Should I quit PhD and start full time job with just over 6 months left!?!?!?


So I will try make this as brief as possible.

I am in my third year of a 3 year Research PhD got an extension fully funded until June 2023.
The company that are funding me have offered me a full time position in a very similar role to what I currently do in the PhD. (Amazing!)
Its a full time position so minimum 40 hours a week. They want me to start around start of November.

My current stage of my PhD:
I have a draft thesis of approx 20,000 words (Introduction & Literature Rev) - I am carrying out fieldwork once a week and still have some senors that are not working 100% (Which means I have to figure out how out fix them still). I collect data from the fieldwork site once a week too (Alot of data). As of yet I have no clear plan of how to analyse any of my data and there are three different types that will need to be analysed differently. I have started writing methods but can only write so much until I figure out what analysis I am going to do and IF that analysis is appropriate. I got some help off of a fellow PhD candidate in a similar role the other day and there is a lot of statistics involved in the analysis, which I have no experience in so I will probably have to do a workshop or a module in statistics. The fact I have no clear plan for data analysis, as you can imagine, leads to a vast amount of procrastination, which further delays progress.

Discussed this with my supervisor but he had no solution as what I should do regarding the PhD.

Has anyone been in a similar situation?
Is it physically possible to get that much PhD work done outside of a 40 hour working week while still getting a healthy 8 hours sleep!!!


I have been through this process so many times... I am so glad I didn't quit. I just needed rest and help from people outside of the study. I got a PhD Coach and was so grateful.


I think it is possible but you can ask for extension. Do not quit after reaching that far. Is it possible to ask the company to differ yours starting date a few months?


Hi, highopes,

Let's analyse your situation:
- Amazing full time position in area of interest
- Job needs to start in Nov
- Third year PhD with no clear plan for data analysis and clueless supervisor
- No guarantee of PhD completion
- No guarantee of job after PhD if rejecting this one

- Will you mind possibly not finishing your PhD? What you have mentioned here with regards to your PhD study and unhelpful supervisor are unhealthy. You could be delayed significantly with no end in sight

This is my opinion. Bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

If the job does not require you to finish your PhD, take the job first. Worry about the PhD later. Ultimately, you complete a PhD so that you can have a better job and future. If this is the one, take it.


Thanks for all your replies! :)

The company has not yet advertised the job so it's looking more like the new year realistically before I get started!
I still have to go through the process of applying for the job and going to an interview, so I have been trying to put the problem out of my head until I have successfully made it through both of these!
However, it's extremely hard to focus on my PhD at the moment, as mentioned previously I am trying to write up as much as I can but it's so difficult!
And since I last posted, I have come across two professional people in a similar industry who both advised me to complete the PhD that there will be more opportunities to come in the future!
So although I agree wholeheartedly with you @tru the main reason I took this PhD was to gain employment in the industry, however, I feel having come this far the past three years of my life will be a waste if I don't complete it!
I definitely don't think it's possible to do both so I was thinking of two possiilties:

1. Try to negotiate with the new employeer to only work 3 days a week, then do the PhD in my own time the other days
2. Try and change my PhD to part-time for the remainder of it and get it finished outside full week working hours.
But I am not sure if you can just change your PhD three-quarters of the way through to part-time, I asked my supervisor he didn't know either!


I think one of the main questions to ask yourself is whether the lack of a PhD will hold you back in the future.

If you intend to ever return to academia, it will.

If you don't ever intend to return, it can depend on the sector, but it may well not.

However, given you're so close to completion, it seems a potential waste of an opportunity. The other professionals advising you are entirely correct that job opportunities tend to be more frequent than opportunities to complete a funded PhD that's already 2/3rds of the way there.

I think probably key to resolving this on your own side is reflecting on what you want to do, not just for the next 2-5 years, but for the rest of your career. If a PhD would hold value for that, then it would suggest you should strongly lean towards completion. If it would not, then make sure you reflect not just in terms of the role the company are offering you, but in applications to future companies, internal progression, or other more senior vacancies, and how you expect to progress your career.

It does sound like there are still issues with the PhD, that will require significant work. Do be mindful of the fact that, if you agree to work 3 days a week, it's almost inevitable that the company's immediate deadlines and tasks will take priority, and that 3 days a week will become an effective 5. You will need a lot of negotiating skills and firmness to prevent that being the case, and that will certainly be difficult if it's your first paid role in industry. If you do want to complete the PhD, I'd certainly lean more towards a delayed recruitment that will give you the time to first focus the PhD, then the job, rather than attempting both at once.



I took the job!
I started at the beginning of 2023!
I love the job and my team and its such a relief to have a proper income!

I am also still doing my PhD, and when I say 'doing' I have continued fieldwork. The writing part not so much!
I was due to submit in December(this year) but I am not anywhere near finished my writing up stage. I still have to analyse data ha let alone write about it! I expressed my concerns to my supervisor, and currently we are trying find a way of extending my time a little more. So fingers crossed we get somewhere with that.

It's not as hard as I imagined to juggle the two but I got incredible lucky with my boss, he's been through a similar situation to me and is very caring and understanding about giving me some flexibility to work on my PhD. I don't know if I would be as content as I am doing both if I didn't have him as a boss. Even with the flexibility, the writing part is tough. I have very little motivation to sit down and write unless it's on the likes of this or in my journal. Hence, I came on here looking for some motivation. But said I would update my comment in case anyone else is in a similar situation.

Although I don't have as much writing as I 'should' have done, my anxiety and stress isn't as bad as it was when I was working from home alone. Talking to people and getting out of the house has helped me so much with that side of things. Of course there are bad days, when I become so overwhelmed with how much PhD work I have left to do that I can't bring myself to do anything at all. But for the most part, I think working in the new job has made me realise that there is in fact a wonderful life beyond that of a PhD. I am really happy I took the job and if I somehow manage to wing a PhD some day, well that will be the icing on the cake but the cake is fine without the icing too 😁


Hi highopes,

Thanks for coming back with your update. Happy to hear that it is all working out for you. I am sure you are smashing it at your work. Sounds like you have a bright future ahead for you. Congratulations!