PhD: The useless suffering
There are two kinds of pain .. one that you learn from and gain useful insight, then there’s another kind .. useless pain where you neither learn much nor gain anything for future. PhD students and postdocs are having the second kind. To reiterate, useless pain is still useless, no matter how much one spins it, PhD is a bitter dead-end for 98%, for the rest (who get into faculty or scientist position) are bitter but make do.
You will often hear in PhD students’/postdocs’ gatherings that his/her area of research will likely to be very big and at the same time, bitterly complaining about lack of access to laboratory instruments or the supervisor is simply absent months at a time. There’s very little ‘supervision’. All this supervisor does is to complain to his colleagues about your supposed incompetency. If it were a real job, supervisor will be the first one to be fired. But PhD supervisor has tenure, he will be fossilized in his office, he won’t retire.
So, who needs this useless pain? Nobody. But if you hear from postdocs some might try telling you that ‘you have to put your advanced degree to use’ regardless of the money you are getting. This attitude isn’t helping a PhD thinking about career. Academia is the only place, which offers 25 K/year (with few exceptions) after 7 years of PhD. Academia has no money and no shame. Being poor and living a crappy life is not a glory. If you are thinking of spinning how great is PhD/postdoc route, save your energy and do something useful and be able to retire someday.