Fork in the road. Any advice?

posted
27-Oct-10, 16:42
edited about 19 seconds later
by JJJ
Avatar for JJJ
posted about 10 years ago
Hello guys,

I'm pretty new here. I have been reading the forum for quite some time now. Hope to hear some advice from you, especially those who have been through the same situation.

Before I started out with the PhD, I was pretty certain to take the academic route. There are 10 months left for me to finish it now, but for some reason, an academic career becomes less and less appealing. The first reason is the publish or perish attitude. I feel like I'm living my life in a limbo, that many things are put on hold for the publication. It's like my whole life is looming over me, publish and you're dead. Second, I was too naive before I accepted the PhD. Kinda thought that academics are very civil people, who are very focused on learning (yeah, a very nostalgic view I know). Turns out there are just as much mean and rude people in academia as there are anywhere else. I may be taking this too far , and I hate thinking it, but sometimes I have a feeling that some of the academics are doing this job a large part because they are socially inept (not all, ok? just some and unfortunately I cross their path). I've met post docs hiding data from me when the team agreed it should be handed to me. This happened regularly and I always have to talk my way through without involving the supervisor, because I don't want to seem childish having silly fights.

Right now, I'm telling myself that if I deal with all the stress and the morons anyway, I might as well get get a huge salary like they do in the industry. Very tempted to shift career path....

On the other hand, if I did leave academia, I'd be scared to regret it. What to do? Thanks much! Sigh :-(
posted
27-Oct-10, 16:56
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
I think I'm going through the same thing. I'm not so worried about the publications - I am getting some out though - more about the future as an academic given the recent announcements of fees and cuts etc. I'm not sure I want to be spoon feeding 17 year olds their degrees because they pay £12k a year, and I don't want to be sponsored by McDonalds - yet still being paid worse than anyone I know!

My plan is... get the PhD, publish the PhD studies, look around for what's out there, if I get a job in industry, I have the publications so I have a time limit of about 1-2 years to definitely make up my mind about which path to take. This is probably a little easier in my field, where practical experience in the workplace is valued. So I will have 1-2 years to decide whether to stay/go back into academia or get on with something else.

THe amoutn of work that is necessary as a lecturer though, it just seems so unappealing in terms of salary.
posted
27-Oct-10, 18:46
by JJJ
Avatar for JJJ
posted about 10 years ago
Thanks for sharing Sneaks. Yeah, it makes sense to get the degree, would be a waste not to after all the effort. Hope your plan works out. Will be glad to hear from you months from now. In the mean time, let's carry on!
posted
27-Oct-10, 18:50
by Cakeman
Avatar for Cakeman
posted about 10 years ago
Hi JJJ

From my job searching days it looked as if most of the best industry jobs were for people with a bit of post-doc experience. I would recommend, after finishing your PhD, take what is available be it post-doc or industry, but probably try to err on the post-doc side. I appreciate what you've just said, but not all academia is quite like that, then when you have done a post-doc, say 3 years.........look for a well paid industry position. Entry level industry and post-doc positions are approximately as well paid as each other these days, so it's probably worth a go in the short term, then make your move to industry when it suits you.

Remember the vast majority of post-docs do not become lecturers, just because you take one 3 year position does not mean you should be in it for life.
posted
02-Nov-10, 09:00
by JJJ
Avatar for JJJ
posted about 10 years ago
Thanks cakeman..been thinking about a postdoc, but I think it's going to put me deeper into academia that I won't have outside options anymore. Maybe it works in the natural sciences, but I'm more into business studies. Errr...I imagine having to look for a job a few months from now, and it would be darn embarassing if I go into an interview without any hands-on "business" experience....(that is, if i even get an interview..)

Thanks for your post anyway, I appreciate it.

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