Subscribe

Forum

The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:01 pm

I've been generally keeping track of the explosion in "paid career advice" schemes, and there are new ones popping up almost every day. Someone gets the idea that they can make a bundle by helping others in their job search, and instead of doing so out of the goodness of their heart, they decide they're going to do so as a business. While that's fine if they are a legitimate career counselor and they've had that training, unfortunately too many of these fall into the category of 'get rich quick' ideas.

Some posture themselves as "associations." Others are single proprietors, who build up some kind of private database of career information, and provide that to readers for a monthly fee. Others foster a network of people who exchange information much like we do here on the Forum, but again -- that's for a fee.

Today I read about one that is entirely focused on the profession of Medical Science Liaison or MSL. This company offers "Free Webinars" but then if you want to continue, you'll pay a hefty fee to stay in the loop. There are very similar programs for those who want to move from research into Sales and Marketing. Others start their involvement in your career at the point where you are working on finishing your thesis and they tout a paid membership at a very difficult time of your life.

I don't understand how people can literally buy into this stuff. It's sad to tap the market of PhD's who haven't yet had their prime income-producing years. While I would have thought that this would be like squeezing juice from a turnip (as they say), it turns out that PhDs (or wanna-be PhD's) are indeed spending their money on this stuff or they wouldn't be proliferating.

I'm curious as to what is missing in the ScienceCareers.org website (our host). Is it just that people don't know about all these resources? Or, is it that there's some crucial element missing -- something that puts people into the frame of mind that it's OK to spend money on these schemes instead of seeking it out, free, from this resource or others like it?

Dave Jensen
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7863
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby JM » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:38 pm

Hi Dave,

A couple of thoughts:

(1) Looking at it from both sides: as you mentioned, the "get rich quick" look of these sites leads me to think that the proprietors of these "associations" have been frustrated in the job search like many, and have decided to make this their alternative career. (I agree this is shameful) But this still requires paying customers - which leads to:

(2) Newly-minted PhD holders and post-docs sometimes feel beaten down by the process of going through the PhD, and then on top of that, needing to find a job, at a time they are particularly vulnerable emotionally.

It may be that the idea of paying for advice is a value perception - that those paying for it perceive it as being more valuable. But I think a more pernicious aspect is the possibility of giving away power. In this regard, it's no different that any other get-rich-quick motivational scheme out there - the customer gets a bit of a high, feeling as though they are taking real action and getting advice from an expert (they must be an expert, if they have to pay for the service, right?).

So, I really don't think Science Careers is lacking in content or folks at many career stages who want to help others out. I think it's more of the same "quick fix", short-term outlook that is pervasive these days. The reality is far messier, requiring things like taking responsibility, being self aware, and having a hefty amount of resilience.

JM
JM
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:32 pm

Re: The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby PG » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:42 pm

From the information that I have seen in commercials etc from this type of sites I have not seen anything useful that cant be obtained without cost online from other sources such as this website.

On top of that some of these pay for service sites provides advice that is completely wrong such as for example "dont send a complete CV because noone wants to read it, instead send a short resume based on the following standard...."

Free Resources tends to have lots of people providing information and opinions which is also happening on this site and I believe that this minimizes the risk for false information as compared to a private site with only one provider of information.
PG
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:45 pm

These for-pay "career guidance" guidance groups seem to exist in all professions, and they seem to range from the merely useless to the downright fraudulent. An acquaintance in an industry unrelated to this forum paid several thousand dollars to one of these groups - all he got was some meetings with the group and an introduction to someone he already knew.

It is particularly reprehensible when they are preying on newly-minted PhDs - since most new PhDs don't have the disposable income to afford these people.

As far as the groups that advise on how to move from research into sales and marketing, there is more than enough good information here in the forum.

Dick
User avatar
Dick Woodward
 
Posts: 420
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby D.X. » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:25 am

Hi Dave,

I've seen quite a few of these pop up. The MSL one I think you're referring too is one that was started by someone who hard time getting a job (he interviewed at a Company my Partner was at) and then started a MSL Training Company - he had basically Zero crediblity but was good at Networking an go some People on board.

I think it's quite funny, that'a a spot where paid for Training does really nothing to get you the job and a waste as you can find plenty on the public Domain. There has been many attempts to try to get some form of "certificate" program that is recognized as say as an entry creteria to have the job - to me that's a bunch of Bull Crap.

This type of stuff is popping up all over the industry with some false Advertising that the Training is needed to get the job. I've seen this Pop up in Clinical and Marketing Areas. Hell even some "unversities" are guilty of this - i.e. promising their program will enhance Access to certain careers, which is also B.S. - let me be Balance, there are one who aim to enhance formal subject matter knowledge but not Promise Access to career, in that context i'm ok.

But good to give the warning - to me i would make a list of These and publically post it.

Best,

DX
D.X.
 
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: The explosion of "Paid Career Guidance" schemes in the PhD marketplace

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:27 am

D.X. wrote:Hi Dave,

I've seen quite a few of these pop up. The MSL one I think you're referring too is one that was started by someone who hard time getting a job (he interviewed at a Company my Partner was at) and then started a MSL Training Company - he had basically Zero crediblity but was good at Networking an go some People on board.

I think it's quite funny, that'a a spot where paid for Training does really nothing to get you the job and a waste as you can find plenty on the public Domain. There has been many attempts to try to get some form of "certificate" program that is recognized as say as an entry creteria to have the job - to me that's a bunch of Bull Crap.

This type of stuff is popping up all over the industry with some false Advertising that the Training is needed to get the job. I've seen this Pop up in Clinical and Marketing Areas. Hell even some "unversities" are guilty of this - i.e. promising their program will enhance Access to certain careers, which is also B.S. - let me be Balance, there are one who aim to enhance formal subject matter knowledge but not Promise Access to career, in that context i'm ok.

But good to give the warning - to me i would make a list of These and publically post it.

Best,

DX


I would like to do that, DX, and we may yet talk about them specifically.

I agree with you that some Universities have pushed that same agenda. Theres one out of So. California that is infamous for "training PhD's for industry" and they've even got a certificate program for postdocs. So you get your undergrad, then your PhD, a postdoc period, and then you are supposed to pay for more training and "education" just to take a non-academic job? Wow. That's one screwed-up early career.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7863
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Teresa and 12 guests