Applying for jobs before leaving PhD advice

10-Oct-18, 09:07
by rh8990
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posted about 8 months ago
I'm seriously considering leaving my PhD and finding a job. I have been put off staying in academia - love the idea of teaching, and I used to enjoy research (before the PhD) but I am not enjoying the PhD at all, it's making me unhappy. My supervisor does not instil confidence in me and it just generally unpleasant to work with. I have anxiety problems, everything I do comes with an undertone of worry that my supervisor is going to get angry at any mistakes. I can't really switch supervisors as it was her project idea/grant funding, and the faculty is just too close-knit for comfort. I just don't feel like two (out of 3) more years of feeling dreadful is worth it when I am not sure a PhD means enough to me. I have also heard too many negative things about academia (i.e., teaching is often minimal, research is more about delegating work and looking for funding than actually conducting it, etc). I think I want out. However, I don't feel like I can just quit the PhD before having another job in place (I have bills, and the PhD stipend is my only income).I am not sure how best to go about doing so in terms of the CV/ref etc. I don't really feel it's appropriate to state on applications that i'm currently a PhD student (prompting confusion of why I am applying for jobs) and I don't feel comfortable putting my supervisor down as a reference due to the feeling of bad blood between us, assuming I do leave. Should I just apply as if i've already left and somehow list the last year as an unfinished PhD? Does anyone have any advice/experience to draw on in terms of how they listed their PhD experience on their CV/application, whether they used their supervisors down as references or if you found the process particularly hard? Any advice would be really appreciated, might make reality a little clearer for me.
10-Oct-18, 15:51
by sphdsoc
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posted about 8 months ago
Not speaking from experience, but as someone also trying to navigate either leaving a PhD for a job or a different program, I am viewing my funded PhD now as a job - one that I am free to leave at any time for any reason I want. There are so many reasons to quit jobs (shitty boss, uninteresting work, a cap on your promotion or progression, poor work conditions, feel you are no longer learning, etc.) and the same applies for a PhD.

I totally sympathize with you as I am going through the exact same thing, and as I am not a citizen of the country/continent my PhD is in and so desperately want to stay here, I have to find something else before I can quit. Will absolutely not list my supervisor here as a reference, but will list people from the past who can attest to my good work. I am creating a new CV now that will include the fact that I've started a PhD now, but I don't think I will address it too much until I get to an interview stage.
10-Oct-18, 22:40
edited about 26 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 8 months ago
You could finish your studies with a master instead of a PhD and use that to apply for jobs. Or you can apply for jobs now and leave once you get one. There is no right or wrong answer. You can say you are a graduate scientist but do not use your supervisor as reference. Anyone else in the lab or nearby group who is trustworthy and could give you good ref?
11-Oct-18, 19:56
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 8 months ago
First of all, I am so sorry for the hard times you have faced, but I would like to tell you that you are not alone, I am recently in the same situation which ended up resignation after one year from my position and I think may be that was good to get rid of toxic supervisor besides that he didn't allow another student after four years of work to defend. Honestly, the vibes were very toxic hard, very alone and it wasnot even easy up to the moment.

For references, never ever put her name, my ex-supervisor did bad-mouthing about me, you can see my post in the forum, so dont put her.

For CV, I think you have to be honest and I think there is no problems just mention that the research was not matching your research and expectation and try to be positive.

Lastly, select the right to moment to quit when you have a backup plan so that you can afford your living and paying bills.

Look, think again about it, if you can continue and do you think you can finish under her, endure it, but if it really very toxic you can consider the back up and then leave her lab.

Wish you can take the right decision and think about it again, because it is not easy decision.

Good Luck!


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