Have you ever regretted your Ph.D.? In the sense that, looking back, you'd have instead invested your time in working outside academia - PhDData

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Have you ever regretted your Ph.D.? In the sense that, looking back, you’d have instead invested your time in working outside academia

September 2022

The question appears to imply a presumption that Ph.D. graduates solely work in academics. The truth is that most graduates are doing fantastic work in disciplines other than academics. A recent PhDs study found that just 3% of graduates became professors, while 30% began their careers in post-doc positions. 67% of PhDs still work in industry, assuming all thirty percent of post-docs end up teaching at universities.

The prospect of a career as a professor was appealing to me when I decided to pursue a doctorate. Looking back, I can see how the circumstances at the time dictated my thoughts. The job market was tough during the recession, and I had difficulty finding one. But there was quite a reality in my reasoning. The professorship is solid and widely regarded. Professorships will remain secure so long as the public values higher education.

One possible definition of creativity includes research, invention, and development. Individually and collectively, we are makers. Our interest wanes rapidly. Either we discover or make something new. Art and science come together in this. Many Ph.D. recipients like going the extra mile to ponder and provide fresh ideas. I’m stating this “for the sake of novelty” since academic institutions are light years ahead of the rest of society. Therefore, genuine literary scholars like going to greater depths, and they can do so since their study is financially supported.

A lot of happiness and contentment may be gained from doing something like that. Having your work assessed by other experts in your field serves as a seal of approval. Also, I’ve seen academics doing research alongside their counterparts in the business world. Studies conducted in an academic setting allow for a more in-depth investigation and analysis.

In my opinion, many PhDs are unaware that they can perform outstanding work in fields other than academia. Doing so is often easier than working as a professor since most industrial positions do not need you to prepare research funding submissions. Additionally, it’s a fight for individual liberty. As a result, workers in these sectors have less leeway to pursue independent inquiry and improve their products. Revenue, trends, random actions, priority areas, and so on have a role. That’s why many post-docs and PhDs have no intention of leaving the academy.

My first employment was as a research engineer, a position that fell midway between the academic and business worlds. There was a lot of reading and writing involved, the scope of the project shrank, and I learned things that I hadn’t in the classroom, such as that the simplest solution isn’t always the best. A Ph.D. program, in my view, is a great way to delve deeply into the questions of human agency and meaning in life. Graduates with a Ph.D. may easily find positions in the private sector if they are interested in higher salaries and social standing. However, academia is a paradise for those who would allow their lives to think critically and creatively.

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