Posted on March 31, 2009 @ 08:35:00 AM by Paul Meagher
One of the famous exchanges in the 1967 movie, The Graduate, is this one:
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you - just one word.
Ben: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: 'Plastics.'
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That's a deal.
If Ben had taken Mr. McGuire's advice, he would have done well for himself. Can we offer a similiar one-word prescription to high-school graduates about a career path they might want to pursue that would offer a high probability of success? The one-word prescription for future success that I would throw out would probably be "microbiology". A few of my reasons are:
- It is an interesting, rapidly growing, and increasingly fundamental area for understanding the world around us.
- Many of the solutions to the green problems we face will come from those versed in microbiology. These green problems will create a huge market for microbiologists capable of offering and delivering solutions.
- The growing importance and sophistication of microbiology will have increased considerably by the time you graduate making your skillset even more valuable.
- An education in microbiology involves a much larger investment on the part of a university than an education in the arts and many other areas of study. To educate a person in this area requires giving students access to expensive equipment and technical expertise. It is similiar to medical training in this respect and pay levels might, as a result, be well above average.
- There are lots of opportunities to create entrepreneurial enterprises based upon microbiological knowledge and techniques. Your degree would confer upon you the authority to offer microbiological solutions and give you a competitive advantage over other players lacking such a degree.
I doubt that I will switch professions to become a microbiologist, but as a reader in "green studies" it is an topic area that I feel the need to get more up to speed on because of its fundamental importance in addressing many green problems in an intelligent way.