The drum beat continues….

@Brainpicker on twitter pointed me to this This piece in ‘The Economist’ called ‘The Disposoable Ph.D.’ that brings up the current statistics on why the current Ph.D. system is truly broken. I have become very aware of this lately. And I know I got into science for the love of it, not the career prospects (though that would be a nice bonus). I also know that as a smart person, it’s up to me to carve out my own niche in the world. But the universities that employ Ph.D. students need to be a lot more encouraging of those of us choosing to get out of the academy (I’m on the fence: if I miraculously land an academic job, great. If not, well I’ll find my way somewhere else). The apprentice model is gone. We’re employees like at any other company and need to be much more free to leave- or pursue something else and not made to feel like we’ve failed at life for doing so. Consider me a disgruntled academic. And I will be until I can demonstrate I can get a job, I think I won’t be fully satisfied. I still love science. I am just not feeling well positioned to transition into something else. Perhaps 2012 will be my year. Despite what the facts seem to say, I do feel more optimistic and looking forward to exploring what’s out there. One thing that helps: spending less time in the lab and more time living my life doing things I enjoy. Gotta keep moving forward.

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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