You can never go home again. Sources for my book on alternate careers told me the switch falls in one direction only.1I never dreamed of going back because writing allows me to learn about subjects as different as conservation research and the Y chromosome.

Janet Joy, a senior program officer at the National Research Council (NRC) since 1995, says she has no plans to return to the bench either. Before heading to work at the NRC, she was a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health. Can you go back? I asked her. "No. I'm seven years out and I still give the same answer."

For Joy and others, the only reentry status they see for themselves would be as postdoctoral trainees, because they would need to refresh their knowledge. After finding a highly satisfying niche for herself at NRC, Joy says, "I have no desire...

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