Being enthusiastic/motivated towards PhD when you want a career change after


I was a research assistant/lead researcher for a project for two years prior to starting my PhD and really enjoyed its challenges and successes. I am now coming into the last year of my PhD and as I've moved through the project it's become very clear to me that I do not want to stay in science/research/academia. The environment doesn't suit me, and I genuinely don't think my brain is suited to the more thinking afield and continuous questioning/exploring data and new findings that is expected from a PhD student/researcher/academic.

My PhD has been a rough ride with covid disruptions and institute and supervisor changes throughout which has also not helped, and aside from the other PhD students at my institute I do not enjoy it here.

My supervisors want to see more enthusiasm from me for the project, but at this stage I really just can't wait to get this over with and move on with my life in a completely different career and chapter. So this post is essentially a word dump to see if there are others out there that felt/feel like this and how they may have kept focus and some semblance of enthusiasm toward their project - the only thing that I currently am enthusiastic towards is not having to do it anymore! (Which isn't helpful in terms of progress and completion!)


Do what you need to do to finish your PhD and get out.

You don't have to tell anyone about your plans to leave academia, including your supervisor.

Now that your are in your last year, plan your last months well. Do your week by week plan on what you need to do until you submit. Write down your essential tasks and commit to it with everything you have.

You owe it to yourself to work hard and finish the damn PhD since you are so close. Then get out with your PhD award in your hands and do something else that you love outside of academia.

There is no security in a research life in the university, living from grant to grant, and the pay is very low. Your decision to go is wise, but do not tell anyone until you leave academia.You do not want to be sabotaged (eg your superviosr takes you off first author because "you don't need it anymore", or your team treats you poorly because they won't be collaborating with you in the future)