02 December 2008

Geologists in the Gruniad...

Shitte but fairly comical article in today's Guardian talking about jobs for which there is a shortage of applicants. The chosen ones include "ships officer", "horse rider", "physics teacher" and "geologist".

The article starts out well, acknowledging that there are lots of different types of geologist and that we are short of them all. It then goes on to polish the age old perceptions of geologists as people who hang out in landfills. Some of the class lines include...

"...I was just, I don't know, interested in earth processes. Looking at rocks. Walking round muddy fields with your mates" Probably should have become a farmer then!

"Engineering geologists (as opposed to pure geologists, who are mainly into research)..." OK so what about all the petroleum geologists, mining geologists, hydrogeologists - are they academic or unpure. Its not really clear.

"Sometimes it's more geo-technical," Cartwright says. "If you're on a motorway extension, you'll be more focused on things like the design of the earthworks, slope and rock face stability, soil compacting, that kind of thing. " Whoop-de-fuckin-do - sounds riviting! I can see the kids queing up to get a piece of that action!

"Part of the present shortage, Cartwright reckons, is down to the "massive explosion" in environmental and geo-technical work." I thought it had a whole lot more to do with a lot of very short sighted tossers in middle and upper managment of the major oil companies firing everyone when oil was $15 per barrel in the late 1990's and then being suprised when they had no staff in 2003.

"It's very hard to find the right people. We've paid to put people through a Masters."
I am struggling to see why that is bad?

Geology is not badly paid - with two or three years' experience and a bit of overtime you could be looking at £30,000
What planet is this guy on... get a masters in petroleum geology and you will start on more than that and in 3 years probably be doubling it!

I think the reason that geology is not sexy is because degrees in media studies are easier and those people then go on to write shit, factually incorrect articles that imply most geologists spend their lives worrying about subsidence on council estates.

In 1985 I became a geologist because I wanted to see World, work outdoors in exotic locations, do a job that actually made a difference and score a reasonable wedge. Half a lifetime later I would say that was pretty much how it turned out...

1 comment:

Burgesski said...

Have you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre? He has a lot to say about innumerate scientifically clueless journalists and the harm they do - you'd like it.