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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I just wanted peoples opinion on my little problem....

I currently have a degree in physics and will soon have an MSc in nanoscale science and technology.

I've been looking at jobs but, whether its me being picky or something i still fail to find the dream opportunity. I'm not wanting to work for someone for long and hopefully will branch out on my own.

Now the problem is that I've been offered a phd position in the institute of materials research.... now thats another 3 yrs (albeit paid)... and this would offer a backstop should things go wrong...

so what should I do... carry on until i've done everything at uni or bite the bullet and get out there now ??

I think there is pros and cons for both cases so what does everyone else think? Also is there many people who took the phd route and has it helped them ??

Thanks

Adam
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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If you want to work in a science related field, start your own business etc then Piled Higher and Deeper, is probably worth while.

I work in a similarly academically led area and would say on the software side a PhD doesn't help, but if you want to be scientifically credible it counts quite highly in some circles.

I'm a hypocrit BTW, I dropped out of mine after about 6 months :)
 
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If you still have the energy and enthusiasm to do the PhD then do it, especially if it is paid. If you leave it a few years, the thought of going back to study again becomes less appealing as life gets more hectic and commitments increase.

On the other hand, you could end up so over qualified in a specialised area that the jobs available for your level of expertise may be few and far between.

So there's the arguement for both sides which helps a whole lot!!! Sorry.

Go with what you WANT to do. Not what you feel you should. You need to be very enthusiastic to enjoy a doctorate.
 

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Jonah
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I work in academia and students often ask me about going on to do PhDs.

My advice is usually NOT to do it, UNLESS there is a very good reason (i.e. they've identified a clear career path for which it is required; or are really committed to a career in research or higher education).

In many ways going on to do a doctorate is the 'easy option' if funding is available. It beats having to find a job. However, you need to decide what you really want to do - it's too easy to drift along the path of least resistance. There is no point at all in doing a PhD on the basis that 'it might be useful someday'.
 

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Depends a lot on what you want to do and whether it would help in your field! I was enjoying what I was doing, so I stuck around and did my Phd - but in hindsight it didn't really contribute a whole lot to my career, I would have been better off building up real-world experience.

Having said that, it certainly didn't do any harm :)
 

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If you still have the energy and enthusiasm to do the PhD then do it, especially if it is paid. If you leave it a few years, the thought of going back to study again becomes less appealing as life gets more hectic and commitments increase.
Then again, maybe everyone should be forced out into the big, bad world before signing up - then only those who REALLY wanted to do it would would take the cut in money, etc. Drifting does tend to happen. Universities would never do this as it would cost them a shed load in lost income.

Marcus
 

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Then again, maybe everyone should be forced out into the big, bad world before signing up - then only those who REALLY wanted to do it would would take the cut in money, etc. Drifting does tend to happen. Universities would never do this as it would cost them a shed load in lost income.

Marcus
True! I did my MSc when I was 40 but it was tough with a full time job and a family as well. I was just saying it is easier before you have other stuff to do as well. Full time students don't appreciate the luxurury of simply having time to study and very little else to worry about. Ho hum.
 

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I always regret not going for what I really wanted when someone tempted me from that with a large wedge of cash.

If you love what you've been doing then why not follow it down the Phd route but if you want your own business then bear in mind that it's a 24/7 job, you don't get paid when you're sick, a high percentage of start up businesses fold in their first two years and getting a bank to back a business plan financially usually requires some start-up capital from you and a pretty well thought out business plan.

At the end of the day though...only you can make the decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Scuttler,

As far as finance is concerned that wont be too much of a problem as the family property business would pay for it.... I suppose I want to be able to say I did it all on my own instead of getting paid out by the family.. At least if I did a phd it would be all mine... But I think there might always be that sticking out in the back of my mind " if i want to work for an assh*le I can just work for my uncle"..... I suppose it will boil down to how much I want it

Is anybody else a director of a bluechip or science based R&D company ??

Thanks

Adam
 

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Forgot to say.....you always work for an a$$hole....whether you're employed or self-employed.....the customer is ALWAYS right......even though he might be talking out of his..........................


you get the picture I think :D
 

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I was absolutely set on being an academic until about a year into my PhD!

Now I am slogging on to get it finished mainly out of sheer stubbornness. It has it's plus sides - the money isn't actually bad (remember you pay no tax, no NI, no council tax etc out of it), you have flexible hours and a lot of freedom to direct your own research. On the other hand you never have a real break from it, even when you aren't 'working' it's on your mind, a lot of the day to day work is likely to be repetitive and tedious, you can end up very isolated, it is easy to just drift along and a lot of your success will depend on the project itself and your supervision (or lack thereof!) regardless of your best efforts.

If I don't decide to stay on as an academic then my PhD will be of dubious usefulness. I will probably still be able to get into a company in my field of expertise but I have probably narrowed join my job choices and certainly won't be on the same salary level as I would be if I had just taken a job with them at the end of my undergrad degree and worked for 3 years. If I leave science altogether (which is a distinct possibility at the moment) my PhD will actually have taught me a lot of transferable skills in written and oral communication, project management, working independently and as part of a team, networking and so on. However, I have to convince potential employers of this...

So, my advice would be not to do it unless you are really passionate about the subject - I'm not sure I know a single 3rd year PhD student who isn't hating theirs at the moment! However, if you do love the subject and you do want to carry out further research in it then don't let this one embittered student put you off!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Would they post it on the internet? ;)
Depends if they were asked ??? The internet is a pretty anonymous place if you want it to be ??

Thanks for all the comments

Adam
 

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Do you like money?
Do you like having a life where you can work for yourself without problem?

Patent Agent my friend - it's the future (and I speak from the wibbly-wobbly world of academia) when you're minted you can buy me a scooter. :wink:
 
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