Firstly, I should point out I'm asking advice for a friend as I already have a PhD but the problem is I'm rather single minded in the advice I would give!
He is thinking of quitting his PhD, but we all know we all say that at one time or another (I certainly used to regularly and at one point I almost did it). But he has the fortunate position of going into a job that he would enjoy and would find interesting (he knows the people, did project/internship for the company etc).
What would be the things most important to consider when making this decision? For me I'd just say, take the job - my PhD has been of little value and use really, and the skills I do use I'd picked up way before the end of it (he's at the end of his second year). So all the "employable" skills he already has, the technical knowledge he would actually use, he already has.
Just want to make sure there isn't anything I have missed out in giving advice for!
======= Date Modified 17 Oct 2011 11:11:37 =======
Unless he is one of those people who feel that they can never be truly fulfilled with a PhD under their belt, I would wholeheartedly, completely, utterly and absolutely agree with you! Maybe my view is somewhat jaundicised but I think he should take the job, particularly if it is one he will enjoy and is well qualified for. Studying for a PhD is not easy (no, no, no) but still I think it would be easier for him to resume his PhD studies at a later stage rather than pass on a great job now. Good for him - go for it.
======= Date Modified 17 Oct 2011 11:24:58 =======
I would say he should consider how he feels about his PhD, we all felt like quitting at some point, you say he's at the end of his second year, that's quite a long way in to quit if he enjoys it, on the other hand it's a long way to go if he hates it...
For me it would depend on his ideas about his future career, if he plans to go into this type of job anyway and having a PhD wouldn't benefit him there is alot to be said for going there now. If he has other ideas an a PhD would be important or valuable for his future career then he should probably continue. Another factor for me would be is the job long term or short term, you wouldn't want to quit a PhD for a job that is one year fixed term for example unless it is something you really want to do. The other thing to think about is money is this job paying a salary that he would be happy with long term.
I think you need to assess the value of the PhD in future career, and how much you might regret quitting if you do, you probably will onluy get one opportunity to do a PhD. I think it's a difficult decision and only he can really decide what to do, based on how his PhD is going.
yes, as below, would depend on what motivates him, what he wants to achieve. My hubby insists his PhD was a waste of time, as he's gone into an organisation at the same level he would have done after his MSc and actually works with people he taught, when they were doing their MScs, therefore, he has lost out (in his eyes) on several years of employement, where he could have been climbing the ladder.
However, if your friend is going into an industry where PhDs are the norm, then maybe it is necessary and he would regret leaving it later? I am sure my hubs wouldn't have the skills, confidence or ability to work in his current work without his PhD - and many have PhDs in his work team, so its given him a bit of validation.
The job situation out there and across the board is very, very grim. I've asked around in a number of places and people do not see it changing anytime soon. I would grab the job with both hands and even consider doing the PhD part-time, if necessary. My view is coloured given that I'm unemployed but given all you've said, especially if he would enjoy the job and find it interesting, and what I can gather from the job market in general he might seriously be best taking the job.
However, he needs to feel comfortable with any decision he makes as he'll have to live with it.
Thanks for your replies - Sneaks, your husband says exactly the same thing I do! Hence why I have a bit of a biased view when giving an opinion to others.
The job is kind of an open offer, so he could take it now or take it at the end of his PhD, it's just whether the delay is worth it when the PhD won't give him anything extra than he already has and he's not really enjoying the PhD as a whole or the topic in itself particularly. And he's scared that it would be "the easy way out", but actually I think stepping away after 2 years is actually far from an easy decision!
I am in very much the same position where I work: headful of knowledge with limited practical application. Doubtless the skills I have picked up along the way will come in useful at some point. Anyway, I really think your friend ought to take the job for all of the highly relevant reasons given below. I work with people who haven't done PhDs, but their skills and the quality of work they produce is currently what I'm trying to develop - I feel left behind in some ways because of my PhD! Years of experience in a sector will trump a PhD any day in my opinion - and for good reason.
As you mention this is an open offer which he could take either now or after his PhD, it seems that this company are keep to have him. While it might seem that the offer would be open to him when he finishes how confident is he that this would be the case in what could be 2 years time.
As others have said I would be tempted to look into the option of working and studying part-time this perhaps is the best of both worlds?
tbh, I'm not so sure about the part time thing. Fair enough - if he loved his subject, but if he isn't keen on it anyway, it could be a horrible, demoralising thing to lug around with you - trying to use your precious spare time to go back to the project you hate isn't a fun thing to do on the weekend when you've been working hard all week.
If he's close to finishing, I'd say, grit his teeth - get it done, but if he's got a fair way to go then I'd call time and take the job. BUT it all depends on individual circumstances. No doubt he WILL get a job after the PhD if he so wishes, and likewise, the job could fall through at any stage given the market, or might not be what its cracked up to be. I think it just depends on what his end goals are.
Thanks again for all the replies - we did discuss about doing it part-time and I pointed out why I thought this wasn't a good idea in my opinion having seen people do it (and the experience of people on here) and also I remember writing up my PhD at the same time as working - not quite the same thing admittedly but that was 9 months of having motivation to go to work, then do writing, and that was bad enough let alone doing it for several years!
Have taken the comments and used them to help further the discussion, it's not something that is just going to be decided on overnight but all your comments are really, really appreciated!
I might not have been clear in my last post about what I was suggesting, I thought if the company were keen to have him work there (as it seems) could he work for them part-time and do his PhD part-time? I wouldn't suggest working full time and studying part-time, it would be hard enough working full-time and writing up, but still carrying out the work whilst doing a full time job would be very difficult.
It's not ideal but working 3 days a week and doing the PhD 2-3 days a week could be the best of both worlds if everyone is happy with it. But I would imagine he would have to want to do the PhD for it to work, because it would probably become difficult at times to deal with both.
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