Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Regarding Ph.D's

PhD like a tortoise. Unwavering persistence is needed.
I've been approached by a few folks in the last couple of weeks regarding whether or not they should pursue a Ph.D. Yeah. I know. Believe it or not.

I told them there are other hobbies out there. I don't mean to treat it lightly, but once you embark on the pursuit it becomes such a burden. Quit early if you begin to suspect it's not all you wanted. The last place you want to be is "ABD."  That stands for "All But Dissertation," and this is not something to be proud of or roll out at a job interview. Yeah, you might have had all the coursework, but when it came time to put it all together and demonstrate what you learned, you waffled.  That's hard to live with. Believe me, I tried it.

So, you need to know before you begin that you want it - maybe more than most anything else. A clear idea of what you want out of it is also important, critical even. That's the only way you can get matched with the right advisor and plan the experiences you'll need to reach your goal.  However, the market changes rapidly and there's no guarantee that the job you've got your eye on will be waiting for you.   If a Ph.D. is something you think you're interested in, I came across some good articles today via "The Daily Dish."

"The disposable academic" from The Economist. A rebuttal from Chris Blattman at Yale.


scott grimshaw said...

Nice post. I was in grad school for a PhD in Chemistry. It didnt take me long to figure out this wasnt for me. I eventually started my own company and that felt the best.

sydney said...

Yeah. As far as I can tell so far, it's about demonstrating one can do things the way they've been done, which doesn't sound like you at all.

scott grimshaw said...

I hope you do get your doctorate though. Dr. Sydney sounds kinda cool :)

sydney said...

Don't you hear the click of my boots? That'll be Dr. Brown, to you, Mr. :D