as well as academic music in order to narrow the shit down.
  3. Fucking genius insight #1 - I merged most of the remaining stuff into the single domain of capoeira. And I also merged scientific interests into material science. So basically I had only 3 fields to choose from. Neat, isn't it?
  4. Just like it is described in  Dealing with confusion video,  during my final year at school I had fucking genius insight #2  - "become a scientific illustrator, then! And well, since you still have your right for a hobby, that would be the place for martial arts ".
  5. Since my art sucked, and also because it is so fucking scary to pursue artist's career, or a double-major job like this type of illustrator, I picked up Institute of Physics and Technology, and I believe I said to myself "This is the safer option, I'll get scientific background there, I guess I will try to become a scientist, and if I won't be successful by 30 y.o, I'll quit and learn to draw and then try to become an artist". Note that I didn't remember this until a few days ago.
  6. Then, around second and third years at university, I kinda gave up and tried to focus just on science. I guess this is when my speculations about making the impact with science started to pop up. I needed a "high" reason for the things I was doing to somehow maintain my motivation. But I'm still miserable as a student, so it didn't work.
  7. Now, fresh insight from this week. Most likely, I wouldn't have gone to a high school specialized in physics and maths, and I may be would have taken a gap year after graduation to prepare for art school if only I didn't have to... live with my parents then.   O.o You see, boarding schools and prestige unies 5000km from home are so great. And I don't despise science, right? So, well, this is like a perverted version of 5-to-9 job: I study, and for that, I get shelter and food. 

That's how fucked up all of this is.

This is the first time when I discover a tale that I have been telling myself and actually believed it.  This is really awkward.

So, my overall hypothesis is "Noble researcher" is a pretty story I came up within the last two years, because it was that painful to admit that I was mostly after escape from my town right from the start, and also because I am too afraid to find out that my "perfect day" from above is totally unrealistic (Welp, you cannot be an artist if you only have the capacity for making art for 4 hours a day tops, can you?). 

 

On 04.04.2018 at 1:03 AM, jjer94 said:

Put your hand on your heart, and ask it if it loves the work. The answer won't come in words; you'll just know.

 

On 05.04.2018 at 6:31 PM, Elisabeth said:

Is that what you want to do, or not?

Well, I guess, nope? But here I also have my ass covered by Self-Determination theory (Might worth to take a look @Rajat Bhatia @Elisabeth @electroBeam ) and interacting with the workers of academic science. Not just intuition %)

 SD theory, which is built upon Maslow's work, claims that motivation and performance are facilitated by fulfilling  3 basic needs: competence, relatedness, autonomy.

  I'm now gettng just the autonomy. and only because my tutor doesn't give a shit. On levels higher than lab assistant, scientists are under government, and there is no chance for autonomy here. More so, I won't get the need for competence fulfilled because of the situation in academia - you will fall behind if you don't focus on publications quantity instead of quality and conducting good research.  Relatedness and connection with other people also seem far-fetched, absolutely not on a daily basis as I need it.

 

So that's it. It's not for me, but I'm too pussy.  -_-

Or maybe there will be other 180-degree-change mindfucks coming in following weeks? Or all that reasoning was just some stupid delusional shit)

Anyway, I am going to finish my bachelors. And maybe master's. You know, to get disappointed in science to the fullest, and also cheap dorm)

Edited by Azote

Truth killed the cat

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1 hour ago, Azote said:

Welp, you cannot be an artist if you only have the capacity for making art for 4 hours a day tops, can you?

 

Um... I don't know, ask an artist? 3-4 hours a day actually put into creative work + another few hours a day put into learning theory, and the marketing and connecting activities needed to actually make a living out of it ... maybe it's enough? 

Anyway, congratulations on doing the work. Seems really breakthrough, although you're not yet there to jump ship.  

I confirm that relatedness, and the quantity focus, are problems in academia. I'll be likely leaving because of the same factors. With the autonomy, well, no one says you have to actually stay in Russia. Not that you get independent easily elsewhere, 'cause financing, but you are not under some constant supervision ... if you can convince someone to fund you (which, unfortunately, is an exercise in manipulation), you do your research without governments examining you too closely. 

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Listen

If you feel as if you truly believe in what you're saying, as if you actually feel that it's shallow and not just because you heard it in some video, then I'd say SWITCH.

RIGHT NOW!

RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

It's time. You HAD to go through that to realize it. Nothing happens just "because". Things happen for you to learn alright? It's a natural process. But also realize what you learned during that time that you can use effectively. What is the underlying knowledge that you picked up on the way that you can now use for a higher consciousness pursuit? Maybe most of it was a waste of time sure. But that does NOT mean it was a waste alright? Everything has a natural process. And reality is infinite. Sometimes it fucks with our minds so much that it doesn't make any logical sense (but really, what is logical?)

Forget it all okay ? Forget it. You will die soon. You will. You will never exist again. Are you gonna whine about it? OR are you gonna wake the fuck up? Now is your time. There are only TWO things you have to do now:

1. Gain the wisdom you learned. (What you learned from doing it and the recent insight

2. Change. Now you have the power to go a different path. What will it be? What do I know? Only you can know. But you have to act on it NOW. Because NOW your mind is open.

 

Good luck. I believe in you

Edited by QandC

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