I have enough time today for a quick question, one that’s also being asked by several people on Twitter. Back when I was a grad student, there was definite pressure on people to seek an academic position. I saw more than one group where this pressure was applied selectively to the more promising-seeming grad students/postdocs as well. The professors involved didn’t seem to object to an industrial (or at least nonacademic) career, but they did apparently feel that the best of the bunch really should go off and get faculty positions somewhere.
So is this still the case? I’m sure that it varies from place to place and from group to group, but I’m curious to know if this attitude has wound down a bit over the years. Many things have changed. For one thing, tenure-track faculty jobs are harder to come by than ever, and funding for such a career – never easy – has not gotten any easier. Have the underlying attitudes and assumptions changed, though? I realize that the comments on this will be a sack of anecdotal data, but I think it’ll be interesting to see, nonetheless. . .