Aids Researcher….rewarding, but family first

This is a story about two ex-careers.

I am currently in graduate school, in computer science, looking for a job while I continue in school.

As a student in the US, I really enjoyed teaching as a graduate assistant but I found a greater enjoyment in seeing my name in print in research journals. I spent thirteen years doing research.  It was fun but extremely demanding.

My last job was for 5 years as an AIDS researcher.

My boss was a great scientist, but made no room for any family life. He was in the lab, seven days a week, morning and late evenings. He expected us to put in at least 60 hours a week if not more and made us sign papers that stated expressly that we worked 40 hours a week.

I found the pursuit of fame had led me to him. I liked the work, enjoyed doing it but my freedom to choose which weekends to take off were lost. It frayed the nerves of my wife. It was tough to quit when I had not accomplished much.  I promised her that as soon as I had the project done into papers I would quit.

Thats what I finally did. I went back to graduate school, this time in computer science. I enjoy this area too. However this time I am going to be careful. No work is worth destroying your family over, if you had a choice. I had the choice and I think this is possible only in the United States of America, a great country. I taught chemistry in India for three years. I loved teaching so I decided to do it. It was reverse discrimination of not being a minority candidate in an institution underrepresented by minorities that caused me to loose my job.

I was out of a job for two weeks after two years of teaching. At that time I desperately did everything I could including apply for graduate school in the US. When my admission came a year later, I quit my job and headed for the US.