Signup date: 14 Apr 2010 at 10:02pm
Last login: 30 Sep 2010 at 9:42pm
Post count: 232
I was working in a good engineering job before starting my PhD and faced making the same difficult decisions. I decided to go for the PhD and moved 400 miles to do it! I don't regret it because I realised I loved working in academia and I was researching a subject I loved strongly even if it meant my earnings were less. You should create a pros and cons list of PhD vs Job and see if that helps. Also look into the current jobs available for postdocs (www.jobs.ac.uk is a good website) and see if they are the kind of jobs that would appeal to you and compare them with your current job.
You mentioned lecturing, if that's a career path you're considering then PhD may be the answer. However, if you like being in industry and having a 9-5 job without the overtime of a PhD then you may prefer the job route. I loved my job but realised that it was repetitive and that I would not advance much with it (I suppose eventually I could advance to management but I did not find that appealing).
As far as careers are concerned after a PhD, it's down to the student to make it happen. I was interviewed for an engineering company where most of their employees held PhD's and me being with a masters degree didn't get the job. You also have work experience which would be in your favour. Also speak to your mentor about your concerns as they would have dealt with things like this before and can advise you.
All the best and let us know your decision.
I may panic if I don't get into academia, I haven't considered many other options! I have customer service skills from way back when I was paying through my undergraduate years but the thought of doing that again is upsetting. Not because customer service is a bad job, it's just not cut out for me. I don't like being pushy to customers (i.e. into opening store cards), so inevitably I earned the least bonus out of my co-workers. I can't handle any form of sales very well either and the idea of trying to meet targets to earn big bonuses would drive me insane. Running a restaurant sounds fun though and I've actually considered it (been watching too much of The F-word!)
I worked in R&D for a large company for a short while and loved it, and I guess if I didn't get into academia, I'd go down that route. It's predominately lab work, the dress code was more flexible and the pressure was much less than other company sectors.
======= Date Modified 08 May 2010 19:51:04 =======
No one should try and convince you to do something you don't want to do (I'm not really talking about supervisors, as that's a different case). But you know your work more than others (so don't think that you're talking rubbish) and even if your method is wrong, at least you tried it and you could explain why it didn't work. In my opinion, you learn more when you approach a method yourself. If in doubt, research your idea and see if it's possible to do, and compare it to other approaches.
Do take what other people say on board as it may be good advice but it's your own work and your own methodology, being creative is part of research.
Edit: I should add that by 'Method' I'm referring to lab protocols as I don't know any other methodology! Sorry if I got that wrong!
Your studentship sounds similar to mine i.e. (1+3 years), my first year was exhausting too, with so many assignments and exams. I found this period to be the most exhausting but after May it gets much better. Don't you get a holiday break before starting your PhD? We had 6 weeks off from mid August to October.
I realize that this thread is a bit old but as a few have reposted, I'll put my 2 cents in.
It's excellent that you have found what makes you happy and that's a job in industry. However, I should add that regarding engineering jobs, what you've said isn't completely true. I'm doing a PhD in Engineering and it's industrial based, so hopefully it will be worthwhile. Additionally, before embarking on my PhD, I had a job interview with an engineering company who admitted that although they wished to interview me having only a masters degree, most of their employees held a PhD (I didn't get the job).
I guess what I want to say is that, a job isn't necessarily better than a PhD and neither is a PhD better than a job. There are pros and cons to each. I was very happy working for an engineering company but I decided to change direction and do a PhD because I realised I would be much happier doing it. I'm earning less that what I was but I'm much happier.
I agree with you though, that people should not be forced to continue with their PhD if they're really struggling.
All the best with your job and guitar
I had a hard time asking for help around labs too, mainly because I was afraid I'd be bothering others. Don't feel like an idiot, it's normal to feel new to it all but you'll be used to it all within 4 months if not less. It's good he's not acting superior so just use his knowledge as it'll be valuable to you at this stage, and ask others so you don't only depend on him. At the end of the day, you're doing a PhD that only you will be specialized in, so very soon enough you will know more about your work than him. Try not to think of his past work experience too much, I had work experience before doing my PhD but it wasn't as useful as I thought it'd be.
I put on weight when I visit home for a few days but not really when I'm at uni. Being in Sunny Scotland means climbing a hill to get to uni each day. Having said that, my weight hasn't dropped either so I reckon when I get to the write-up house bound stages of my PhD I'll have gained a few pounds! A lot of PhD students I know frequently visit the gym, now I know why!! Don't worry Ev, you wont be enormous after 3 years, you'll probably find your weight going up and down rather than up and up!
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