Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What to do with a my Ph.D

Probably too late into the PhD game to be asking myself this question again, but it has been bugging me for the past several weeks.

Several of my classmates have started/about to start interviewing with companies coming to recruit on campus.

Academia doesn't seem so attractive after all. Do I want to continue to work like this?

The National Labs are in sort of a half academia-half industry position, and most folks there are hired straight out from their post-doc stints.

You think Grad School is tough? Wait till you become a tenure track asst. professor. - Prof Anonymous X

Grad school was easy compared to being an asst. prof., by far the worst time of my life.

Pretty much the same hours in the lab, but in addition I also had to teach freshman chemistry and/or graduate courses, write papers and grant proposals, serve on committees, and of course teach brand new grad students how to work in the lab, all the while being scared @#$%less that my career was going down the tubes. Not fun. I literally did not bother to turn on the heat in my apartment, even in dead of winter, because I only spent about 30 waking minutes a day there. My landlord couldn't believe his luck.

But that princely asst. prof. salary more than made up for it all...-SRC

Academia vs. Industry, Academia vs. Industry, Academia vs. Industry, Academia vs. Industry, Academia vs. Industry...

Edit (20 Sep): I love this shit -

Taken from here.

and of course the Scientific Method that we are all too familiar with...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
from phdcomics.com


the girl with the thorn in her side said...

Believe me, I stay up pondering about this too.

Not figured it out yet, but most prolly will try for a post doc.

Life is long. Do as many things as you can!

samuraibunny said...

if you do yr phd then decide you dont want to be an academic, would you be over-qualified to work for those companies that other ppl are going for interviews with now ??

once again i dont know if this is too naive a way to look at things, but wouldn't you only do a phd if you were super passionate about what you were doing because after you were done with it you'd share the passion with eager young minds? =P

takchek said...

Bunny - those are my PhD classmates, and the companies are looking for PhD graduates.

Unlike Singapore, the job market here in the US for PhDs (esp in the Physical Sciences and Engineering) is bigger and more diverse. And they do pay you a premium for your advanced degree, although there are claims/arguments that the additional pay over the BS and MS candidates is not worth the effort one puts in Grad School.

you'd share the passion with eager young minds? -
Heh, most (asst.) professors would actually prefer to publish more than to teach, if you are talking about the top-ranked research universities. Publications, and not teaching ability is what matters most when he/she is fighting for tenure.

"Publish or perish"