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Academia as a career choice?

I found this TED talk interesting ("How to make hard choices", Ruth Chang).

I suspect we all came to our current career paths (in science research/academia) through passion and idealism (the reasons we create ourselves) rather than through a rational decision based on the pros and cons of the path itself...

Why else would we pursue a path so fraught with challenge, instability, isolation, criticism (peer-review), and lower remuneration than many of our friends who decided against a PhD...

I guess the question is 'now that we've chosen this career path, how can we continue to make it work for us?'.

I'm a Lecturer and Research Fellow at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. I have a background in ecology, epidemiology & veterinary science. I'm passionate about wildlife conservation, quantitative modelling, and population & disease ecology. 

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