3

votes

Career Conundrum. To nutrition, or not?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 21, 2012 at 1:55 AM

I've recently graduated from UCLA (June 2011) with a B.S. in Biochemistry; I did very well, and am currently in a career conundrum. I've done scientific research for 4-5 years now as an undergraduate (yeah pretty much all of college), but can say although I am interested in nutritional biochemistry and science, I am disenchanted by laboratory work, and have found working in hospitals to be slightly depressing (I've had many diverse and varied volunteer experiences).

If I'm not too keen on going into the gym and fitness realm/hospital care/academic laboratory, am I destined to proceed into some sort of nutritional program/alternative medicine, and perhaps into consulting, or am I being narrowminded and missing some paths?

Is the love of reading about nutrition, introducing others to Paleo/ancestral health enough to justify any of this? (I naturally gravitate towards food and Paleo sections when in a bookstore.)

I guess that's two questions...

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on May 20, 2012
at 01:07 PM

What kind of teacher?

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 07:45 PM

I do like to write, but there's a bit of activation energy that goes on with that. Takes me awhile to start but then I just go go go. Money is somewhat important, but I am a minimalist, so I buy literally nothing except food. I actually have not thought about science journalism, and it sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for bringing this up!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on January 21, 2012
at 07:21 PM

Wishing you the best of luck! I am not in the science field and am having my own second thoughts about career so I totally get that feeling of being pulled in multiple directions.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:26 AM

Let's be realistic - many teachers are not cut out to be teachers, but you cannot tell it to your colleagues and you have to keep your mouth shut. Kids are hormonal, especially boys in grade 8. Puberty is hell for them and you have to be gentle yet a leader of the pack. It is like you have to prove it to them that you can be their alpha dog. School politics. I was blessed I did not have to put up with standardized testing, but I know a lot of people who resigned over the issue. Teaching is really rewarding... if you teach what you love. My favorite grade level to teach is grade 4.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:20 AM

Not everybody needs to realize himself through job. I know some people who say: "Hey, it is just a paycheck." That's what I was trying to do for a long time. And then I broke down and could not handle it anymore. I was teaching ESL, all grade levels, last four years at the Middle School level. Middle School is the worse - I do not know how people can survive there. What I hated the most? Block scheduling (whoever came up with this, has to be in jail), my colleagues (even though we had GREAT personal relationships, it is not easy to work with people whose values you do not share).

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:10 AM

There are just days I wish I could go back to eating pita bread with kraft peanut butter on it. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Not all the time, but sometimes you want to be able to go back.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:36 AM

This may be an option. I am not going to discount this. However, money-wise... I'm lucky in that I have no student debt (thanks to my parents helping me out/scholarships)...so I am very fortunate in that regard. My issue may take more time, as currently I'm somewhat opposed to going back to school (burnout? something else?) But I am wholly taking in what everyone is saying here. Thanks!

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:32 AM

"It seems like you are the kind of person who needs it." Isn't everyone, at some point, searching for this kind of fulfillment, to some degree? If it's not too personal, what was terrible about teaching for you? Was it the level, subject, or something about the work-life balance? I understand I have to love what I do. It's an odd thing to say, but it's actually easy, but at the same time, hard. I have thought about nutritionist and dietitian routes, but I need to believe in what I'm learning, and Paleo is not exactly mainstream. Plus, there's a ton of routes. (Weston Price Article)

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:28 AM

Similarly, my older sister is also applying for MD/PhD programs. However she finds research fairly exciting. I would like to contribute to the Paleo (we need to stop calling it that) movement, so a masters/higher education may be the way to go. I won't stop looking though.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:27 AM

I have thought of this. As of right now, I may be burned out from academia. I can't say this is high up on the list (going to grad school) but I can't completely boot it out the window.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:25 AM

Interesting take. I can fully enjoy my food as well, and I don't particularly like crunching macros. What do you mean by the right personality type? Is it perhaps the type that can switch on and off with this sort of material? (Like, even though I know X is bad, sometimes I can still have X, presuming no overt conditions)

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on January 21, 2012
at 04:54 AM

As someone who went through something similar, I would say keep your interests as hobbies, rather than work. There is such a thing as knowing too much about food. Unless you have the right personality type (I certainly don't) it can take over. I literally cannot relax and eat things without crunching the macros in my head.

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6 Answers

1
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Update: Thanks everyone for the thoughts and insights. I'm going through a somewhat difficult time, and everyone's support here on this question makes me feel a little less alone. Awesome. More answers are always welcome! I hope everyone else is also pursuing their dreams.

0
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:25 AM

Do you like to write? Is money unimportant to you? You might consider becoming a science journalist. THere are some good science journalism programs out there (UC Santa Cruz is the best) and some great internship possibilities. check out the national association of science writers (http://www.nasw.org/). God knows we need people with basic scientific backgrounds writing about scientific research in a responsible way. People who know that correlation is not equal to causation and who can talk about risk intelligently. Biochemistry seems like a good start!!

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 07:45 PM

I do like to write, but there's a bit of activation energy that goes on with that. Takes me awhile to start but then I just go go go. Money is somewhat important, but I am a minimalist, so I buy literally nothing except food. I actually have not thought about science journalism, and it sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for bringing this up!

0
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 21, 2012
at 06:05 AM

my mate is becoming a naturopathic doctor (ND). She starts in the fall at SCNM. Perhaps that is something of interest? For some people it is a way to do Paleo-friendly nutrition or medicine without some of the drawbacks of other alternatives you mentioned.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:36 AM

This may be an option. I am not going to discount this. However, money-wise... I'm lucky in that I have no student debt (thanks to my parents helping me out/scholarships)...so I am very fortunate in that regard. My issue may take more time, as currently I'm somewhat opposed to going back to school (burnout? something else?) But I am wholly taking in what everyone is saying here. Thanks!

0
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 21, 2012
at 05:13 AM

I believe you have to find a career that makes you happy. Something that makes you get up in the morning and say:"I cannot wait to go to work!" It seems like you are the kind of person who needs it.

I have been teaching for 18 years, and even though my students loved me and I enjoy teaching, I was not happy. I was miserable to the point that it became intolerable. I have ended my teaching career and right now I am in the middle of searching for a new path in life. I might come back to teaching but on a different level and teaching a different subject.

You have to love what you do. If you don't, sooner or later it is going to catch up with you. Have you thought of becoming a nutritionist/dietitian? Teaching High School science? What feels "right" to you?

Hope you find what makes you happy!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:26 AM

Let's be realistic - many teachers are not cut out to be teachers, but you cannot tell it to your colleagues and you have to keep your mouth shut. Kids are hormonal, especially boys in grade 8. Puberty is hell for them and you have to be gentle yet a leader of the pack. It is like you have to prove it to them that you can be their alpha dog. School politics. I was blessed I did not have to put up with standardized testing, but I know a lot of people who resigned over the issue. Teaching is really rewarding... if you teach what you love. My favorite grade level to teach is grade 4.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:32 AM

"It seems like you are the kind of person who needs it." Isn't everyone, at some point, searching for this kind of fulfillment, to some degree? If it's not too personal, what was terrible about teaching for you? Was it the level, subject, or something about the work-life balance? I understand I have to love what I do. It's an odd thing to say, but it's actually easy, but at the same time, hard. I have thought about nutritionist and dietitian routes, but I need to believe in what I'm learning, and Paleo is not exactly mainstream. Plus, there's a ton of routes. (Weston Price Article)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 21, 2012
at 09:20 AM

Not everybody needs to realize himself through job. I know some people who say: "Hey, it is just a paycheck." That's what I was trying to do for a long time. And then I broke down and could not handle it anymore. I was teaching ESL, all grade levels, last four years at the Middle School level. Middle School is the worse - I do not know how people can survive there. What I hated the most? Block scheduling (whoever came up with this, has to be in jail), my colleagues (even though we had GREAT personal relationships, it is not easy to work with people whose values you do not share).

0
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on January 21, 2012
at 02:17 AM

My husband is in a similar situation but he is applying for MD/PHD programs (MD if he can only get into that portion of a program) and his hope is to get into an endocrinology residency and go down that route. He works at Columbia now and is not interested in research and everyone there has told him as much - that research for universities is kind of a drag. But maybe a masters in nutrition and then teaching could help too. I think more paleo MDs would be great, but it doesn't mean that's what you have to do. I hope you find what you're looking for!

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:28 AM

Similarly, my older sister is also applying for MD/PhD programs. However she finds research fairly exciting. I would like to contribute to the Paleo (we need to stop calling it that) movement, so a masters/higher education may be the way to go. I won't stop looking though.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on January 21, 2012
at 07:21 PM

Wishing you the best of luck! I am not in the science field and am having my own second thoughts about career so I totally get that feeling of being pulled in multiple directions.

0
775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

on January 21, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Consider graduate school and perhaps become a teacher. Best Wishes.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 21, 2012
at 08:27 AM

I have thought of this. As of right now, I may be burned out from academia. I can't say this is high up on the list (going to grad school) but I can't completely boot it out the window.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on May 20, 2012
at 01:07 PM

What kind of teacher?

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