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Regret not going Ph.D.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:08 am
by toby
Hi all,

This is a question for those of you who don't have a Ph.D. or have contemplated getting one. Do any of you regret NOT getting the Ph.D.? I often hear the other side of the story, Ph.Ds who regret getting their Ph.D. and some who don't, but would like to hear the otherside. Thanks.

-t

Regret not going Ph.D.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:00 am
by Lora
That's the whole reason I went back for my Ph.D.! I spent several years working with only a B.Sc. and got very frustrated with it. Mostly, I wasn't allowed to make any decisions, and I spent a lot of time watching managers make bad decisions. Whenever I (or the QA people, or the other technicians) explained why we needed to head in a more feasible or, for lack of a better word, *modern* direction, my input was frequently ignored and often patronized because I hadn't got my wings, and I was told so in no uncertain terms. I couldn't move ahead in my field, and lots of jobs in the Midwest make you spend several months, if not years, as a temp before offering a permanent tech/associate position, while Ph.D.s are routinely hired as full-time senior scientists, even if they end up producing very little work and quit or get fired within months. I ended up losing my health insurance after a layoff because all the available jobs were temp-to-perm arrangements with no benefits.

The thing you have to remember is that businesses, like any organism, don't function optimally--they function well enough to get by till the next quarter, the next fiscal year, the next stockholder meeting. Lots of businesses have poor HR practices, and with a B.Sc. you're considered replaceable with a single call to LabSupport. It doesn't matter much what your skills or background are like.

On the up side, no one cared if I worked two jobs. Even working for competitors and subcontractors was permitted at one company I worked for, where part-timers often worked for subcontractors, competitors, and usually for restaurants on the weekends. I was usually allowed to go home (or to my second job) at 5:00. That doesn't sound like much of a privilege, but depending on what the local unemployment rates are, it can be quite a lot: in the town where I did my undergrad degree, there's a 25% unemployment rate and wages are 10% less than they are even an hour's drive away. Imagine being stuck making $8/hour for ten years, and you see what I mean about the importance of having a second job.

Regret not going Ph.D.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:34 pm
by Bill King
You did not mention your fields.. chemistry perhaps? or microbiology?