Graduate Programs

Dr Love JL at srv0.med.ed.ac.uk
Mon Jul 31 07:53:58 EST 1995


Sami  Kohan <skohan at ucla.edu> wrote:
>I was thinking of apply to a Ph.D.  program(I'm just about to start my
>3rd year as an undergrad. in Mol/Cell Bio) and I was wondering if others
>might share in their experiences. Specifically, what did you look for in
>programs?Why did you pick the program that you did? What other schools
>did you apply to? etc. Thanks


Don't do it Sami.

There are far too many PhDs out here with far more experience than you (will ever have) which are 
finding it difficult to find work.There's an over supply of PhDs.

For the years of effort you will put into a PhD you get a lottery ticket to play the postdoc 
cycle. This game is a CONTINUOUs revolving job hunt. There is no security or even humanity in the 
POstdoc cycle. Your chances of getting tenure, or even a "secure" job in ANY area (gov, indus or 
acad) are very low. Oh, abilities and skill? They don't count for much. And yuo will get as much 
of both by NOT getting a PhD and (simply) being a tech (the rest of your life).

I have a PhD in Biochem&MolBio, over a decade of experience in "Biotechnology" working on 
everything from AIDS to endangered species. The fact is, no one wants you for more than a few 
years. After that about the only career advice/help you are liklely to get from your "employer" is 
"Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out."

I regret that I didn't stay a tech. But after 5 or 6 years I got sick of the insecurity and 
thought a PhD would add to my career. It was the biggest mistake I'vce   ever  made. 
The PhD simply makes you overly qualified and justifies the "expendablity" attitude which PhDs 
have to live with.

My advice is to become a tech. Experience in the lab as a tech is of much greater value to future 
employers than a PhD. And you won't get youur expectations up  or waste years of your life working 
on the PhD.
Alternatively, consider a career in medicine, law (patents?) or business.

The Catch-22 is, if you are smart enough to be a scientist, you are smart enough not to be!

Sincerly,

Dr Jamie (not Strange) Love




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