Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A PhD outside the 'tour d'ivoire'

Hmmm...I started this blog almost two years ago now, for the most part, to chronicle in hindsight my years in graduate school and perhaps, in the process of doing so, map out 'new adventures', be in the academe or outside the ivory tower.


Two years hence, I'm a PhD outside the academe and is in the industry practice. Statistically, I belong that two thirds of contemporary PhDs who have not secured an academic job and is in the practice profession albeit the same discipline.

Why am I not in the academe? There are a variety of reasons but foremost would have to be simply my failure to get an academic job is because there just aren't enough jobs in academia. ScienceWoman provided a list of reasons why PhDs leave the halls of the academe. Another reason that is particularly applicable to me is the lack of good mentorship in how to attain an academic job. This is not to say I did not receive good supervision during my candidature. I was fortunate to have two supervisors who are considered authorities in my field of research and were very supportive. More than mentors, they have become life-long friends. But I did not receive appropriate advise on how to prepare for or get an academic job.

Although I am not presented with the same challenges in my current job. I cannot say that I do not like it. But as ScienceGeek would have it, there is that internal struggle of having a PhD and not be an academic. ScienceGeek contends that "this is mostly due to the expectation that a PhD will follow that well laid out route of PhD, post-doc, academic faculty and that anything less is consider somewhat of a failure."

Nevertheless, I consider my PhD as successful and a significant achievement. I don't regret doing a PhD and I still consider it as one of the best choices I ever made.

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