Signup date: 30 Apr 2009 at 5:09pm
Last login: 31 Jul 2014 at 9:51pm
Post count: 238
Jesus, did you read the thread? It was the PhD side of things that was really getting me down - I went into it loving the subject, I now love it - only hated it during the PhD.. think it through.
Honestly - no regrets whatsoever. Only thing I regret is not getting into work sooner!
I thought about becoming a cop for ages and started the training and everything! I'm glad I never went for it, though. I'm not really that fir and don't think I could face the abuse every day. Bit of a pipe dream...
There was no way I was going to retrain - I just couldn't afford it (monetary wise and time-wise!) - and I did like analogue design, it was just the PhD tint that was really getting me down.
I hear you about it being complicated - nobody remembers it all - that's why there are so many reference manuals!
I agree - it's hard. Pretty damn hard. EE has to be one of the hardest courses out there in my opinion, and I agree it is ridiculous some business courses etc get paid more. So the effort:reward ratio is pretty poor. However the salary ain't too bad in general - say £40-60k average after 8-10 years at it? I'm approx £30k after 3 years. The stuff I know, without being big-headed, is unbelievable lol... digital and analogue design on nanometre scale, advanced maths, circuit layout, systems, scripting and coding, digital signal processing, RF, all the general EE concepts such as frequency compensation, fourier transforms, data converters, switching converters, lots more stuff.
The work will follow you - unlike that for other disciplines. Probably because it's quite artistic, you can't help but thinking about this or that - you can see that as a good or bad thing.
Ah so you were in test before! And now you're in controls? Isn't that like programming PLCs for big companies like Rolls Royce etc?
Without sounding too negative, taking the PhD to be a lecturer but not liking the subject isn't a great reason. Why not go into general teaching? At least that'd only be a year or so of further training. If I were to change career I couldn't imagine doing anything that'd take too many more years/more money.
Sometimes the company you work for can also affect your outlook - I've been in a real stinker... but the current one is REALLY good, part of the team and doing my own thing etc. Definitely make sure it's not something like that rather than the profession.
If you're definitely unhappy I would make sure to seek a change. I did this when I quit my PhD, as you can read from this thread. I was SO unhappy, and now things have never been better! I am still in engineering, doing analogue design for motor drivers, mainly. There's lots to learn and it's complicated - but I find it not such a bad job and pays decent. So a good middle ground, IMO... I'd hate to work in a bank, or be a stressed lecturer, or be some vicious businessman - also would hate to do something I love and get paid peanuts. I come into work wearing a t-shirt and get on with the design work.
Got to run, fee free to add more. But my honest advice - be true to yourself as cheesy as that sounds. Listen to YOUR needs and bugger being afraid of what anybody else thinks.
Wow how did you even find this thread, it's so old now! Anyway, my e-mail indicated there was a reply to it, so here I am, back from my slumber lol..
I did do a new thread to say that all was going great. I got a GREAT new job in industry and have completed my MSc (that's what I deferred to).
Power systems and controls - pretty cool. I do analogue design for power applications like motor drives.
Man as soon as I joined industry the maths part took a bit of a back seat - there are a lot of rules of thumb and there's just not enough time to be doing complicated analysis all of the time. Of course the job can still be tough, thugh - I regularly read up on the topic to keep ahead of the game and learn new things. But I hear you... If it's just the complicated nature of the work, then I would urge you to push on, as once you get past that barrier, it can be really enjoyable - like learning guitar! Learn the tough stuff and then without thinking you'll be playing tunes (or designing things).
To be honest electronics doesn't rock my boat as such - some people seem REALLY into it, but there are loads of other people who just treat it as a job. I think there's a point in every engineer's career when things can seem overwhelming - let's face it - iot is one of the TOUGHEST yet poorly paid jobs for what the job entails. Anyway... I don't know exactly the source of your misery - would you say it's electronics - or the PhD tint to the job? I know I wanted to quit engineering altogether when I was doing mine... What would you retrain as? A big step - you could always stay in electronics but do something else (test.... applications - deal with the end product and meet customers). If you expand some more I can maybe help you out. Life's too short to be miserable - if you REALLY want to make a change, the sooner the better. Who cares about making others happy - it's a dog eat dog world, unfortunately! You should explore all options with no bias and see how you feel about each.
Do expand on why you feel the way you do as I can't tell if it's PhD anxiety or hate of the job.
Thanks Teek & Eska - yes indeed, I respect everybody's decision. Of course many love their PhDs and that is great! The most important things are happiness and health :) I'm just so, so happy that I've found the path that is right for me - the company I work for right now is just incredible - close to home, great people, really interesting work, low stress - I hope it lasts forever! :D
djlu - did you also defer to an MSc then?
Sorry Goodboy - I didn't understand your message (though to be fair, I'm just up! :o )
I think the last 20 years have proved pretty abysmal.
One thing we need to fix for sure - how are we going to make money?
Thatcher had a get out of jail card with North Sea Oil. But what now? The Indians and Chinese know a strong grounding in maths & science is a good bet - the Germans know manufacturing is a good bet - have we been left behind?
Anyway -back to work!
Ah so this is a left-wing forum! No wonder we failed to see eye to eye at times.
Labour ruined the country. Mass immigration which we had no say in, selling our gold at record low prices, public sector expansion which the private sector is squeezed to pay for, pension liabilities in the trillions of pounds, power given to youngsters instead of teachers and police, benefits culture that makes working a joke, 200%+ house price inflation when wages never rose to the same degree, 50% degree target making the value of a degree a joke, further destruction of manufacturing and engineering, instead focusing the economy on asset prices and banking - I could go on. (Housing is my major gripe - if it had been properly included in the inflation figures we would have had hyper-inflation years ago - the cost of living is tremendous).
As a practical engineer I look forward to the hard medicine that has to be administered. Any party would have had to made cuts but left-wing loons can't shake the 'bad Tory' image. Fact is Labour have always come to power with a budget surplus and left with a huge deficit - make no mistake, this is Labour's fault. Socialists are effectively communists - they take money off the people to expand the State and create a dependency through this benefits culture.
Time to get our heads out of the sand and face up to facts - we've been living way beyond our means, smelling the roses for too long. We've got to start making real money again and start cutting out waste. I look forward to facing reality, and to contribute to a wealthy economy through my engineering output. Let's balance the books and stop living in fairy land at last - PHEW!
======= Date Modified 17 Mar 2010 11:52:56 =======
I do wish those who continue with their PhDs well - but after my experience I freely admit I am not a fan of them. I do also admit to being a tad confrontational in a few posts as it can be frustrating getting few replies after such a saga as I've been through, and to see other threads with plentiful replies on how to 'stick to it' when I believe many people would be best off doing otherwise - one girl e-mailed me 5 months ago saying she had suicidal tendencies but continued on after support on the forum, which I believe was the wrong path for her and irresponsible of those giving the advice (admittedly she did not reveal this on the public forum but the consensus seems to be 'stick to the PhD' over do what feels right). Certainly when I was in a state, 80% of the advice recommended I stay on, which would have been completely the wrong advice.
With respect to 'real work' - I understand your take on this. I'm sure a lot of PhDs are very useful - though considering the farce that is the uni 50% target, the decline of real industry in the UK etc, I'm strongly of the mind that what we need is more engineering, industry, apprenticeships, exports. I view these as being fundamental to any real recovery, producing things that people want to buy, which is why I favour the old-school rigorous subjects. I've worked at four engineering companies, and each time the research student would be in a corner doing something nobody really knew or cared about, getting little team interaction and not learning so much from people about the 'real' job. Now I'm in charge of projects and have to liaise with customers, get designs out on time that really matter using practical rules of thumb, and the differences are stark with what I see many PhDs do. I'm sorry if my opinion on this is disheartening - a large part of the reason I believe research isn't respected as much as it should be (and this from the views of most engineers I've worked with) is that funding doesn't come from where it should, i.e. industry. This is the real driving force which produces money and 'useful' products and if it were to fund research, I believe it would be a whole lot more relevant.
To some degree I think even a degree is a bit abstract. I definitely needed mine as the work is pretty hardcore and complex - but in many cases I strongly believe in simply leaving school to get an apprenticeship. The split is 50/50 between PhDs I know who are about to finish - half loved their research and half can't wait for it to be over. Unfortunately none of them are going into academia as the positions are like gold-dust and the risk:reward ratio is pretty poor compared to getting a job.
I am definitely glad if you're enjoying what you do, so don't mistake me here. It's great that people can pursue what they love - and hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end. I think it's good to have people with all sorts of different perspective on here - certainly I was glad of the few who backed me up all those months ago. Whether the tone is for or against research, it doesn't really matter - and it shouldn't. It's what we all have to contribute that counts.
======= Date Modified 17 Mar 2010 09:15:37 =======
Thanks so much - did you ever go back into a PhD?
Personally I'd rather be a truck driver - at least you'd be getting £35k and no staying up until midnight marking essays! Nobody in my current company rates them - in fact they see them as a disadvantage in many respects - and I must admit I'm glad to be out and doing real applicable work.
Glad you got out and felt better about it :) It really is such a big decision - and as soon as I made it I felt so much better. If anything it built my character no end - which wouldn't have happened had I been working under stress, convincing myself things were fine otherwise. Shows you did what was right for you - so well done! I do wonder how those who pm'd me so long ago and decided to stay on are actually getting on, and whether they feel it will benefit them in future.
======= Date Modified 16 58 2010 19:58:39 =======
You may remember me from a while back - serious doubts about my PhD and decided to quit. Massive step... deferred to MSc and managed to get a new job. (Original thread title was 'Seriously Thinking About Quitting' and it was quite a saga)
Well.... months and months later, I have finally finished my MSc report - it is ALL done, the weekday nights are my own again! The job is amazing in every way - in charge of my projects now and out of the rut I was in during research, plus the pay is good lol. I feel MUCH MUCH better about myself and life in general - I can't believe I would still have 2 years to go if I'd stayed on with the PhD - and now Im getting more experience than I thought possible in industry (engineering).
Anyway, I was really in a miserable place back then before I quit, but I must say things have worked out perfectly - I could not be happier! For me the PhD was the wrong route to go - stressed out, working all the time, trying to convince myself it was good, setting myself little treats etc for getting work done - but what a farce! Getting a real job was the best thing I ever decided to do - good luck to those of you doing research, but it wasn't for me - and keep an eye on the jobs front... it's shockingly bad out there - I was lucky to have a lot of practical engineering experience!
So that's me signing out and ready to take up new hobbies in addition to my guitar playing. I toyed with the idea of an MBA in future but I'm learning so much about business as it is and I believe, like degrees, the value of an MBA is dropping due to the sheer volume studying for one. Instead I plan to learn an extra skill in my spare time to perhaps supplement income, and look at jobs outside of the UK where taxes will be lower and housing a tad more affordable.
I received tens of e-mails in response to my first thread - a few helpful people, so thanks!! And many more revealing their complete misery at the thought of their PhD - all of whom continued with them! My advice would be to listen to your heart - I put off quitting for so long because I listened to my head (recession, lack of employment etc) - but a PhD is a real slog, and you should be honest with yourself whether or not if it's for you. Good luck to those that are enjoying theirs!
That's it! See you!
So..... it's been a while. My MSc thesis is almost complete - maybe give it another month.
In the end I took a job closer to home who gave me a raise to tempt me from the other company - I'm in charge of a project and the work is amazing! Things have worked out SO well, ten minutes to work, healthy salary, good experience, getting my MSc hopefully. I keep saying it but I am SO glad I'm not stuck on my PhD anymore - in my heart I know I probably would have failed in the end and been miserable, and now I'm several steps up the experience/pay ladder instead. I think I burnt bridges with maybe one or two people, but I have learned from this process about people in general, who matters and who doesn't, and that you have to be true to yourself no matter how difficult that is - I am so much stronger and all my friends comment on my new assertiveness.
It's gutting for a lot of youngsters in the UK (specifically) now, though - meltdown next year, I reckon. It's all about wealth preservation of the older generation and keeping property prices astronomically high. Masked inflation and massive unemployment. There's a real edge in the department I was a part of as postgrad jobs are like gold dust. And even if you get one, say on £30k if you're lucky, after rent and the cost of living you're saving bugger all, so what's the point? I'm potentially looking to overseas work after I get the experience I need as the UK is no place for a young adult to be starting out anymore. Already I'm converting my savings to another currency as there are clear warnings that sterling might tank.
Anyway enough gloom there lol - I will update when I hand my MSc in and hopefully get awarded with it :)
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