What advice would you give a teenager who wants a career in science? Select a subject that interests you and make an effort to become an expert in that field. I promise you, if you make the effort, and you become an expert, you will have a wonderful career.
It doesn\’t apply just to science. The same is true in any walk of life.
Become, say, The City\’s expert in the field of charitable trust law and you\’ve a nice 30 years ahead of you of changing the names on the standard document. At £500 an hour (I know someone who really did this).
Or spend two decades as the expert on the scandium market.
Being an expert allows you to extract rents: or if you prefer, your knowledge is a definite value add.
It will get competed away over time. And obviously, the extraction of rents isn\’t quite what we preach as being good for the whole economy. But it is darn good for your own income.
And of course if you\’re adding sufficient value that people will happily pay your rent then there\’s no harm in it at all: that comes when you manipulate the system (legally, politically) to protect yourself against that nascent competition.
But as career advice: believe me, being paid to be the expert is a whole lot better than having to earn by the sweat of your brow.