I'm a masters genetics graduate and have spent about a year in various labs as a technician and assistant [mostly voluntary work]. I'm really trying to get a job as a technician or assistant in genetics or biosciences, but I'm debating whether to aim for a PhD now, or after I have a few more years experience.
I'm concerned that since it will take me many applications to get a PhD position, I might get one that I'm only partially interested in, and that will in turn lock me into a field that I might not be interested in by the end. As a rule I only apply for jobs that I can do and I have interest in, but it still concerns me making such a life-changing decision.
My plan was to find a technician/assistant job and then get a better idea of what I'm getting into, but am I being too hesitant? Should I just get on with it, or am I making the right decision to get more familiar with the process and field? I'd hate to waste my time, because I honestly enjoy lab work as a technician or assistant, I'm not that interested in fighting for grants or running my own group.
Any advice would be appreciated, even if its just a kick up the ass.
If you have no plans to run your own group or fight for grants endlessly, there really isn't any reason for you to do a PhD. If you wanted to a PhD because you like doing research, have you thought of a career as a scientist in a big pharma/small company? With a master, it is easier to find an entry level position as scientist I. You can move up the scale to be scientist II, etc later on. If you are lucky, they might even sponsor you to do a PhD after a few years of working with them.
The resume for an industry role differs significantly to an academic one. The industry wants people who are more results and profit oriented with excellent communications and networking skills. The academia, especially RA positions only emphasise on technical skills. Since you were volunteering, I could understand why the PIs love you. Who would reject free labour in addition to the cheap labour in the form of PhD students? As a PhD student myself, it was hard to admit that last bit.
Check out the websites for people transitioning to the industry. There are plenty. Customise your resume according to their suggestions. Talk to more people from the industry to understand what they want. It will take a while before you hit anything. Positions in the industry are mainly permanent, unlike the academia which is mostly contract based. So they ARE picky about who they take on and train. So you will need to try harder.
I hope these are "good kicks up the ass" to shove you to decide your life and get moving. If you still prefer to volunteer, how about paid internships in companies instead? Think about it.
What sort of jobs are you looking for? My understanding is that most entry level jobs by the big pharma do not require PhD. For example, sales rep, scientist I, product specialist, etc... I do not know your interest. So unless you are looking for higher positions like manager, assoc director, MSL etc, you do not need a PhD. Just look at the job websites.
Look up "transitioning from academia to industry resume". Cheeky Scientist comes up a lot. Perhaps you could join them if you wish.
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