A doctorate degree can take you anywhere. You can work in many areas including social enterprise businesses, start-ups, non-profits, academia or industries you never thought about for a career. You can be a researcher, scholar-practitioner, academic, scientist, consultant, or social entrepreneur. A yearly event called “What Can You Be with a PhD” (WCUB) Career Symposium at New York University can help you explore your career options. And according to the blog, it’s the “largest career symposium” in the country. The event was organized by the NYU School of Medicine Postdoctoral Affairs Office.
The holiday season is here! I enjoyed some downtime over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Now that 2018 is on the horizon, it’s time to look back on my projects for 2017. I’m reviewing my career transition plans since I earned my doctorate in 2015. Yes, I’ve wondered if my PhD was worth it. Was it really worth all the time, money, blood, sweat, tears, uncertainty, fear, worry, headaches, anxiety, and excitement?
I read an interesting piece in The Economist this week. It was a lengthy (11 pages) read about “the disposable academic” and why a PhD has less value than ever before. Value relates to job prospects and the uncertainty of acquiring one.
Last week, I read a blog about loss and the end of a dream. It was written by an academic who was struggling to re-invent himself. He was a talented physicist who described his 14-year journey from undergraduate to PhD to postdoc research. But suddenly the journey ended. He would not reach his dream of becoming a tenured physics professor. He was a failure.
The process of getting your doctorate is challenging enough: juggling family, work and school, personal time, projects for your courses, finding a good advisor, understanding new information, and learning scholarly writing skills.
But there is a steady undercurrent of challenges that are hidden from view. The hidden social and psychological challenges will impact how you feel, act, respond and survive your doctoral journey. Let’s talk about mental illness.