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

Awesome science, jobless PhDs

Pursuit of knowledge is ‘awesome’, right? RIGHT? Those high school years have convinced you because you did well in school?

What nobody has told you about the jobless PhDs. One hears so many good things about science. When a discovery is made, it’s printed in front page of newspapers, many people are awed.

Somehow the researchers’ financial status is NEVER in the news. This is NEVER heard outside of academia? Why? It’s a fraud perpetuated by the academia. Also socially acceptable. Society wants good results, not who made it or how it got made. So, if PhDs made the good work eating ramen noodles or being on food stamp, nobody cares.

Why didn’t the academically smart students catch this fraud? Because of lack of experience. Also, nobody wants to rock the boat and challenge ‘conventional wisdom’ in academia. You feel ‘everybody gets treated the same’, shit money for everyone, fair, right? It is fair like govt treat all poor people the same. It’s not in your interest to be there.

In this blog, we attempt to expose the bad rationale of doing PhD and different kinds of fraud academia plays. Reader stories are welcomed.



Instant gratification vs No gratification in PhD

PhDs rampage through trashy data and downtime and take abuse from supervisor and be humiliated…. over next 20 years.

Some require ‘instant gratification’ for motivation to work. PhDs, on the other hand, requires ‘no gratification’ to do junk work.

Even junk removal business pays more than PhD/postdoc salary.

PhDs: Dead on deadline

Racing to finish PhD? Unless your supervisor agrees, you can’t finish it. That’s the only person blocking the exit. When he agrees, you have a deadline.

By the time you cross that deadline, you are burnt out. Very few will limp out to make a life and career.


The only way to win this ‘PhD game’ is not to play.

PhD: Religulousness

In academia, PhD is considered a religion. You aren’t supposed to question it. All idiots want to do it. Want to finish it.

Those who apparently did good in colleges just assumes that ‘PhD is good’. Even worse, no amount of arguments seem to convince these wanna-be-Einsteins that they are digging themselves a bigger holelaw-of-holes

First rule of hole-digging, if you are in a hole, stop digging! Then, think about how you are gonna get out of 6 yr+ hole.

Regardless of how smart you think you are, unemployed, old postdocs in academic market makes it abundantly clear, you will end up loser.

Who wants to hire an old postdoc over a energetic, dynamic 20 year old? It’s not age discrimination, it’s potential performance discrimination, which is 100% acceptable.

It’s dark all around. If you are stuck in this nightmare, brush up your high-school mathematics and science, and try getting a job. Market entry is your salvation. You can choose among better options later.

PhD: A bad long-term bet

None ask how long a PhD might take to complete, when getting in. Vague expectation is 4 years (funding run out time). Professors rarely talk about it. They love super cheap labor. Only when the student figures out that he is being the cheap monkey, then your PhD completion is near or terminated.

Very few bets are as bad as the long term PhD betPile Of Poop. End of a long term bet should be a big reward. The higher the risk, the higher should be potential reward. PhD has all the risk and zero reward (a tenure position isn’t a reward).

For one’s sanity and survival, bets should be short like few months long. Outcome of bet should be measurable, should be failure or success. You take want to take the steps and at every step it should be abundantly clear what worked and what didn’t.

A career isn’t family. There shouldn’t be any long term commitments if the other side behaves bad. Companies don’t have to hire you and you don’t have to stay at a company if don’t like. The most you can do is to remain employable. Rotting in a cheap labor situation is only going to hurt.

PhD: Fantasies about uber smart scientists

PhDs live inside their intransigent egos. They want to be super smart scientists changing the world, only to end up ruining their own lives.

In any academic circles, you will hear about this great professor or that one. PhDs keep dreaming of doing awesome jobs like them. How will you do that? You need an academic employment. Do you know how many apply for a tenure track position? In any half decent university, this will be a thousand plus. This means one thousand PhD+postdocs thought they had a chance of success of getting the job and prepared 50+ page resume, bothered their supervisors about writing lengthy recommendation letters and put all the legwork that this procedure involved. Another 10 thousand postdocs were aware of this job opening but didn’t apply because they wouldn’t qualify.  Do you see the insanity of the odds?

Unless the university asked you to take up a position, these thousand people are just insane. Their ‘high quality’ work is only in their mind. Their citations aren’t worth that much. They lost the game of life.

Fantasizing about ‘super smart future of you’ is a horrendous waste of time. First, this ‘tenure’ position even if comes to pass, is not very exciting job. You will be doing lot of menial work, like chasing poor graduate students, sit in academic committees, blab about your not-so-good work. Chances of getting a high paying academic work is so low that it’s like lottery ticket except you got definitely lower odds than someone else being smarter than you!

Also, why care if someone else is super smart? Its your life and you should care about yours career and retirement first and foremost. You can be million percent certain that nobody else is thinking about your career and/or life. You should fight as hard as possible for yourselves. It’s one life, losing 10+ years in a junk degree will ruin you almost beyond repair. If you can escape out of the blackhole of despair after PhD, you should definitely tell the world about it.

PS: This blog is written former PhDs, part time and we welcome your contributions. Every PhD has a story to tell.

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