Spotlight on Careers – Request for Feedback on Interview Questions

by Laura Trouille on December 19, 2012

In 2013-14, we plan to provide a series of ~50 weekly blog posts highlighting the full range of career routes that astronomers pursue after their degree. Thanks to those who already provided recommendations for people we should contact. If you have additional recommendations, please email me at l-trouille [at] with the person’s name and email address.

We are now in the process of compiling questions to ask our interviewees. Click here for our working list of questions. We would greatly appreciate your feedback on these questions and additional questions you recommend we include.

Finally, if you’re interested in connecting with the larger network of astronomers who have gone on to pursue the full range of careers available to us, I highly recommend checking out the following 3 sites (thank you to Ioanna Arka, Sharon Xuesong Wang, and Megan Comins for starting these!):


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 joequant January 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

Two questions:

1) Would you like to stay involved in astronomy, and if so how have you do it and what are the barriers that keep you from doing so?

2) What would information would you like to find out from people looking for jobs? And what *don’t* you know?

The reason for these questions is that I’d like to find out how people are doing with 1). I’ve gotten a job, but I’d really like to stay involved in the astronomy community however possible, and I think people would have more options if getting an industrial job wasn’t seen as something of a death sentence.

The reason that I’m interested in 2) is that one of the experiences that I had was that people that I thought had the answers often didn’t, and now I’m older, I worry that I’m “living in a bubble” and the information that I have will turn out to be irrelevant or downright misleading. One thing that’s important about career discussions is that they need to be dialogues. It’s been a decade and a half since I got my Ph.D., and the world that new Ph.D.’s are going into is just different. I need to learn as much about what is going on with new graduates. Having gotten terrible advice in the past, I try not to give advice. I just try to tell stories, and I’m interested in listening to stories that other people have.

And there is stuff that I just don’t know. If you want me to tell you want the job prospects are in my industry (banking and finance) in two years and what skills will be in demand, my honest answer is that I haven’t got a clue. I *might* be able to tell you whats available in the next six months, but even that’s iffy.

I just can’t give you a cookbook. What I can do is to give you bits of information, and maybe you can piece together some deep truth with other information that you get. Which is what physicists do.


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