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and Space Administration
The Astronomy Career Game
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I was offered a position as an astronomer working for a non-academic research lab, sometimes doing astronomy for various government contracts, but also doing computer-related work. Working for a non-academic employer means job insecurity for life. In some companies, you are a part of a team that competes against other companies to win contracts at government labs. These ‘Support Services’ contracts last for 2-5 years. You then have to make sure you are working on another contract to pay your salary, or you can and will lose your job. You can win a research grant, and support yourself, or you can be a member of a team doing work for someone else, sometimes another senior astronomer or Civil Servant who is running a NASA or NSF research project.

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