I personally know a gold medalist scientist who is a remarkable researcher but is currently on a career break without any scientific work to engage in. The field in which she excels demands specialized skills and equipment to continue her scientific journey. Unfortunately, she resigned from her job because she observed that many people around her lacked basic scientific ethics. This situation has left me puzzled, questioning whether we have unintentionally let this brilliant scientist’s potential go to waste. I also wonder whether we should have directed her training towards industries on a smaller, local scale rather than focusing on fields with limited job opportunities.
What is Career Break
Career break is defined as a time off from employment for familial responsibilities, physical or mental wellbeing and professional development. Remaining jobless after completing a degree or being fired from a job are also included in career break or unemployment.
Unemployment in Pakistan
Developing countries with no exception of Pakistan are facing widespread underemployment and unemployment. This is due to poor quality or utilization of human resource. We are facing educational, occupational, and professional unemployment in continuously worsening status due to poor planning in education. Our institutions have become factories of un-employed and disappointed personnel who spend money and most importantly youth to get degrees. Although comprehensive nationwide study is missing, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows immensely increases rate of un-employment in 2021.
Regrettably, a large proportion of the highly skilled force of PhDs are unemployed in Pakistan. The solution our HEC finds for almost 4000 unemployed PhDs is to get registered on rozzee.pk. Instead of announcing jobs for many unfilled positions in different fields and levels, government directs individuals to other platforms. A census should be initiated to collect the data of certificate, diploma or degree holders at different levels in various fields. It will serve to develop nation wise policies for the improvement of our education standards and directions.
Impact of Career Break on Families
A scientist made a heartbreaking statement on a social media platform which explains the serious impacts of joblessness. He shows his disappointments, even no hope for life after social responses on being jobless after PhD. He committed two failed suicide attempts also. Its very serious issue for a nation to waste highly intelligent brains in this way.
Unleashing Innovation: Maximizing Potential
To unleash the true potential of sidelined scientific expertise, collaboration is key. Here are a few avenues to explore:
- Research Collaborations: Building bridges between scientists and research institutions can provide access to equipment and resources, enabling continued exploration.
- Consulting and Freelancing: Scientists can lend their expertise to diverse projects as consultants or freelancers, offering their insights across industries and disciplines.
- Innovative Applications: Creativity knows no bounds. Scientists can innovate by applying their skills to unexpected sectors, birthing novel solutions to age-old problems.
- Career Transitions: Facilitating transitions to related fields can empower scientists to leverage their expertise in different contexts, increasing their overall impact.
- Government and Funding: Advocating for policies that encourage funding in practical applications of research can foster an environment where scientific talent finds meaningful avenues.
Freelancing: a Light in the Darkness
Freelancing is a self-employment of individuals to carryout temporary jobs from local or foreign investors. National Freelancing Facilitation Policy developed in Pakistan with vision to make Pakistan a leading Freelance marketplace.
Objectives of the policy are to build one million active freelancers to increase average earning rate to $5,000 per annum to potentially add $5.0 Billion of export remittance inflows in Pakistan yearly. Strategic implementation of the policy includes business development and ICT export, facilitation of low-cost registration in Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), training and technology certifications initiatives, legislations, financial inclusions, local Escrow, intellectual property, data protection policy, women empowerment, facilitation for the special people, and empowerment of remote and underserved areas. Digiskills and E-rozgar scheme are the dreams for enhancement of skills in our human resource. A non-profit freelancers association, PAFLA (Pakistan Freelancers Association) in collaboration with government, academia and industry, strives to empower Pakistani citizens by providing opportunities and mentoring.
Freelancing for Scientists
Many scientists find it difficult to thrive in freelancing due to poor communications skills. It is worth noting that scientists are mostly reticent, shy, and introvert as they spend hours in isolated study with deep focused thoughts. Although it is important to improve communication skills for science culture in today’s world. Our modern-day science predictors should also be re-evaluated as introverts have remained great scientists in history, most important among them is Einstein who believed that “monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind”.
Ifreelancing is not a permanent solution for the unemployment and research-oriented jobs for sustainable development of science and technology.
Educational Evolution: Balancing Specialization and Adaptability
Educational institutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of scientific talent. Striking a balance between specialization and cultivating adaptable skills can empower scientists to navigate diverse landscapes with confidence. In a world of ever-accelerating progress, ensuring maximized scientific specialization is not just a matter of academic discourse—it’s a responsibility. By collaboratively addressing the challenges faced by scientists and the opportunities that lie ahead, we can create an environment where brilliance truly thrives. It will benefit not only the scientific community but also the world at large. Let us embark on this journey to unlock the full potential of scientific minds and transform their genius into tangible progress.
Never Loss Hope- Change Perspective
It’s disheartening to see many individuals facing the hopeless job search. The constant stream of rejections and the silence from countless applications can wear down even the strongest spirit. As time stretches on without positive outcomes, a cloud of hopelessness can start to settle in, casting doubts on our abilities and the worth of our efforts. However, it’s crucial to remember that this period of struggle is just one chapter in our stories. With resilience, support, and a shift in perspective, we can navigate through this challenging phase and eventually discover opportunities that align with our aspirations and talents.