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I'm lost... What to do after PhD???


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#1 julie

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 01:50 AM

Hello

I'm 24, I live in Belgium, I graduated last year and I'm currently in my second PhD year (I'm suppose to be done after 4 years).
The thing is, as time goes by I'm starting to realize I don't feel like doing research that much and I'm asking myself, :( "am I on the wrong path???".

You see, I hear so many people saying that one should choose between research and family (love, whatever) life and all that stuff, and even if I admire very much people making that choice, it's making me want to run away (and fast!), because I'd like to have a family life, I'd like to raise my kids myself, I'd like to keep on doing sport... Besides, I'd hate having to go abroad for months, which everyone around me thinks I should do and can't even imagine I wouldn't want to. Hey I'm like that, I don't see the point of finding the love of your life (which I luckily did 6 years ago :wub: ) and leave without him for months! To make it short, there are some (apparently unavoidable) sacrifices I'm not willing to make.

So my question is : knowing that I won't do any postdoc, that I'm certainely not the 12-hours-working-a-day person, should I be a good girl and finish the job so that everyone can call me doctor,and then what are the job options for a PhD owner?? Or should I stop right away and find some hum-drum classical 38 hours a week job (as a technician or something)?

Of course I really can't speak about this with my boss (who is very proud of having come close to divorce three times in his carreer because of never being home), and I don't know anyone else I could speak about this with...

Please help me!! If I keep on like this I'm soon gonna have to go on prozac or something!!

Thanks in advance

Lost :D Julie

PS: I'm not freaking out because I can't get results, I actually have quite good ones...(and that's maybe the worse part of the story)

#2 Oracle602

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 07:08 PM

In my personal opinion, whatever you do, don't give up! Finish the job, do the research. If I were to drop what you are doing I would feel that those years of life would be a waste. When you're done, you can use your knowledge to incorporate things you like with the field you specialize in. (Doctor hating medicine and loving computers made a clinical application program that all doctors use).
But then again, I"m not speaking from experience. Hopefully some members of this board can give their experienced opinion.

Good luck to you!

BigO

#3 caro

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 01:59 AM

Hi Julie!

Maybe it is easier in my country, but anyway, to have an PhD makes it easiet to get a job in the industry, and not an 80 hours a week job, but a fairly ordinary one. I would stick to it, finish and then look for a job outside academia.
I am still not sure if I will stay in academia (if there is a post doc when i finishes) but the PhD will anyhow give me better opportunities.
I allready have kids, so I only have to find the time to see them. That's OK because I only have 32 hours weeks (well on paper...still they do not tend to become too long) and then I have 3 years to make it instead of 3 years (after master graduation). When I have kids I do not have to go abroad, but I am thinking of a little trip around six weeks or so, and then make my husbond take vacation after three weeks and come visit with the kids. But I am still contemplating that.
Stick at it, and leave when you have your degree :) Then you can laugh at your boss and his silly; might get a divorse because of my job, comments
Regards Carina

#4 thefallguy

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 08:57 AM

Hello Julie

Life is not all bed of roses but it does not have to be all bad for a PhD either.

I help senior year PhDs and post-docs find positions as Consultants worldwide. The search for a single perfect job usually ends in frustration. It does not have to be that way. I have seen that PhDs are just perfect as Consultants where they take on advisory roles. If this is true for the Business world, why not for the biological sciences? Science is nothing but business anyway as your lab chief tries to sell a research story to get a grant or a group leader tries to justify and sell his own importance in a pharmaceutical company.

Just don't give up- but don't plod along either. There is nothing wrong in wanting to make money and being dedicated scientifically at the same time. The two wishes don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Email me at : frustrated@mad.scientist.com or send me a letter at TheFallGuy, 5701 S Broadway, Littleton, CO 80121.

#5 PhdChat.com

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:52 AM

Hi Julie

I just came acros this article, I think my response may be no longer useful to you, but if someone is in a similar situation then it can be of help to them. By the way I would like to knwo what did you eventually end up doing, since its nearly 5 years after you posted this question.

Well my suggestion would be continue with your PhD and finish it. You need not be a nerd or have to work 12 hours or more per day or something like that, but I think you can finish it easily, although you may take longer.

My suggestion try to give equal importance to your career and to your family. Try to develop a switch on and switch off attitute, i.e. when you are with your family forget about research and when you are doing research forget about your family.

I know saying this is easy and doing it is difficult but there is no harm in giving it a try.

Other than that it would also look good on your CV if you have completed your doctorate, you can proudly call yourself Dr. Julie :lol:

One drawback of leaving your phd in between is that , your CV will have a hole, what would you put in your CV for the time that you have spent on your PhD? it will not reflect very well.

So my suggestion, continue with your PhD and finish it soon.

i hope this helps

Dr. Vidy Potdar
www.PhdChat.com

#6 TTT

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:11 AM

wow, this original post was dated in 2004. I am in the same position as Julie, im in my 3rd year of PhD, i know i cant quit and that i need to finish it, but i find it so hard to wake up in the morning and go into the lab, (probably got depression already, need to get that checked ^^ or im just lazy and dont feel the passion in my work anymore). I also can't stop thinking what i should do after PhD, i used to have so much confident in myself, now i just feel like doing a PhD has made me doubt my ability in work.

Im in Australia, not a lot of pharma industry here, i think most are just sales or tech support jobs if i dont want to stay in the lab. Another job i can think about is government. I used to think i might try management consultant, but that's a too stressful job and i dont think im smart enough to do it (my lack of confidence after doing PhD).
stil thinking about what i should do after PhD everyday......
i used to know what i want in uni, get good grades, do honours, do PhD, now i lost my goal, i dont know what to do, its really sad to do PhD and dont know what to do afterwards....

#7 Maddie

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:04 AM

Hi TTT, looks like you are indeed, at least a bit, depressed. I can't advise you on careers, but I know a thing or two about depression. They sabotage your life, energy and your objectivity. Now might not be the best time to think about the "after PhD". I know that we all live our lives at speed light nowadays, but were I you, I'd hang in there to finish as soon as possible and then take time to get better. Believe me, the day you'll be done with the bloody PhD, you'll feel a heavy burden lift off your shoulders already. After the PhD, take a trip, change air and then you will be able to think more rationally. The trip could be the carott that will make you take 1 more step a day. Plan it, think about it, take your mind off your daily routine.
Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
ps: did I say hang in there? <_<
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

A. Einstein

#8 pito

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 04:09 AM

just a general note: there is a difference in being really depressed and being "depressed" because your work is always the same and boring.

When doing a PhD you generally work a few years on the same topic and you do the same work over and over till you are bored and sick of it.

Do not forget that!

I offcourse dont really know you, but I have heard a lot of PhD students and they have similar complaints about how boring it is and how they always do the same shit everyday and some times it works, other days it doenst and they never know why or ...
Or they complain that sometimes they have results, other days not etc..
Its hard and boring!

And thats one of the major hurdles to take when doing a PhD!

The beauty on the other hand is that when you got your PhD you can decide to do post docs that take 3-4 years , finish, take another one, finish... and thats nice because there is a lot of variation possible. ANd then I havent even started with mentioning you can combine research with tutoring , teaching.. etc..

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#9 TTT

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 03:51 AM

Maddie & Pito, thanks for your reply, im still hanging in there....my supervisor thinks im nearly finished, but when i look at my results and compared that to other people's thesis stuff, i feel that my results are not enough for a thesis. Probably enough for a Master degree but not a PhD. I'm going to have a meeting with my supervisor next week, I've outlined subtitles for my thesis and what results I have, maybe then they will see I dont have enough results.... which means i have to be here longer, cant wait till I finish. At this very moment, i regret doing a PhD, i wonder what I'll feel like after i finish it. I think i should of work in a company after my undergraduate degree and then find my true passion and then do a PhD in that field rather than do a PhD first and then realizing i have no passion in this field. But when you are young, how would you know what path to choose....this is life i guess. A decision that cost/waste 4 years of my life/youth.

#10 TTT

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 04:04 AM

Just to add to the previous post, it took me 1 year to clone the gene of interest into the plasmid that I want (which should normally take max 3 months but the plasmid hates me), and another year (normally this should take max 6 months) to get a stable clone (10 trasnfections and lots of screening and even then i still think my clone sucks, its tet regulated and its leaky, cant afford to screen more because i dont have 10 years, only 4). So this leaves me only 1 year to actually start my real experiments instead of 2 years to do it, that's why not a lot of results generated. I wonder if there are PhD student out there with similar experiences who took 1 year to do cloning and 1 year to generate stable cell line and the clone is shit and then not enough time to do the actual experiment. Sometimes i think science is about luck. I was super hard working in the first year to do the cloning and then hard working when i was gerenating the stable clones, after that, i just lost it, i am no longer a hard working person like i used to.

#11 perneseblue

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 07:38 AM

Just to add to the previous post, it took me 1 year to clone the gene of interest into the plasmid that I want (which should normally take max 3 months but the plasmid hates me), and another year (normally this should take max 6 months) to get a stable clone (10 trasnfections and lots of screening and even then i still think my clone sucks, its tet regulated and its leaky, cant afford to screen more because i dont have 10 years, only 4). So this leaves me only 1 year to actually start my real experiments instead of 2 years to do it, that's why not a lot of results generated. I wonder if there are PhD student out there with similar experiences who took 1 year to do cloning and 1 year to generate stable cell line and the clone is shit and then not enough time to do the actual experiment. Sometimes i think science is about luck. I was super hard working in the first year to do the cloning and then hard working when i was gerenating the stable clones, after that, i just lost it, i am no longer a hard working person like i used to.


In a nut shell, yeah. Only in my case it was targeting, my constructs kept destabalising the kinetochore or inactivating due to heterochromatin silencing. I had to find a structure configuration which worked. And even once I found something that worked, I could not eat my cake and see if the project idea worked. I ran out of time

You need to have a long long talk with your supervisor and adviser. These people have more experience in determining if you have enough material for a thesis. And if not, what critical experiment you must do to finish the story.

Much of a thesis is how you defend your work, why you did what you did. Your objectives and how you designed your experiments to get there. Your conclusions and the evidence in your datum to support said conclusion.

And a lot of editing.
May your PCR products be long, your protocols short and your boss on holiday

#12 massiveattack

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:43 PM

Hi TTT,

It's really weird because when I was reading your posts I thought it was me writting them! I'm from Melbourne, and I, like you, did well in Uni, did really well in my honours year and went into my PhD in the same lab with heaps of confidence and passion. As I progressed through my PhD my passion started to wane and I lost confidence when things didn't go as planned. My first year was spent generating a transgenic mouse from scratch. After many hurdles I managed to finish the tg construct and then I had to spend another year doing molecular characterisation of the transgenic lines. I only had one year and a bit to actually do physiology experiments. This was extremely stressfull as I wasn't sure if a phenotype would actually exist. I also had many moments of anxiety, "depression" when I didn't want to go to the lab anymore etc. But I think that despite all the hurdles I gained a lot of character and skills, e.g. troubleshooting of molecular techniques. You're right in saying that luck factors into how well you do in your PhD. I know another student whose knockout mice didn't have a phenotype and she spent most of her time characterising the model to death! Meanwhile other students come into a project just when it's ripe and can easily and quickly generate data. That being said, I still think that facing hurdles in your PhD year is a blessing in disguise because it really challanges and tests your mettle and this makes your a better scientist in the long run.

So I advice you to keep going, don't compare yourself to the others in your lab, and just enjoy what your doing. Think of the privilege of being able to do what we do surrounded by so many knowledgeable people. Imgine if your job was driving a bus every day on the same route having to deal with unpleasent people - I often think of this when I comute to the lab and see the same bus driver everyday and think how lucky I am.

Kind Regards,
Massiveattack

#13 TTT

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 05:29 AM

Hi Massiveattack,

Thank you so much for the reply, you are right, i am surrounded by lots of smart and really nice people in the lab and when i get on the train or bus, i see nasty/scary sad people. So what are you doing now? are you a post-doc in Australia or overseas? Did your last year PhD experiments went well?

My scholarship runs out in September.... still got experiments to do, probably gona used up all my savings to support myself, hopefully I can submit sometime next year.

Tina




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