One thing I’ve come to understand about the makeup of the science blogosphere over the last couple of years is this:
Non-academic bloggers are less common than academics because there are greater restrictions on what can and cannot be discussed candidly. There are agreements, there are regulations, and so on, that make it very difficult to describe the day-in and day-out of certain sectors of science. It’s not necessarily nefarious reasoning, but there are interests of all kinds to protect.
However, this does result in science blogging being heavily dominated by voices from the academy with much lesser representation from the substantial non-minority of career tracks that are ironically (in my opinion) labeled “non-traditional”. I am not sure there is any one remedy for this.
I am one such adventurer. Blazer of my own career trail. Or whatever you wanna call it. I have no intentions to return to academia, unless some extraordinary events either turn me back or change my mind. While I don’t imagine these things happening, I can’t rule them out entirely. At present, I am also considering making a transition from a research scientist type position* to a functionally different role in the scientific sphere. This is an even bigger leap, if you ask me- at least in a similar position type, one presumably knows what the fuck one is doing to start with.
While there are few things I can specify, I can state that there are many similar areas of strength and weakness in the sectors I have experienced to date. It is my opinion that the challenges are different depending on where you go- but they do result in roughly the same amount of uncertainty, time expenditure, effort expenditure, etc. And many of the culture-of-science fundamentals seem to remain the same, though the overarching culture and structure/organization of the workplace may be starkly different from that of academia.
Many of the population characteristics of scientists in a given workplace are similar across sectors. And challenges faced by the non-majority (ie, non-white and/or non-male and/or young, etc) are common in every place I’ve seen to date.
For all of you who wish to escape academia… I hear ya. But understand there are upsides and downsides to every place, and no career is going to be free of hurdles. The day it all becomes an easy ride is the day you start doin’ it wrong.
I’m hoping I can expand on some of these thoughts in response to any discussion that may arise, but please understand there is much I cannot expand upon.
*I am overly generalizing here for a reason.