Hello lovely Hiveans !
Today I like to talk a little bit about the situation and perspectives here in Germany for scientists that like to focus on real research, which are actually quite depressive depending on what you are aiming for in the future career. I am actually a freshly made doctor in chemist and this topic interests me a lot as I would actually love to stay in pure research -- I recorded two monochrome pictures of the scenery at my former university that I like to add to this blog as they complement my point here really nicely. I get pass there very often late in the night, while the place is totally deserted, as I prefer silent night walks, no matter how long the may be, over a boring ride with the bus or train -- This scenery always leaves me caught in my thoughts on this topic in general and also motivated be to this post here - I hope you find this story a little bit interesting and are able to enjoy it in a way ^^
Let me get some Frustration out first 😉
Lets get starting with getting a little bit of frustration out ^^ .. Since six months I am constantly looking for a job now. Also Germany is known to be one of the best areas to find a nice job and position as a Chemist and for researchers in general, there are actually three big points that are really annoying if you want to start and maybe end you career in this country 😤
1 ) Only temporary job periods -- All jobs here for pure researchers (this excludes industry) are only for temporary job periods. So only for one year, in rare cases two .. and this really really sucks .. If you are single, that may be not much of a problem, but if you are married and have children the situation is a completely different one 👪 .. For my family f.e. it means an incredible amount of unnecessary stress when we have to move every single year. This includes finding a new job, a new accommodation, a new kindergarten or school place, and much more every time anew. The whole movement itself is super expensive too each time and depletes all savings in the end, but is probably the most devastating thing when it comes to the mental health of children ... If you decide to go through this stress for 10 years you are maybe lucky to get a fixed and local position as a professor somewhere. But if not, which is far far more probable, you are already to old for further research, and also far too old and not even suiting for any other positions beside research, such as industry. Its kind of a dead end and leaves you the only left job possibility ... as the probably best educated taxi driver around 🤣 ... I actually already gave up the though of staying in research in Germany, which I personally find really sad 😭
2 ) Rules on equality for women -- Instead the job as a researcher, I was applying for all valid positions in all the ministries in Germany that were offered for chemists and also applied to all companies and industries in my state that suited my skills .... But I am not a big fan of industry as it feels like I would prostitute my knowledge for pharma industry, to make them rich and richer while I betray humankind, ethics and all my principles at the same time .... Nevertheless, I hit the number of 100 job applications already, as I need a job, and found out that half of them were rejected by one reason -- The Equal Opportunities Officer choose a woman instead -- I personally have nothing about equal right for woman, but it is sooo annoying to read this on every second rejection. Germany wants to have a fixed percentage of female employees in their rows, which is a minimum of 50% .. So if you apply on a job as a male chemist and there is an application by a female chemist too with similar job experience, you are out 😩 .... There are far better ways for quality, such as anonymous application f.e, but OK, that's Germany, hooray .... If your job experience is zero, which is expected after finishing university, this means that you have to hope that only male chemist apply. In 50% of my applications it was obviously not the case. The best would be if all of the other applicants freshly finished university and did not work so far. I actually worked during my PhD as a scientific employer for 5 years too, with main task in organizing and supervising student education, but everything during a PhD is considered no job experience in Germany .. hooray for this too ! .. whats wrong with this country ?
3 ) The stinginess of the German employer -- Even applying on position that are not meant for PhD Chemists but meant as vocational job is not working. As your employer here has to stick to the wage agreements of the proficiency, you are simply to expensive for them. This was my problem whenever I applied for positions in universities where I wanted to be a simple lab manager for student education, such as laboratory practical courses. This is what I worked on for 5 years already and loved to do .. I would have gotten these jobs without my doctor title, even more willing due to my 5 years job experience in this field. But as I told before, this years does not count as job experience if during promotion but this extra 2 letters before my name prevent me from working in university education completely .. This sucks too, as I would love to do this 😢 .. lets stay at stinginess when it comes to scientists in Germany .. By the way, while medical PhD students always get payed on a 100% position and engineering student even get 2 times payed a 100% position in most cases during their PhD, which is simply awesome, common scientist have to be lucky to get just a 50% payed position, if even available. I was one of the lucky ones as I got a job as a scientific employer in education, while most of my colleges were not. They had to find other solutions ... So far it was enough to pay for accommodation and my family, but when it come to the amount of unemployment benefit in the end, this 50% restriction for scientists sucks a lot, as even with additional state-sponsored child benefit and housing allowance, we are living with 80 Euros per week currently. This is not much for feeding a little family and there are also clothes that have to be bought and other things too. Luckily I had some reserves and some crypto to cover this up to now. But its depleted now and I really hope that I find a job soon, as otherwise I need to sell my car or power down my Hive, which I really want to avoid 😕
By the way, I am not alone with this circumstances. All other scientists that I know, that finished this year, face the exact same problem, which is a shame and a big certificate of poverty when it comes how scientists are seen by our government. While medicinal, engineering and informatics students most often get really good job offers already while studying in non-temporary positions, real scientist get a kick in the ass 😉
Let get to the pictures now 😁
This first picture shows the forum of my former university. I have seen this place for up to 14 years now on a nearly daily basis. During my studies I loved to pass there as this place raised hope, expectations and more in me. But every time that I pass there during my walks back home at night nowadays, I experience a totally different mood. I start to think about the future of my family and my further way as a chemist ... I already figured out how badly Germany treats his scientists in general and how frustrating and difficult it is to just to stay in this country if one trying to stay a pure researcher ... This scenery in monochrome colors perfectly reflects this mood that I feel in a visual way. Before I started my studies I loved to work as a full researcher, maybe even for the rest of my live, gaining knowledge, transmitting it to others, discussing with other nerds and more. But now this Hort of knowledge and research lost all its beauty and color to me and leaves me disillusioned ... I am even questioning if it was such a good idea to finish a PhD in this field, as every attempt to find a job in student education is cut of too with this title. I am just 500 Euros more expensive than a person with just a vocational training profession, and it doesn't matter the knowledge that I gained or nor accounted years of experience that I worked in this field before parallel to my studies ... So that's why I love this record of this forum in monochrome color so much. It just perfectly reflects all the disillusion that I fell right now.
The second picture shows the exit area of the campus. Its interesting that I see it as the exit now, as in former as I always considered it the entry area. Seeing it during night in monochrome is so suiting for me too. It looks deserted and even the advertising pillar only shows some leftover pieces of paper that were once glued there. They kind of symbolize my drained expectation in the world as a chemist. They were once there, but now that are worn out, only fragments are left. I am still very happy and proud of what I did in my time at the university and all the adventures I could experience, but it feels like I lived through them in an old chapter of my life which now experiences a clear cut off from idealism into the reality of capitalism. But while the capitalistic world outside may be as cold and dark as the night, there are still some light bubbles left where idealism, the joy of science and the possibility to earn enough to feed my family one day are left over. I just need to be lucky enough to walk pass one of the lanterns and not to get lost in the darkness of the night.
So what now ?
I actually though a lot about what I should do now and what I should aim for in the future. I already gave up on a career as a researcher in Germany, as moving every year with only a tiny probability to ever end up in a acceptable position as a professor but a high probability to become a taxi driver is not worth to risk the happiness of my family at all 😭 ... And after 100 unsuccessful job applications here in Germany in industry, where I got thrown out in 50% of the cases by the equal opportunity manager who instead gave the job to a woman, or in the other cases as I had either no job experience or were to highly qualified with a doctor title, I came to a new plan: ... On one hand I will look again on some job offers throughout Germany, but only these that I really really love to do, which are 5 in total. I don't expect any to be accepted though ... On the other hand I will apply outside of Germany from now on. There are the Netherlands and Scandinavia close by. Even a huge travel to Canada with becoming Canadian resident would be acceptable for me 😁 These countries offer jobs as chemist too and they have several advantages over the ones you get here.
1 ) They offer jobs without a temporary job periods -- This is simply awesome ! It would be actually possible to find a job to which you apply once and can work there for more than a year. This is a dream as it also includes positions a pure researchers too. This lets me hope again for my dream-job. Saying this again lets me think about how damn shitty the situation is over here. I could move somewhere, do what I love and are allowed to stays there ! .. I love the idea 😍
2 ) They care for work experience -- These countries actually consider the 5 years that I worked in organizing and supervising students in the field of laboratory education as actual work experience. Its a shame that they do not in Germany, but abroad this is a huge booster when I apply somewhere. Organizing and supervising laboratory courses for several years is nothing that someone should cut out of your qualification, but see on as a big skill !
3 ) They don't care about over-qualification -- These countries even consider to accept you into a job that is not even offered to doctors, but also for lower educated people. Even if I would get payed less, which is no problem for me if the job is awesome, they don't dare if you have a title in addition. Most would even consider it a huge bonus to your application. I actually love this idea, and my spectra of possible jobs is widening to a huge extend too. Even working in educational laboratories at university would be on the plan again 😁
So my next job applications for the next six months will all go out abroad mainly . It may be that I am going to emigrate from Germany, but at this point of my life, freshly out of university with a son that still goes to Kindergarten and a wife that loves to live in Scandinavia or Canada too, this is no big deal for me -- GOODBYE GERMANY 👋 -- Thanks for the good education and the good times during studying, but I don't like to take your scientist mocking or like how you treat them 😉 .. lets see what is going to happen on the next months ^^
All pictures were taken by myself, ©@adalger, with a Samsung Mobile Phone.
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