# Are career related questions allowed?

Are questions about asking career advice and opportunities removed ? I have seen such some question with up votes and answers, while other are down voted and removed. Are there particular career related questions which are valid ?

• The mixed response is partially explained by the fact that there now is Academia.SE that is better suited for many questions under that umbrella. Many Math.SE regulars also visit Academia.SE, so such questions will receive attention from career mathematicians also there. In the past there was no Academia.SE, so older questions in particular may have slipped through. Some of those questions may be on-topic here also, but I don't want set any guidelines. The users should decide that (and I don't know exactly how we feel about such questions). – Jyrki Lahtonen Feb 12 '15 at 11:52

I'm not actually going to go through with it, but I started on a question with the title "What are the best careers for math doctorates?" This message came up:

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

A few seconds later this other message came up:

The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed.

You can prove or disprove a certain equation has solutions (though some questions like that get closed for being "off-topic"—go figure!). You can't really prove what is the best career path for someone with a math doctorate, for example. I think, speaking only for myself, that it would make sense to close a career advice question for being "off-topic." But since there's Academia.SE, then better to migrate that question over there, unless it was something that applied only to mathematicians, and not also, say, economists and fashion designers.

If you're still unsure, go ahead and post your career advice question. Worst that can happen is your reputation score gets dinged a little.

• I'll bet it was the word "best" that triggered those messages, not "career". The sort of question you're discussing is poor because it is primarily opinion based - and problematic regardless of topic (and wouldn't be so much at home at Academia.SE either). This meta question should be answered more in the spirit of, "Given a question which is fine in all other respects, is one about careers acceptable?" – Milo Brandt Feb 22 '15 at 4:57
• @Meelo The first question should be "Are there questions about careers that are fine in all other respects?", otherwise I can make plenty of statements about elements of the empty set. It seems to me that this answer is arguing that most questions about career are opinion based (and thus not "fine in all other respects"). – Najib Idrissi Feb 22 '15 at 9:23
• What do y'all think about this question: "I am doing my doctorate dissertation on medieval math history. Are there any careers for me in the NSA?" – Robert Soupe Feb 22 '15 at 17:53
• It should be noted that there are lots of equations for which we may never be able to say that they have or don't have solutions. Conversely, there is lots of empirical and anecdotal evidence on what the best career paths are for mathematicians. But there is the problem that "best" is hard to define. I might focus on income potential, you might focus on work/life balance, etc. – user153918 Feb 24 '15 at 15:07
• @Robert: It's not an absurd question. The NSA might have a place for someone with a doctorate in the history of mathematics; much would depend on the amount of mathematics that went into it along the way. A friend of mine started there $15$ years ago with just a bit more than an undergraduate math degree. The career wouldn't be in history of math, though! – Brian M. Scott Feb 25 '15 at 9:11
• @Brian Sounds reasonable enough. But the candidate might disqualify himself by publicly discussing a potential career in that particular intelligence agency. – Robert Soupe Feb 25 '15 at 13:11