Submitted but unemployed


======= Date Modified 20 Jan 2011 14:36:00 =======
Well I submitted my thesis last week and expected to feel great but instead feel depressed. It was a long haul and I don't know how the viva will pan out. I have been looking for work and there is absolutely nothing out there, with or without the qualification. Wondering what I have done it all for if there is no job at the end of it. I am trying to get some journal articles for submission together but am lacking the motivation for it.

I thought submitting would be like a magic portal but instead I feel worse now than when I was writing, at least then I had focus and something to do. If the viva goes badly I don't know how I will bounce back.

Anyone else, submitted but feeling low? Any remedies?


I don't think its at all unusual to submit and then feel a sense of loss, sadness, increased stress, at loose ends...which feelings I think also can come as a surprise when submission has been as you say the "magic portal"--so the question is why doesn't handing it in feel as good as you imagined it would--and why all the down feelings?

I think by the end of writing a PhD you are tired and a bit burnt out. You have been mega-focused on something, and now that part of its done. The outcome might feel out of your hands, and there is still the weight of the viva to hang over you.

I felt a bit low after turning my thesis in...tired, numb...not happy, not relieved...just tired and numb and wondering why it felt like this.

Dazednconfused, do you know when your viva will be? Can you do little bits of viva prep? Can you do something to just help you relax and rest for another week or so--long outdoor walks, let your mind and body unwind from the PhD process?

The job prospects certainly do not help how you are feeling...its a big transition from PhD to "real world."

I would say--if you have the time...take another week off and do not demand much of yourself. Then slowly get into viva prep mode, job hunting mode, article submission mode. I think it takes a few weeks after submission to adjust to the "new reality."

I also thought getting the Dr title with a successful completion of thesis and viva would feel like some magic portal, but it also had feelings similiar to submission--tired--numb---and that sudden transformation I expected did not happen! For weeks, if not months, I used to say that life post PhD felt like life during the PhD, as I was still working long hours--this time with teaching, trying to do research and publish, etc. Nothing felt very different.

I think its usual and normal to feel low right after submission, and I would say, do not worry about how you are feeling, just rest a little bit and then start to focus on things again, bit by bit. Remember you have just done the equivalent of....( cannot think of any apt comparison for the momumental effort of a PhD) and your body and mind are bound to feel weary.


Hello DnC, what you are experiencing is actually fairly common for most people. The completion of a major task such as a degree or a Ph.D. often leaves us drained (if not burned out) and is generally difficult to "magically" fall into something else (i.e. a job) without more effort. This often translates into a moment of crisis in which there are apparently no alternatives. I believe this is also due to the fact that people expect a lot from their degrees these days, so after you finish university (at any level) you look at your certificate and you ask "Hey, why are not you earning money for me already?". This situation is also exasperated by the very bad economy.
I am telling you this simply because I have been there already. After I completed my Ph.D., I did not find the ideal situation that I pictured in my head and I found myself in a whole new problematic situation.
Eventually I had to push myself to find a job, as I am an expat and I was running out of money, but if you have the luck of having your parents close or have no immediate financial woes, I would personally take a long break (1-2months) from everything (Ph.D., job search, etc...). This will give you the chance of recollecting your ideas, rest, and focus on what you want to do. Lastly, you also have to consider that sometimes finding a job can be difficult if we don't make clear to ourselves what we want to do and where we want to go, so be honest with yourself when setting your future goals.