(Closed) Any academics/aspiring academics out there?

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 2
2785 posts
Sugar bee

2nd year in a Phd program here. 🙂 

I do worry a bit about jobs a bit, but in my field there are also jobs available at cultural institutions that I think I’d enjoy. My dream is to teach at a liberal arts college where I could focus on teaching more than research, but if that’s impossible in the job market I graduate into, I also figure that there are always opportunities at research institutions, private high schools, community colleges, etc.

And I figure, since my program is fully funded, the worst thing that’ll happen is I spend years learning about stuff I love and then move on. Or if life interferes or I really hate it in a few years, there’s always the option to leave with the masters. It’s definitely an opportunity cost and the thing I do sometimes think about is the fact that there’s never a good time to have kids in academia.  



Post # 3
1399 posts
Bumble bee

I’m in my 4th year in a physics PhD program. Hoping to go on to the opposite of what

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browneyedgirl24 wants in that I’d love to focus on research and do as little teaching as possible. (Mostly because I’ve done a good share of teaching and it’s just not as fun as research!). My field has pretty solid academic prospects as well. But a back up is industry.

Post # 4
2569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

Yay for academic Bees! I’m in an MAE Teaching credential program in biological science, which has a very clear pathway to a job as a biology teacher, however, I do dream of having my own outdoor science education program but that is potentially a summer opportunity for additional income. And then maybe one day, I’ll own my own school. Ha! I can dream big, right? I am in the beginning stages of developing my research on how writing tasks effect scientific literacy in students that come to high school with a less than fifth grade reading level. 

My Fiance has a PhD. in physical chemistry and went into teaching and research, he loves both aspects so being a professor was his end goal. Although he has many friends that went strictly into research because they were not interested in teaching or could not get a position.

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pw067 :  What research are you doing? What kind of PhD. program is it?

Post # 5
167 posts
Blushing bee

My fiancé is an academic, and I won’t lie the job market is the absolute pits.  

Post # 6
575 posts
Busy bee

What discipline are you in? Are you considering a job in academia later on? Are you in a good program? (If you are in Harvard, you should stop worrying right away :)) Who is your advisor? (You need someone connected and influencial with good publications, who will teach you how to publish and place you well). Within a discipline, there are fields which are in higher demand than others. Also, depending on your topic and skills you may have a broader (and thus more marketable) profile, or a narrower one.

Post # 7
423 posts
Helper bee

I’m a PhD candidate in my 4th year, and I’m ABD. In my discipline, it’s very difficult to get a tenure-track position without a 4-5 year postdoc; that’s a huge turn-off for me. My plan is to apply to both postdocs and industry jobs and see what happens. I enjoy research more than teaching, but I do wonder if I’ll actually miss the teaching aspect if I leave academia. 

In my program, it seems there is a great push by faculty to encourage students to stay in academia, but there’s also a mass exodus of graduating PhDs from academia, due to the lack of availability of good academic jobs with benefits and a path to tenure (so non-adjunct positions). 

Post # 8
1405 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I work as an adjunct professor. For various reasons, most health related, I am perfectly content working part time. But I realize many other adjuncts badly want to be full-time. Their prospects are dismal. I tell my students to make sure they know what they will get out of a masters or doctorate before pursuing. Saving and investing work best the younger you start, and education delays this for years.

Post # 9
5081 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

I finished my PhD in molecular biology a year ago, I’ve been working as a postdoc in government with a university affiliation. I study traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease.

To be perfectly honest, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t. My job isn’t too bad, I get good benefits, but the salary is kind of crap for a decade of post secondary education and a mountain of student loans. All so that I can have the opportunity to beg for grant money for the rest of my life. If I could go back, I’d probably get a more broad and useful degree, like engineering or computer science, or go to pharmacy school.

I never wanted to go into academia, I wanted to work in industry, which is much better (I worked in biotech in the past), but industry jobs in my field are pretty regional and that region is not here. The industry jobs that are here are either chemistry related or not PhD level (i.e. I’m overqualified though I applied for many anyway and never got any calls). 

Honestly, at this point, I’m hoping I can make the jump over into some sort of administrative position. I wouldn’t mind teaching, but adjuncting pays next to nothing with no benefits (at least around here) and getting a professor job (even just a non-research one) is pretty difficult. 

Post # 10
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

5th year PhD student in clinical psychology here!  Hoping to do some combination of research, teaching, and therapy when I finally get out 🙂 Yay academia bees!

Post # 11
10357 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

5th year PhD Candidate in Bioengineering. My research is in cardiovascular mechanobiology. When I graduate I’m getting out of academia as quick as I possibly can. Hoping to land an R&D job at a medical device company.

Post # 12
9124 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

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pw067 :  I considered it but finished with a MS (wildlife biology) and work in environmental consulting now.  I’m just not competitive enough for the academic rat race!  Work to live, not live to work.  I very much respect those to go that route though.  Higher education needs passionate driven people.

Post # 13
593 posts
Busy bee

3rd year in a science PhD. I do not want to stay in academia, although I keep applying for grants. I just don’t know how to break it to the professors in my program, they are all very narrow minded. I want to also do R&D in the private sector (US).

Post # 14
97 posts
Worker bee

1st year business PhD. I love it so far and the job market is pretty hot (fingers crossed for four years from now!). This probably wont be the most lucrative career but i absolutely love research and can’t imagine doing anything else. 

Post # 15
22 posts
  • Wedding: September 2017

I dropped after my 3rd year into Ph.D, mostly for financial reasons: my grant couldn’t be renewed, and my fiancé wanted to get a bachelor’s degree in his field. I felt I could reasonably find a good job with my M.A. while he pursued his degree. We wouldn’t have been able to afford being students at the same time.

It turned out it was quite a challenge to find a full time position in my field. I entered the job market at a bad time. Most of my colleagues have been working odd jobs ever since. However, I got lucky. I went from marketing myself as an historian to an EdTech professional, mostly because I had a few student contracts in university developing e-courses in my field. I found an employer willing to trust me and I’m now into my 3rd year working for them.

In all honesty, I sometimes regret spending 3 years as a Ph.D. candidate instead of gaining more work experience. However, things turned out okay for me, and I really enjoy EdTech (to the point I doubt I’ll ever go back to historical studies). I’ve gained marketable and transferrable skills during my master’s and doctorate years. I think either way, I would have found my place eventually.

My advice for you would be to enjoy those years while they pass. Try not to worry too much. And make sure to use your knowledge and skills to your advantage when you enter the job market. You might not end up exactly where you envisioned yourself at first, but with perseverance and an open mind, I’m sure you’ll succeed! 🙂

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