Genuine advice series: Topic: Do you regret getting your PhD?

by phdscam

This is the original discussion. Here we summarize few of comments that came in.

It’s kind of useless these days. I am unemployable in non-academic setting, but also there is no job in academic [area].

Have you found any jobs?

I don’t regret getting a PhD, but I do regret getting this PhD.  It was the wrong discipline at the wrong school at the wrong time.

EVERY PhD says that!

I found my PhD experience to be the antithesis of the life of the mind – yes, I learned quite a lot, but it was also a profoundly anti-intellectual environment (esp. among the students, the faculty wasn’t so bad), so conversations were essentially (again, as shown in Piled Higher and Deeper) either about Britney Spears’ underwear or about research. I signed up for some societies relating to my non-research interests, and when others learned what I was studying, well, I might as well have said I was Jack the Ripper (because STEM is of the devil in some folks’ view). I made some friends but relationships with others in my department were mostly toxic. Ironically my PhD killed my interest in the field, a rather Catch-22 situation.

Try imagining this without going through this!

Intellectually speaking, I do not regret it.  Financially speaking, I do regret it.

You do want food and house (at some point), right?

I regret spending the most precious 5 years (23 – 28) of my life doing a PhD that may be worth no more than a penny. If I knew my postdoc life earlier, I would give it a second thought before starting PhD studies. PhD training in bio just does not make much sense, hard to justify the time spent.

Postdoc will only delay the inevitable.

Exactly my position. After enough trying and failing, I’ve given up on a decent non-academic job, but it’s not like the academic market is looking brilliant. I wish I’d studied engineering and looked for a job right out of college.

I rest my case!