A Dr PhD yet jobless

posted
05-Jun-14, 18:15
edited about 7 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
Or maybe they should just train a select few that they think may 'make' it. Maybe they already do that and that's why different students are treated differently. Hmm...
posted
06-Jun-14, 01:15
edited about 50 seconds later
Avatar for incognito
posted about 3 years ago
I'm surprised at why people seem to restrict their skill set (or skill set acquired via PhD) to academia. To be honest, I'm still considering moving back into academia and have a couple of publications out, but am currently working in a different sector. So far, my employers here in Canada appreciate the skills I bring, and in my division alone we have four other PhDs (two in natural sciences as well even though we deal with economic policy), three CFAs, and five MBAs. The point is if you're one of those people that hopes to just go into academia after a PhD, then I've got bad news: it doesn't work that way, and it's not just about publications anymore it's also about networking, your supervisor's reputation and your department.

TreeofLife is right: PhD is for training both hard and soft skills (personality skills and technical). As for brown, Canada is also adopting a similar approach to Germany, and in fact the Canadians are hiring people from the States and Europe these days to take advantage of the educational experience there (hence why I was hired). I for one think as long as you are doing some research whilst not being in the academic sector you are getting a good return for your PhD, and can make the transition to academia in the future (with certain conditions). As for marasp, there's nothing wrong with working at a fast-food so chin up; I'm sure it'll be temporary but I would strongly advise people to be more flexible in their approach to job-hunting. Ultimately that's what helped me.
posted
06-Jun-14, 08:07
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for Barramack
posted about 3 years ago
The reality is that the non-academic sector values work experience and a track record of delivering more so than having a PhD (at least in Australia). In my experience, personality and technical skills can be far better trained in a work environment, rather than from a PhD. A PhD can be a very isolationist experience compared to working in a proper team environment. In the latter, there is far more accountability (i.e. not just to yourself and your supervisor) and pressure to deliver, and there is an opportunity to not just better your existing technical skills, but to develop a broader range of skills than a 3-4 year PhD can provide.

What I'm getting at here is that people need to be cautious about having expectations that a PhD will give you all the skills you need to be competative in today's job market.
posted
26-Jul-16, 15:16
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Talented
posted about 1 year ago
Why there are no new posts since two years ago? The problem has not changed much. I have a PhD in biology and working as an adjunct for past three years post graduation. Sent more than 100 applications. Had a few interviews, academic and non academic. I started working for a domestic violence crisis center about five months ago and have been devoting a lot of hours (since adjunct position covers only 10hrs/wk). I like what I do at the crisis center and passionate and committed to it. Recently, a position opened up and I applied. But got rejected. That was a low point and a severe blow. I am scared to go into depression and fear that I might do something not so right. Don't know how to cope the sadness that ensues. Would like to hear from someone going through the same situation.
posted
09-Aug-16, 15:16
by Elbe
Avatar for Elbe
posted about 1 year ago
I worked part-time in retail all through my phd and am still (18 months later) working the same job, 12 years after starting there and one masters and a PhD more qulified. It is soul destroying sending off application after application and never getting a bite. I have four articles, a book under review, conference papers and VL experience (humanities). I am also spinning into depression Talented, sinking in debt and can see no light at the end of the tunnel. Every application that is rejected without explanation just torches my self esteem a little further - at some point soon I will have to give up on chasing academic jobs and just accept things are what they are. But I love my subject and I just don't know how I would cope psychologically with giving up all the work I have put in. These days I work a 70 hour week - 30 at work and 40 at home doing unpaid and unrecognised academic work to keep pumping out articles and papers in the hopes of getting a job. I am exhausted.
posted
10-Aug-16, 13:06
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 1 year ago
Hello Elbe. Sorry to hear of your difficulties.

Nothing is more important than your health. So if you feel you are spinning into depression I would urge you to seek support and do what you can to mitigate the triggers of that ASAP.

Do you enjoy the 40 hours a week you are spending on unpaid academic work? I ask, because it sounds like it is a means to an end (you are mainly doing it in the hope of getting a job) but I wondered whether you get enjoyment from it in its own right? Given your level of exhaustion, I would recommend not spending more than 10-20 hours a week on this, as there is probably an element of diminishing returns. Google the Pareto Principle(80:20 rule) and consider whether you could pare down the amount of time you are spending on these activities without having too detrimental an impact on the useful outputs.

Unless an unmissable opportunity arises, how about putting the academic applications on hold for a month or two. If you are jaded with the process you might not be putting together the best applications, and it would probably be good for your wellbeing to give yourself a break for a few weeks.

Finally, have you considered switching your day job? It's a common misconception that an academic role is the only worthy use of the investment that is a PhD, but there are so many worthwhile and satisfying jobs out there. If you are sinking into debt, that needs addressing ASAP, as it will only get worse. There are a world of opportunities on the spectrum between retail and academia, and it might give you a boost in a lot of ways if you explore them. You might not be able to control whether you get your desired career any time soon, but there are a lot of choices you have in your current circumstances which could improve your wellbeing soon. But you might need to take a step back to see them.
posted
12-Aug-16, 17:23
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for MrDoctor
posted about 1 year ago
I agree with HazyJane, and I would also suggest looking for academic *related* jobs.

A quick scour of jobs.ac.uk shows 845 admin jobs at UK universities, ranging from around £15-16k up to £30k+.

Retail sounds like it's sucking out your soul. Would you be happier in a university environment, albeit in an admin role? I know I would be, as I would still be in the academic environment. Easy access to library etc.
posted
16-Aug-16, 01:40
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for Ghost_Town
posted about 1 year ago
Oh sorry to hear about your struggles, guys. :((

I did two postdocs in the US, finally got my green card and thought it will be easy to find my dream company with it. But reality was different. Right now job market in chemical industry is not great. It took a couple of months for me to get a job, but the company is not what I was dreaming about. Not of a level of Dow Chemical, DuPont, whatsoever. I've been looking for a better company for a year now, but without any luck.

Chemical jobs are very focused. It's really hard to find a good match. I'm tired of my current company but see that things could be a lot worse. Now I am considering another postdoc just for a year to expand my skills, get new connections and change place to live. Will see how it goes. But current US job market doesn't give me much optimism. I'm thinking about starting own business in a future. In fact I already have a small side business and planning to expand it.
posted
22-Aug-16, 15:45
Avatar for lhyy0218
posted about 12 months ago
same situation as you. and I'm looking for a posdoc now. Now acdamic job is hard for fresh PhD. never give up and try my best.
posted
09-Aug-17, 03:04
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Drsomething
posted about 1 week ago
Another Ph D lad in trouble:) I've been unemployed for one year now. I'm lost and don't know what to do. What really hurts me is the SILENCE. I have been sending emails to everybody. Out of 40 emails sent nationwide. I received one email saying " sorry I don't have funds" the second one saying" I have NO lab. NO position available" exactly like this. I am wondering what's going on. Is it the field? I have six publications and I was one of the best 5%. So why no one is looking at my resumes?
Another funny thing I asked my codirector for a recommendation letter and he refused. he said I don't need one from a codirector since I have one from my direct supervisor...
I'm doubting myself, I feel old and insecure..
posted
10-Aug-17, 16:41
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From Drsomething:
Another Ph D lad in trouble:) I've been unemployed for one year now. I'm lost and don't know what to do. What really hurts me is the SILENCE. I have been sending emails to everybody. Out of 40 emails sent nationwide. I received one email saying " sorry I don't have funds" the second one saying" I have NO lab. NO position available" exactly like this. I am wondering what's going on. Is it the field? I have six publications and I was one of the best 5%. So why no one is looking at my resumes?
Another funny thing I asked my codirector for a recommendation letter and he refused. he said I don't need one from a codirector since I have one from my direct supervisor...
I'm doubting myself, I feel old and insecure..


Are you applying to postdocs with funding as well eg ones advertised on sites like jobs.ac.uk?
posted
11-Aug-17, 18:41
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From Barramack:
The reality is that the non-academic sector values work experience and a track record of delivering more so than having a PhD (at least in Australia). In my experience, personality and technical skills can be far better trained in a work environment, rather than from a PhD. A PhD can be a very isolationist experience compared to working in a proper team environment. In the latter, there is far more accountability (i.e. not just to yourself and your supervisor) and pressure to deliver, and there is an opportunity to not just better your existing technical skills, but to develop a broader range of skills than a 3-4 year PhD can provide.

What I'm getting at here is that people need to be cautious about having expectations that a PhD will give you all the skills you need to be competative in today's job market.


PhD graduates are usually employed at senior level in industry staright out of university.
The idea that 4 years of industry straight from undergrad is better than a PhD is absolutely wrong.
For a start, fresh graduates go through a 2 to 4 year graduate training scheme across different disciplines. After that they have no significant experience in any one area. PhD grads on the other hand are in a different league.
A PhD is equivalent to about 5 to 8 years experience without one. That has been true in every company I have ever worked in. Job adverts regularly state PhD or 5 years experience.
posted
12-Aug-17, 13:22
edited about 6 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Are those of you who have not worked for more than 6 months tried self employment? I know it is not for everyone but it has to beat sitting at home on the dole. I can't think of anything which would drain the soul worse than not having any work at all.

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