Fish wrote an entertaining post about an advice column for graduate students in biology. It got me thinking: where is the career advice for graduate students pursuing the evil sciences? I developed these ten rules for science students looking to become doctors of evil.
Rule 1: Have a passion for evil
So many pursue evil science for the superficial reasons: power, wealth, and infamy. But while those rewards are ignoble, to be a successful evil scientist, you have to follow your heart and find true heartlessness. Most evil graduate programs are in lonely, isolated places—old castles, uncharted islands, under water. Those near populated areas tend to attract the scorn of the local citizens and the attention of authorities. Even the most evil of graduate students can’t help but feel a little bit alone and alienated. A true passion for evil will carry you through those rough spots until you can turn the tables on those all those bastards who said you were mad.
Rule 2: Select the right evil mentor, project, and laboratory
Finding the right evil mentor can be difficult, as they may be in hiding or incarcerated. Furthermore, nearly all evil scientists are selfish and untrustworthy, which tends to undermine the mentoring process. Ask around to see if the one you wish to work with will foster the positive learning environment you need to promote evil. Talk to henchmen, thugs, security forces, submarine crews, and even former damsels in distress.
The nature of the project is equally important. What is incredibly evil today can be laughably harmless tomorrow. Avoid selecting trendy research areas, such as Martian sciences and journeys to the center of the earth, which can become dated very quickly. Also, consider whether your project will even seem evil. A nude bomb or orgasmatron, while extremely evil to some voter demographics, may actually be embraced by others.
Finally, the laboratory should match your research interests. For instance, those interested in re-animation should look for dust, cobwebs, and Van der Graaf generators. Researchers in evil androids will want laboratories that look futuristic and, if possible, are made of white plastic. And doomsday graduate students will want to work as far away from their geographic subject areas as possible.
Rule 3: Independent, stubborn thinking is the stock trait of a true evil scientist
A scientist who solicits the opinions of others, listens carefully to their suggestions, and acts on the recommendations wouldn’t seem very evil. Always ignore the advice of even your closest comrades, particularly when they offer sound suggestions like killing a nemesis quickly and verifying his or her death.
Rule 4: Balance your evil life
There’s an old saying that an evil scientist who always works is truly mad. Take time away from the lab to balance out your villainy. Hunt humans for sport, open a mink farm, or work with your local city council to bring a Wal-Mart to your town. It’s all about balance.
Rule 5: Think ahead and develop your evil career early
To be an evil scientist, you have to let everyone know, early on, that you are a force to be feared and reviled. Work on your evil laugh, develop presentations that clearly express your deviousness, and demand sums of money that will be both shocking yet not inconceivable. Consider learning the audio-video skills needed to hijack broadcasting equipment to beam your message to every man, woman, and child, or look to outsource this work to a certified evil contractor such as a cable company.
You also need to think about what you plan to do with your evil research, if that field is lucrative, and if your current studies will fulfill those requirements. For instance, a career in Bond Villainy offers unending job possibilities, but also requires a multidisciplinary approach. Don’t wait to develop those skills until after you complete your studies, because by that time you will probably be wanted by the authorities.
Rule 6: Always reevaluate your work for its evilness
This may seem simple, but what is considered evil can change over time. A horrifying Brave New World can become an enticing brave new biotech investment option on the Nasdaq. Make sure what you’re doing inspires horror, not IPOs.
Rule 7: Find flaws in your research before the good guys show up
There is nothing worse than trapping your nemesis, cackling maniacally, and pressing a big red button, only to have nothing happen. Test your evil science constantly. Railroad yards, communes, and office cubicles provide endless sources of human subjects who won’t be missed and will probably go without a fight.
Rule 8: Share your evil genius with the world
No man is an island, and likewise no evil scientist should keep his hellish army of man-beasts on an island. Keeping your evil work to yourself is a crime.
Rule 9: Kill anyone who points out flaws in your research
While Rule 7 shows the importance of finding flaws in your research, it’s important that everyone a) knows that you are in charge and b) knows you are inherently evil. The sooner you demonstrate this, the better. The first time someone corrects or questions your work, it is vital that you kill them immediately in order to promote the productivity and focus of those in your lab.
Rule 10: Demonstrate your readiness for graduation by destroying your mentor with your work
Once all your research is completed, your critics dead, and your subjects killed or hideously mutated, you are ready to graduate. Gather your mentor and anyone else involved with your work and unleash your research on them. If they are also killed or hideously mutated, congratulations, you now have your Ph.D. in evil science!
But remember: be wary of evil doctorate students asking you to mentor them.