FAO: ReaderinPikey (apologies Reenie – he can’t go unanswered)

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy


Having read what you've got to say, I gather you're from a 'city' background. Much of what you have had to say suggests the only reason we should do something in life is to enhance our career prospects. There's very much a feeling in your posts of get your degree at 21/22, perhaps do a relevant masters then hit the career ladder running at full speed immediately after.

You seem to regard PhDs as irrelevant in the jobs market, without considering that a PhD is a full time project requiring a set of skills (thoroughness, data analysis - which can be very relevant to the real world, work ethic, the ability to spot original data or generate original findings). Unfortunately, your opinion is shared by a good many in the real world. I do concede PhDs seem to be poor at selling themselves.

We all have our reasons for doing a PhD and for me, I desperately wanted to undertake a challenging project that produced new findings and an original contribution to (in my case) science. That was the best way for me to do it.

You don't seem to understand that a lot of the science and technology in use today perhaps started in a funding council funded research project in collaboration with a University and perhaps an industrial partner. Your average PhD or post-doc may effectively be assessing a concept idea, which will become an everyday item or safety critical system in years to come. Those funded projects are where a lot of ideas gain their first breath of life. And we have to work hard, very hard, at least as hard as you in your professional exams you do alongside your career. I don't think those exams are bullsh*t, as they assess competency in your profession, say to reach chartered status in a chosen society and that helps employers assess your potential abilities.


Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

If we all followed your career model, they where would many of the ideas and theories (humanities also) that become everyday life in future years come from. Where would the lecturers and academics that teach the next generation of scientists and engineers come from? You need us. You need those people who've been at the head of their respective fields to be the teachers and researchers that do their bit in helping society develop.

As regards waiting until we are 50 and doing a PhD as a career break, it is best for many of us to do a PhD earlier in life as by that stage many have other commitments such as kids and mortgages to look after (respect to those to manage those commitments with a PhD).

To finish, a PhD is a full time job (hence me disliking the word 'studentship', but that's another argument). Given many of us have put in 12 to 16 hours days just how are we supposed to develop our 'proper' careers alongside a PhD (even part-time, it's tough)? To many of us, we wish whether in academia or in the real world to work as serious scientists and engineers or in another chosen profession. If we find ourselves a few years behind on the ladder or wage scale, that goes back to a misunderstanding in the real world of what a PhD is.

You refer to (some) PhD and academic people as arrogant. May I suggest that the reverse is partially true, in that some in the real world look down on us, pigeon holing us as having no clue about the real world, disorganised or elitist? We can't all be leading city banker types who live life perpetually in the fast lane (again, if we were, where would people in professions come from).


Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

I myself came back from the real world at the age of 30 to do my science-based PhD. I personally felt it was the right time and my real world career was going nowhere fast. Basically, I needed a reboot and a PhD was a way of doing that. I specifically chose a science/engineering-based PhD with an eye on employability after it was finished. Admittedly things did not go as planned after, but circumstances beyond my control (some I've mentioned on here, some personal and private) have contributed to that.

Some chose to do PhD straight from degree and that to me is okay too. There is also doing a PhD for the love of research and our subject - that is also okay. We all want to do what makes us happy as a person and that high flying (city???) career you suggest as an idealised model may be for you but not for others. We don't all fit into your idealised model.

I'm aware you've been banned for perpetually reviving old threads (bad boy!!!), however, I hope you're able to read this as I felt your remarks could not go without response.

I've written the above admittedly from a science and engineering point of view. Anyone choose to follow up from a humanities perspective?

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


You know I was just thinking yesterday why on earth readerinpikey was on this forum when every post submitted is so anti-PhD & academic research...
I guess some people just like to be controversial and you can hide behind a screen name on a forum so what better way to do it. Personally I think he/she is overcompensating for something. I may have a 'useless' PhD but I'm proud of myself and you know what - I might try to publish it if i get half a chance. Readerinpikey spews rubbish. Don't listen to it, I didn't.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Perhaps he feels inadequate because he has or, more likely, had a PhD-holding other half who's made a success of herself whilst his own career has hit the buffers. :-)

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


No problem at all Ian, thanks for your post. Readerinpikey is welcome to request to be reinstated, but hasn't as yet asked to be. He'll need to watch his manners though! ;)

For the record, I won't ban people for being negative about PhDs / research (many people on here need a chance to vent) but I will ban people for rule breaking or being rude. I have the power!