They say that it is normal to feel like quitting academic research while doing a Ph.D. But over the past year or so, I have started to seriously consider leaving academic research once I’m done with my Ph.D.
Here are my top 7 reasons (of the many more):
1. No work-life balance – I work close to 70 hours a week. I even work on weekends just so I can get the data I need.
2. Crappy pay – Less than minimum wage, if you consider how many hours you really work.
3. No appreciation – you are constantly made to feel like an underachiever. Nothing you do is good enough for advisor or committee. This is subjective, but it is a general trend. Probably the worst reason for most people.
4. No direct real world application of your research – there, I said it.
Disclaimer – *That does NOT mean something good will not come out of the work AND this does not apply to everyone.*
5. The future will be worse than it is now – at least five more years of post-doc AFTER you are done with your Ph.D. doing the same thing working the same hours, for about 40% more pay, if you manage to get a post-doc position that is. You also have to get your own funding now. If you lose it, your mentor will show you the door. Oh, and nothing you do is still good enough. Then you have to apply for a faculty position. Only one application among HUNDREDS is accepted.
6. Lack of funding – lots of politics here and it is not going to get better.
7. Your work WILL be frustrating – experiments will not work and no one will be there to give you the magic pill to make it better. You have to figure it out, or you won’t get a Ph.D. on time and in worst cases, your career will come to an end.
Well there you have it. Any that I have missed?
Any one else feel the same way?