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Quitting a highly paid PhD

Thanks, guys. It is a good feeling to receive honest advice from people. Thanks to all of you. Yes I need some regulation in workload, and probably some rest (couple of month of leave) to restart my brain. I have already started feeling it will be a silly decision to quit. Maybe I do not deserve the good treatment I am receiving from my supervisor, and her generosity. The volatile decisions I have mentioned are a whole bag of last-minute change of mind which has affected other people as well. This included a change in my department two weeks before start of the program, and changing my mind and coming back to my supervisor two weeks later with a request to be reinstated as student!

Quitting a highly paid PhD

======= Date Modified 02 Jun 2010 07:00:30 =======
Thanks, Sbcc.

Here are a few alternatives in front of me:

1- Suck it up and continue with PhD+job, and then "suck up" the employment in a field I am not a big fan of, and try to shift my research as an independent investigator to what I want.

2- Quit the job, keep moving the PhD forward: very uneasy given an entire spectrum of volatile decisions I have made and the inevitable tension in my workplace. Yes my supervisor is nice, but no, I cannot trust the unfriendly environment that will be result of my indecision.

3- Quit the job, transfer my PhD with funding to somewhere else: I can use this opportunity to shift to a field I love, still not an easy option. I will have only one year of funding for the new PhD.

4- Quit the job and PhD altogether, take some rest and do some soul searching (thanks lord I am not in huge debt etc so I can handle an employment gap financial wise), then apply next year to the program I love: I probably have no chance of getting scholarship with this fiasco on my resume! Still able to pay through savings (+, I am single).

5- Keep thinking about this and go crazy and enjoy a tenure at a mental institution ;o)

Quitting a highly paid PhD

Thanks for the advice and sharing your experience.

In a nutshell, knowing that I am generally an undecided person, my supervisor explicitly asked me not to screw up this employment offer (which is part of a longer term plan for my employment at the same institution after m graduation) and make my mind before applying because this is a long term investment on candidates. She is truly a nice and supportive person but I cannot expect to turn tables whenever and however I want and expect to maintain a healthy relationship. That is why I feel I cannot quite so easily quit employment and go back to my research. Our department is small, and I pretty much have to leave this university if I alienate the few people around.

There is an old fashion way of doing PhD, which is being committed to a study subject for a few years and being cutoff the world. I can feel why this system has evolved this way and why violation of old traditions are dangerous! I am being stressed out swimming in the fast lane!

Quitting a highly paid PhD

======= Date Modified 02 59 2010 06:59:50 =======
Hi guys,


I am second PhD student in Canada. I am being paid very well. My thesis is also going pretty well. Despite this, I am deeply unhappy with what I am doing and already started hating my entire future as a scientist in this field. I wish I had not accepted the side job because without that I would still be living a good life with the scholarship and and focusing more on the research I like. But first it might be too late and I am worried my different decisions will create tension between me and my supervisor, and second it does not necessarily deflate my hatred towards the field of study anyways.

I am seriously thinking of saying goodbye to this altogether but I just don't know how soon after this I will start regretting my decision. It is really a stressful situation . Any help from you is much appreciated.