The work environment
Geoscientists love fieldwork, but they spend much more time in the lab or office analyzing samples, producing and working on data, and making interpretations that solve problems or resolve important questions. Writing reports or journal articles and presenting results at conferences or client meetings are expected. Researchers must write convincing proposals to funding agencies to finance graduate students and field experiments. Although a lot of hard work is involved, it is far from drudgery to delve more deeply into your chosen field in an effort to make a lasting contribution.
Salaries vary widely. The amount of education and experience you have, your chosen field and your location will affect what you make. The important thing to remember is that working in the geosciences is an enjoyable and exceedingly worthwhile path in life. You will have amazing experiences and will be contributing to the greater good for society whether you conduct scholarly research or do applied work.
Marguerite Toscano is a practicing geoscientist who lives in Maryland with her 7-year-old daughter. She is currently working on sea-level changes, carbonate geology and coral reefs at the Smithsonian Institution. She also edits the newsletter for the Association for Women Geoscientists.