Job or PhD after Masters...


Before embarking on my Master's, my primary goal was to go into academia and do a PhD. But, whilst I am still very interested in that, I am doubtful about the prospects after the PhD and, at 23 years old, whether I should instead spend those 3 years gaining valuable experience, making more money and have more diverse career prospects.

A job seems to be more fitting to my personal goals (i.e. driving, moving out, dating etc.) and financial goals (i.e. increase savings, invest, start side-business etc.). I will not likely earn much on a PhD (if I even get funded at all). On the other hand, a PhD seems more fitting to my personality, need for autonomy and skills.

I think the best option would be to work for 2-5 years and then consider whether I wanted to pursue a PhD after I have achieved said goals and got industry experience.

I am keeping my options open, so I will not disregard a PhD opportunity nor a job opportunity depending on which comes first. But, PhD applications tend to take much longer to process and requires more preliminary work compared to jobs.

I just wanted to share this to hear your opinions and any experiences you have had with this.

Avatar for rewt

I always say, do a PhD if you think you can spend 3 years working on that project. You could love being a PhD student and be amazing at research but hate the project. If you love the project you can do the crazy hours for awful pay without breaking a sweat - which makes things easier in the long run. A PhD is rarely a good investment but something you chose to do.

So I wouldn't rule either out, but look at the compare the contents of the job with the contents of the PhD.


FutureProfessor, what stands out from your post is that in listing all of your goals, not one of them describes what you want to do on a day to day basis as a career.
That is a big list of things which is going to eat at you in the bowels of your PhD when the nights are long, success is a distant memory and all your friends are amassing the things you dream about. I would be very concerned about whether you are in the right place just now to start that journey.

A job industry will gradually give you skills and autonomy plus everything else on your list. Honestly, that sounds like the best option for you,