Get a Ph.D. and become under/unemployed!!

C. A. Rebeiz CRebeiz at
Wed May 24 18:00:23 EST 1995

>X-Ph: V4.4 at
>To: arabidopsis at
>From: KLPOFF at MSU.EDU ("Ken_L.Poff")
>Subject: Get a Ph.D. and become under/unemployed!!
>Date: 23 May 1995 13:37:22 -0700
>Sender: daemon at
>I am writing this letter in part as a response to the message posted to this
>group by Ellen Kearns (Subject: project for sale). Ellen is looking for a
>job/lab where she can pursue her work. Ellen is giving herself one year to
>find a position, otherwise she is going to med school. ELLEN: don't wait. If
>you like medicine start med school as soon as possible.
>I am writing this letter to find out how people in this group feel about this
>ever-worsening job market.I keep hearing about an improving job market but see
>little evidence of such an improvement (Postdoc positions excluded).
>The question I have is: why are plant science departments graduating an ever
>increasing number of Ph.D. students who have ever decreasing chances of
>finding positions that require a Ph.D? Anyone with a convincing answer is
>welcome to respond to this question.
>Obviously, one is considered to become overqualified for most positions that
>do not require a Ph.D. and that puts us on the postdoc trail. Underemployed
>and mostly over-worked postdocs frequently perform many of the duties that a
>professor performs. The pay is minimal and is frequently below what a person
>with a bachelor's degree might be paid (Justification for this anyone?).
>I have two kids. I will make sure that they do not spend 40% of their life
>expectancy studying and working for something that is not there at the end of
>the day.
>If I sound disillusioned with the system of higher education, I am. However, I
>am hopeful that I will find some kind of a job where my degree will not be
>used to categorize me as over-qualified (This terminology sounds like a
>euphemism for: I am intimidated by the degree or expertise that you have).
>Your comments/ flames/ expressions of agreement or disagreement with the above
>should be addressed to:
> Janoudi at
>Abed Janoudi (Ph.D., several years of postdoc experience and still without a
>continuing job).
In Plant Sciences as well as in other disciplines the Ph.D does no longer
garantee a top paying job.  The market is glutted with average Ph.Ds that
have been produced as a by-product of a higher educational system that
stresses numbers instead of quality.  What is needed is a reassessment of
the Ph.D degree.  Emphasis should be placed on MS degrees that meet
industry's needs.  The Ph.D degree should be awarded only to the cream of
the cream and in numbers that will garantee a job commensurate with the
value of the those who succeed in going through the tough requirements of a
revalorized Ph.D.

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