Hsien Hsien Lei has posted an interview on her Genetics and Health blog with Dr. Elva O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan is a chemist who left a job in industry to create the Science With Me! site for kids. When asked about how scientists might similarly "escape" the ivory tower, O'Sullivan responded that you should follow what you love:
A child will always ask why? The big why, in this case - is why are you doing what you do? If a scientist can answer that question (and the answer is not, ‘to keep my job’) - then chances are, they are happy and have already escaped. If the answer is just for the money then think about what attracted you to science in the first place, go back to basics and see if you can build your career around your passion.Good advice, but often easier said than done.