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Dunham
Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 2:12pm
Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:25am
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page 1 of 21 recent posts

Thread: 1 year after defense, still unemployed

posted
22-Oct-16, 11:51
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Mattfabb:
But really, Wallace, 'ruined your life'? I may be technically unemployed, but I am so happy to have my PhD..


Why? I can totally relate to that thought. Maybe it makes it easier for you to accept that things didn't turn out as you planned if you keep telling yourself how great that PhD degree is but you must really be incredibly idealistic to not come to the conclusion that this was maybe not the best decision. Can still turn out alright, but the thought itself is pretty normal. Some people want things like a family, a house or vacation and none of them you get with a PhD. You get it with a paying job.

@Wallace
There are tons of PhDs that search over a year for a job and Biology became especially difficult due to the myriad of PhD students in Life Sciences but that also means that you are not alone. I think it is crucial to increase the application radius. In case you find a job somewhere else, you can still figure out the moving part later but in my opinion, moving is not especially expensive. Students move all the time across the country without organising a big moving. I moved to the country I live in now with 1 bag. That's it. Everything else you can get later when you've earned some money in the new job. Even if you have to live with roommates for a while, who cares? All the post docs in my group did it that way. Of course always under the premise that you can leave your current stuff at your parents (but it sounds as if that would be a possibility). I also agree that writing applications has to be your fulltime job at the moment. If there aren't any new openings just write unsolicited applications. In the worst case you practice your application skills. If would also search for all kinds of free help you can get. Boston is not a small town, there is probably help you can get for applications or new ideas. Keep the spirits up! Good luck

Thread: my supervisor gave my project to another student

posted
20-Oct-16, 18:20
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Teaddict:
Quote From Dunham:

Great Scientists but there English is just bad



:)


haha. In my defense, I'm also not a native speaker and my English is far away from perfect.

Thread: my supervisor gave my project to another student

posted
20-Oct-16, 10:37
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Moon1:
Hi tru thanks for your reply
I am good in English I hold a master degree from USA . I have been there 3 years. My supervisor put in my 6 months assessment that I am very good in English. I asked for help from my uni tutoring center to help me improving my writing . I gave them my examiners comments, one of them said why he said you have to write your report in scientific English? You wrote your report in a good english . I did my corrections and I did my second chance of ESA . they also didn't allow me to pass and their comment was you improved but that wasn't enough for the PhD. By the way, my supervisor read my report before submitted it to the examiners in my first ESA and he said great! Good!


Your writing here just shows that you have to improve your English. Spending time in the US does not necessarily mean that your English is good afterwards ;) Don't be offended by that because it is actually something that can be done relatively fast. A lack of techniques or knowledge in Biology would be a much bigger problem. I see it every day at work with some Chinese PhD students. Great Scientists but there English is just bad and that makes it significantly harder for them to do a good job in the lab. If I have a question regarding a protocol I just ask and get an explanation from someone who knows it very well. That does not work if you struggle to find the right words or understand only 50% of what the other person says. Also, they often misunderstand what their supervisors say and then make mistakes.
Keep in mind that most people do not correct you if you say something wrong. They are too polite and it would be incredibly annoying to be corrected all the time. That does however not mean that you don't make mistakes. Again, no offense, depending on what your mother tongue is, it is easier or harder to reach a sufficient English level. It's much easier for a French or Dutch than it is for Chinese or Korean (just examples)

Thread: Self-Funded PhDs. Good or Bad?

posted
18-Oct-16, 07:30
edited about 26 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From fallenonion:
I fully appreciate that. I was in the same situation in that my grant for doing a PGCE made me better off that working when I did that. Perhaps I have been overly polemical. I think my broader point has been lost, somewhere - that self-funding shouldn't automatically be seen as a red flag to hiring committees when it depends entirely on the person.


One just tries to give advise to the average self funded student. I agree with you that it is probably of no interest to hiring committees how you funded your PhD but for the individual it still matters. The chance to land a decent job afterwards if low, so getting out of a self funded PhD in humanities in debt is probably quite problematic for most students. It is of course a whole different story if you have the cash or work part-time. The ability to secure funding is just a good indicator whether or not your CV is competitive and that's quite important for subsequent, always highly competitive, positions. You don't get anything out there for the title itself and self funded students will for sure have a harder time to produce something excellent with all the added financial pressure

Thread: Self-Funded PhDs. Good or Bad?

posted
16-Oct-16, 10:03
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From fallenonion:
Well I didn't think my comments (which at the end of the day are valid, as are anyone's) would be met with such hostility.


Well you obviously have a higher life standard than the posh kids you were ranting about and that live on this salary (never heard of or met a PhD student that received financial aid from the parents) ;) Fair enough. I guess it is hard to go back to a PhD salary once you've earned much more in industry. This is, however, not the common route to take. I have no stats to proof that but would guess that over 95% of PhD students are taking up their PhD right after finishing University and in that case it is almost always a bad idea to start an unfunded PhD. You are either in debt or it takes you forever due to part-time work and the reward is almost always a job that is unrelated to research and often didn't even require a PhD in the first place. I think this is rather idealistic...doing a PhD for the PhD's sake and not because it gets you the career you aim for. If there is no funding, there is usually no job afterwards either. No matter if you are looking in academia or in industry. People in computer science or other fields with great job perspectives seldom struggle to secure finding. You will maybe manage to find a job and don't end up unemployed but I doubt that it's worth it.

Thread: Self-Funded PhDs. Good or Bad?

posted
15-Oct-16, 09:45
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Personally, I would never consider an unfunded PhD. I can't think of any scenario where this is a good decision. Academia is overcrowded (there were already nature issues about it ten years ago and it became rather worse than better) and if you can't secure funding, it is unlikely that your CV is competitive enough to land an academic post after your PhD. Not saying that it is impossible, but very unlikely. Many people are flattered when a professor, sometimes leading in the field, is keen on supervising them but seriously, you are just free labour. In the lab sciences it is pretty common to hire PhD students from China or India just because they are coming with their own government funding and do not cost anything. Why wouldn't you agree if someone offers to work for you for free? Keep in mind that the professors with a great reputation are seldom the ones who have a lot of time to spent on supervision. A funded PhD is no guarantee for success afterwards but at least you are not in debt. There are btw also many options abroad. There are tons of international PhD programs in English all over Europe.

Thread: Low ranked university, but fully funded and great supervisor

posted
14-Oct-16, 13:55
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Definitely the funded one. I would never do an unfunded one. It is just not worth it. Big job opportunities after the PhD are rare, so you should not take the risk. Universities and supervisors are just exploiting you. Rankings are overrated. If you publish great stuff it will be recognised ;) It is also much easier to produce good work if you don't have to worry about money.

Thread: Advice on choosing between PhD and Job after Masters

posted
29-Sep-16, 07:27
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
It depends on your field. In most cases, a PhD will make it even harder (!) to find a job afterwards. You are highly qualified and there are only a few positions that require this expert knowledge. That's why so many PhD graduates work out of their field afterwards. There are however some fields where it can be beneficial. For instance, if you want to work in an industrial research facility as a chemist, they might want someone with a PhD.
I agree with TreeofLife, do the PhD only for the sake of doing a PhD or because the career path really requires the PhD. If the job you are going for can be done with a master degree, the PhD degree will rather lower your chances on landing a job. They see you as overqualified.

Thread: Study Chinese

posted
23-Sep-16, 08:36
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
A new language will probably not help you to find a job so I would not do it for that purpose. There are only few jobs where speaking an additional language is more than nice to have. They hire you for a specific function in a company and unless this function is translation, it is going to be not that beneficial. Not mocking this at all, it is great to speak different languages, I am actually thinking about learning another one myself, but in terms of jobs languages are vastly overrated. Most employees that deal with international customers have to speak English.

In terms of learning it fast, I would do language courses until you have a basic level and then continue with these "tandem-things" (maybe they are called different in the UK), where you meet with a Chinese that wants to improve his or her English and you speak with each other. One Chinese PhD student in my lab is doing that to learn German. Doesn't cost anything and is really efficient. I think mandarin is too complex to learn it on an online platform. Good luck.

Thread: PhD: Industry or University?

posted
12-Sep-16, 17:03
edited about 6 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Well, first of all: As a foreigner, I would not pursue a PhD in the UK unless you get an exceptionally nice scholarship. I hope that is not seen as offensive by UK users. The research is often top notch but there are a lot of other countries with equally good research facilities and way better conditions for PhD students in terms of salary and funding duration. Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial College might be an exception but also hard to get in. At most Universities you get an average salary for 3 years and then you are on your own, while in many other countries the salaries are decent, 4 years funding are standard and you are a full employee , which means you can get unemployment money in case you run out of funding (in my case 70% of my salary). But the research is of course cutting edge and some of their Universities are in the top ten worldwide ;)

If you want to work in industry, a PhD in industry is in my opinion always preferable. You show already before your PhD that you are interested in industrial applications and I guess that the chances are high that they hire you afterwards if they were happy with your work. However, that is probably highly company dependent and depending on the University you are working with that will award the PhD eventually. I think the question is also if you can secure a PhD in industry as there are not that many as far as I know. I am however not a chemist. Maybe there are more opportunities than for biologists :)

Good luck

Thread: Signs of a bad academic advisor?

posted
01-Sep-16, 14:22
edited about 13 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From IntoTheSpiral:


I'm sorry chemon but I very strongly disagree with your points here. The advisor must "control every step of the research work" - heck no. Absolutely not. In my view, that would be an EXTREMELY poor advisor. The advisor is there to advise, not control. It's up to the student to take control and ownership of their own work and go to the advisor for support and to discuss approaches and methods. If the advisor is coming up with the research plan that is pretty poor too. The PhD is a training degree. If the advisor controls everything then the student only learns to become their advisors monkey and not an independent researcher.


Keep in mind that this is HIGHLY depending on the field you are working in. You can't compare natural sciences and social sciences/humanities at all. It is absolutely common to discuss almost every step with the supervisor or at least inform him/her, simply because you are not just working on literature or conduct interviews but spend shitloads of money on the experiments. You are not just doing an RNA-Seq for several thousand euros and then later discuss experimental design with your supervisor. That does not at all mean that you are not an independent researcher. "Control" was a poor choice of words but I agree that most supervisors I know in Biology have a good overview over the data their students produce and of course also if their work is in line with the research plan because that is what they got the grant for. You have to justify if you change the initial research plan and spent money on other stuff. This is not just a salary you receive but sometimes a lot of money for expensive equipment, chemicals, kits and other stuff.

Thread: Finding postdoc opportunities

posted
01-Sep-16, 14:03
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
You can always try "nature jobs" or similar websites. When I was looking for PhDs, I frequently looked on nature jobs and found that most of the new PhD positions in natural sciences were advertised there. I think however that this will be difficult. Majority of post docs are either paid by a fellowship or they got the position over connections. For one of the open post doc positions in my lab they had over 300 applicants and I was told that this is pretty much standard today. Some positions are only advertised because they are obliged to advertise it, even though they already have someone for the position. I guess you need an opening in more or less exactly the specialized field you did your PhD in to be competitive. But as applying doesn't cost anything but time, you can always try. Maybe your supervisor can pull some strings or knows some people in your field that might need a postdoc in the near future. That's probably the most promising way to find a position.
Good luck!

Thread: no progression

posted
26-Aug-16, 14:41
edited about 28 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From IntoTheSpiral:
No publications isn't necessarily a problem.


Exactly. We have several people in the lab at the moment that are in their fourth year, supposed to finish early 2017 and they are writing their first papers right now. It is often like that, especially in fields where you need actual data to publish something (often you can't publish negative results).

No worries about that.

Thread: No job after 3 years of PhD. My options are?

posted
18-Aug-16, 16:48
edited about 10 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Ghost_Town:
Well I don't know where are you located. UK?
I have no idea how UK job market looks like, but in the US things are getting pretty tough for PhDs.

PhD is only a good way to immigrate here if you are not originally from this country. But if you already have citizenship or green card you are digging your own grave by getting PhD (from non-academic career perspective). You are automatically overqualified for most industrial jobs. This job market is over-saturated with PhDs. I don't regret that I chose this path and I should be grateful for what I have (at least I have a job at OK company). However it's really hard to find better company. I've been monitoring the job market actively for a year now and see less and less jobs in my field. Two years ago it was much better. I think this is sign of new major recession coming. August normally is a month when companies start hiring actively. But right now I don't see enough new job listings. There are some, but in undesirable locations, and overall it's very small amount of listings.



The thing is, it does not matter where you are located. The job market for PhDs is almost everywhere the same. I lived now in four different European countries (all with strong economies), worked with tons of people from overseas and never have I ever heard that the job perspective is good. Everybody tells you that it is terrible and most of the people end up in jobs that have little to do with what they were trained for (research)....if they are lucky... However, at least for Germany I can assure you that you are not better off with a Masters in Chemistry, Biology or Physics at the moment. Media and Universities always communicate that there is a lack of scientists in the country while the science sector is actually completely oversaturated. Writing 100 applications to get a single interview is not a rare event and most people can't even choose the state they are living in. Staying in a certain area is almost impossible. The reason a lot of people get into a PhD is often just a lack of other opportunities.

So hang in there Talented. You are definitely not alone....

Thread: Mortgage Approval For Post-Doc (USA)

posted
16-Aug-16, 17:01
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Why do you have to buy a house in the new state or why did you even buy one in Texas? Can't you just rent a house for that period? What if the job you get after your post doc is 200 miles away from your house? In Germany, you would never ever get a loan with a temporary contract, but that's probably not helping...I was just curious
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