Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I don't know whether to laugh or cry

As some of you know, I recently quit a Ph.D. program after toiling in misery for 6+ years.  I've been meaning to write a series of posts about this, but I don't think I'm quite ready yet.

In the interim, there's this video:

15 comments:

A Long Far View October 26, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

Ohhh I hear you. I'm an attorney who no longer wants to be that after two years of practicing (but still has the law school loans). Have you seen this video (you're a JD also aren't you?):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMvARy0lBLE

lavenderpug October 26, 2010 at 10:49 PM  

oh man. that was hilarious. i saw the attorney one also. oh what am i going to do with my life.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa October 26, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

@ A Long Far View: I did see the atty one too; I was just thinking about whether to send that to the rafts of students I have coming to me for law school recs, all of whom want to work on constitutional law. ;-)

@ lavenderpug: Perhaps we should all quit our jobs and open cupcake bakeries.

Busylizzy October 27, 2010 at 1:39 AM  

I didn't know, but I would be very interested to hear more when you feel ready, as I am stuck in a similar situation and worrying what to do. Good luck to do !

melinda October 27, 2010 at 8:38 AM  

I'd also be really interested in hearing about your experience when you're ready. I left academia as well and it's a hard thing to talk about with people who haven't been in that situation.

Try Anything Once Terri October 27, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

Hey there!

I am sure that it was a very hard thing for you to do. I have always been in awe of Phd. students because it take a level of self-motivation that I am not sure that I have. I LOVE the attorney one. I'm still transitioning out of law now and it's taking me awhile. I can't really bake, so the cupcake bakery is out of reach for me. :( I wish I had a marketable skill that I liked :)

Eileen October 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

I quit my PhD program after 4 years. It is such a hard decision and sometimes I still find myself questioning it. But I am fairly certain it is for the best, since I no longer want to be a professor.

However.. the hard thing for me is that I still am working on figuring out exactly what I *do* want to do with my life. I'm currently still working for my old advisor since the economy's been horrible and I couldn't find another job... not ideal! I've considered the cupcake bakery thing many times, myself :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa October 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

@ Busylizzy: I empathize. What's your program in?

@ melinda: I know! So many people said (and still say to me): "You're so close, why don't you just finish the dissertation?" And I'm at a total loss to explain why even though I only had 3 more chapters to write, those 3 chapters were inconquerable.

@ Terri: You, my friend, are full of marketable talents! Though I know that sometimes what's hardest is to winnow down which talents to market out of all the possibilities . . . .

@ Eileen: I'm in the same boat! I've been doing some consulting, but it feels a bit lost to have no "real" professional identity.

Katie October 27, 2010 at 6:45 PM  

Oh my dear I'm so sorry! I would love to hear your story when you are ready.

Last fall, I started a PhD program, but then resigned after one semester. Obviously, I didn't spend as much time working on the program as you did, but it seriously broke my heart to do it. I felt like I was admitting failure...so so quickly! However, once I was in the program I realized that it wasn't something I was going to be happy doing for 6 years on the way to the degree. Justin never saw me because of all the work I was doing, I was constantly stressed out because I wasn't provided with any kind of mentor/someone to guide me, and Justin and I really didn't mesh well with the town the school was in (in the middle of nowhere). In the end, I decided that our happiness and our marriage were more important to me than the degree, and we moved back to FL, where I am now unemployed (yikes). However, I am so so so much happier.

Anyway, good luck to you with what you decide to pursue...I hope you are happy and at peace with your decision!

The Bride Concierge October 27, 2010 at 8:04 PM  

I say good for you for having the guts to do what was best for you. It doesn't make sense to chase after something you don't really want.

I've got a bachelors plus a license and five years of experience in accounting (4 different jobs in 5 years). Sometimes people make fun of my constant job change like it's a joke, but it sort of hurts my feelings a lot. I kept telling myself it was the environment, however, I'm starting to realize the problem is the profession itself. I hope I have the strength to do as you have...

Mrs. Hot Cocoa October 28, 2010 at 12:47 AM  

@ Katie: I know it must have been a tough decision, but you were so smart to get out early. What was the program in?

@ The Bride Concierge: I totally hear you -- though I'd imagine it'd be even more difficult to leave a paying job than it would be to leave a barely paying Ph.D. I often wonder whether our generation would be happier if we were a bit more like previous generations, who saw jobs as just jobs -- not identities or vehicles for self-fulfilment?

Busylizzy October 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM  

@Mrs. HC: I am in genetics...

I spend the past 2 days at a workshop about career planning. I think it is really important to remember that we plan our career and our live _ourselves_, noone else. It was very helpful for me to get a clearer view of my wishes, dreams strengths, needs...

All the best to all of us!

Katie November 1, 2010 at 8:03 AM  

I was in an Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. Sad...because I am intrigued with the field...oh well! Life has a way of working out for the best I think!

nodakademic,  November 2, 2010 at 9:34 AM  

hahahahaahahah I love it!!

Nellie November 11, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

oh my... I'm with you about not knowing to laugh or cry. It's so sadly true. I'd love to hear your story when you're ready to tell it. I got through, but it feels like this world just never gets very good.

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