Thinking about doing a PhD? You think you are really smart? Think that getting a PhD will help your career? Think again. Getting a job is much better than 6+ years PhD. Run away from academia, run for your life. Slow painful death in this prison

When are you unplugging from the matrix (aka quitting PhD/academia)?

Editor note: Delayed note. Original article received Dec 28, 2019

Gonna be 2020 soon – when are you unplugging from the matrix?
It’s been two years since I wrote my first post on this blog. Rather than disappearing into the oblivion, I thought of giving an update – and perhaps some hope to others sitting on the fence about quitting the graduate school. 
After a year of frustration to find real work, I wanted to report that I have landed a job in a startup with a decent pay since October 2018. Yes, there are challenges to deliver results, sometimes late nights or weekend work and the pressure to perform. But no slavery or doing bullshit work (that is doing nowhere going experiments and publishing papers that no one reads). But here are the two reasons that stand out in my industry experience that should send you on warpath with PhD/postdoc:
1. I am 42 now (my post was written when I was 40) and as I mentioned I make a decent wage now. I have a Master’s coworker in my team, ten years younger than me. He takes the same salary as me. Simply because he has more industry experience. It is usually said that you should not compare with yourself, not with others. Correct! The point I am emphasizing here is not out of envy, but to stress that corporates value real-world experience. I am a decade behind; the PhD + postdoc years were simply not taken into consideration as work experience. I have to live with this reality.
2. We have had an intern in our team. She graduated with a PhD in data science from Yale in 2019. She could not get a job. Applied to us as an intern. She’s smart and hard working as anyone with an Ivy League PhD is. However, we have let her go when it came to converting to a full-time role. You know why? No relevant industry experience! Instead, we are hiring a Master’s who has 7 years’ real-world experience in data science, that worked at a real company, building a real predictive analytics platform – a working prototype, so to speak, used by real businesses, generating a significant ROI for her company. Compare that experience to the Yale PhD, who has only worked on developing some algorithm in a lab, that hardly has seen its light in the real world. At best, it helped make some publications. From an industry’s eye, who is the best fit? A no brainer, right? Experience in industry is far greater than where you graduated with a PhD (and this includes top schools.) Sure, a PhD or postdoc from Cornell or MIT might help you set foot in the door – that is getting interviews. But it is not going to matter as much if you have not gained any industry experience and any candidate that has the latter is getting the job offer. Period!
TL;DR: Swallow the red pill and unplug from the PhD/postdoc matrix. Every moment spent convincing yourself staying in PhD or postdoc is wasting your precious asset: your time!

More sad sad articles

Quartz, November 12, 2015
There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about

Old, but a good one about the mental problems of graduate students. My personal awakening started from this and a handful of other articles.

The Atlantic, Nov 27, 2018
Graduate School Can Have Terrible Effects on People’s Mental HealthPh.D. candidates suffer from anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation at astonishingly high rates.

Again, three years past the previous article in “Quartz” and nothing has changed. Nothing ever changes in the rotten world of academia.

Nature, 21 November 2018
Stop exploitation of foreign postdocs in the United States

I like this one. They are plainly admitting that academia is nothing but a sweatshop with abysmal working conditions. This sweatshop would collapse without continuous influx of cheap foreign labor. Fucking sweatshop!

Allison Harbin, August 13, 2017
Burn it Down: Emails of Adviser & Professor Abuse Expose Systemic Crisis in Academia
This is the best one! Simply loving it! It was written by a person who was conned by the Academia, thrown away and now being sued for exposing them for the fraud they are. A masterpiece of humiliation, suffering, and anger.

Reader opinions: UK universities are scum [like it’s brethren in US]

Dear Universities UK

In Britain, there are many thousands of PhD-qualified researchers who  struggle to find suitable employment, let alone careers, and their number grows daily. Indeed, the oversupply of researchers has probably never been greater than it is today.

Enticed into academic research – sometimes with misleading assurances of a ‘research career’ or ‘academic career’ -, they eventually find their qualification and experience all-but worthless, inside and outside of academia.

Many toil for years in junior research roles (is there any other kind?), helping to build the reputations of institutions and advance the careers of professors, only to arrive at a dead end, with little option but to start again from square one elsewhere.

Denied access to a career path or seniority in their own field of expertise, many are forced into low-grade jobs, often subordinate to people who had the sense and foresight never to get involved in academic research.

From a researcher’s viewpoint, this state of affairs seems unsustainable. Therefore it is my intention to make a case to government for a fundamental review of the present, failing system, with the aim to bring it properly into line with researchers’ needs and aspirations.

Before doing so, however, I would be grateful if you would respond to the following specific questions:

1. Do you agree that it is irresponsible, nay unethical, for universities to continue expanding PhD programmes knowing that jobs and careers in research are so sparse that only a small number of qualified researchers can expect to deploy their skills professionally for long?

2. Is it not a criminal waste of talent and resources that most researchers are put out to grass after only a few years of productive work?

3. Do you agree that terms such as ‘research career’ and ‘researcher career path’ are misleading, create unrealizable expectations, and should be excised from academic communications?

4. May we admit that ‘career development’ initiatives on behalf of UK academic researchers have been mostly cosmetic and ineffectual?

5. Recruitment to institutional research support roles generally gives little heed to research qualifications and experience, such that a great proportion of senior support staff possess neither. How do universities justify this? And how can they expect external employers to value research qualifications and experience when they themselves dismiss them?

6. Would you agree that political screening of job applicants has no place in any publicly funded institution?

7. Following from this, would you agree also that the Left’s stranglehold on higher education is limiting free and open inquiry?

8. Finally, would you concur that the present PhD system is essentially a scam configured to fill university coffers and to enhance professorial reputations and careers at the expense of researchers? That the present system should scrapped and replaced by something that restores balance of supply and demand, and works for the people who actually sustain it?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

[Name withheld]

A Nobel Prize winner sold his medal for $765,000 to pay medical bills

Here’s the link

Postdocs waiting for a permanent position won’t have a better fate than that.

Blocked by @nature twitter account

I sent a few sarcastic twitter reply to @nature tweets. Very few seem to reply to those tweets. Dry science, low audience, understandable. What’s hilarious is that my sarcastic tweets apparently hurt some fragile egos. @phdscam got blocked by @nature.


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Nobody fucking cares ..this fucking idea doesn’t get into my fucking brain

Lot of you STILL don’t believe the title and that proves the worth of the title.

Think harder. Did anyone promise you money/career after PhD? Do you think beggars get rich just by begging? A reasonable person wouldn’t think so.

So, when are leaving PhD/academia? Still not convinced? Be misery be with you! While we enjoy our lives.

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