Why doing a PhD? how about the real world outside?
Some of us really wanted to become PhDs for many reasons. Some just wanted the coveted letters “Dr.” with their name. Nothing wrong with that, except that the title has somewhat lost its allure with so many PhDs out there. Actually nowadays it is being negatively associated with being a nerd or geek with no social skills. Generally, the scientists are portrayed in the western media (especially Hollywood crap) as some weird creatures. Just see how the popular show “Big bang theory” paints all scientists and PhDs as awkward except the waitress “Penny”. You would be well perceived if you did something stupid, a reality show, sing a song, have some talent of no use, kick a football really accurately, than being a PhD. Why? people don’t like others that are smarter than them, they feel inferior! Remember high school? the smart kid was always the least popular, or actually the most hated! But worst, a PhD is not only disliked in pop culture, but in the job market as well. Nowadays, some companies don’t hire PhDs because they are “over-qualified”, have no specific skills, and have to be trained. So, if you are doing a PhD for just the letters Dr., think twice!
Some have genuinely thought they could make a difference and contribute to the human knowledge. That is noble and great! Except that most are not making any difference at all. Although we think to care about humanity, we are all genetically selfish (somewhat related; the book of Richard Dawkins: selfish genes). So, even those great scientists are still motivated by personal reasons; that being fame, honor, Nobel prize, superiority, money….etc. But most PhDs are getting none of these, absolutely none, except poverty and a long lasting challenge to please those dinosaurs of the 60s that your method, proposal, grant, technique is worth something. A challenge not always won, most likely until those dinosaurs are gone and you replace them. And if you think there is no politics in academia, you are completely out of touch. So why starve and wear yourself up and waste the most productive period of your life? when you can make a real difference outside academia and at the same seeing immediate results of your work, while being rewarded accordingly for your efforts. Rest assured, some will still invent new things and keep us going forward, it is a law of nature.