Advice

Question: Should I do a PhD in a non-STEM field?

Answer: No. Next.

Question: Should I do a PhD in a STEM field?

Answer: No. However, if your field is relatively new and has direct industry applications, then you may have a slight chance. A Masters+work experience is still better.

Question: I am going through a middle life crisis. I hate my job, should I do a PhD?

Answer: No. We are no psychologists here, but maybe you have other problems that  you are avoiding to face. A PhD for middle aging people is like an escape from doing real work, or trying to satisfy someone’s else dream, or thinking that there is prestige in having 3 letters after your name. No there isn’t. There is no prestige in being broke, unable to feed a family, buy a house, buy a car, have a stress free holiday…You like those, you won’t get them as a PhD student or postdoc, for up to 10 years. If you are middle aged (say 40y+), you are looking at finishing up at 50+, competing then with freshly minted graduates for jobs is not pretty.

Question: I made that mistake and did anyway a PhD in a STEM field. What to do now to get a job?

Answer

1: Move or get interviews where jobs are. That means physically moving. They won’t come to you because you are a PhD star. Every job gets 100s of well qualified applicants.

2: Very few R&D industries do value PhD. Apply to hundreds of companies Talk to as many recruiters as possible. When job searching, thinking hard is counterproductive.

3. Marginal/tangential connection to your PhD is good enough. They barely know anyone outside their research field bubble.

4. If you absolutely hate your research/work, do a short 3 month training of sort and move somewhere where more of your typical job exist.

5. Practice your verbal communication skill. Don’t underestimate yourself. Nobody likes a loser! Pretend you are not.

 

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