Saturday, 7 February 2015

Pilgrimage for a Job - PhD to Industry

It's been a while I guess, but the time between the last pilgrimage post and this new one offered a few important reflections on the state of academia state of public research and how well people are NOT coping. Last time I offered the result of my brief research on jumping from a PhD to a career in consulting as part of a three way route-out along with a career in industry, or finding a nice job in the business industry. Vague? Maybe to a certain extent, but this time I believe it is important to cover that exact extent with a basic analysis.

Why you need to leave academia in 2015? 
by someone in the Cheeky Scientist

"I thought climbing my ways to the highest echelons of academia would give me this life [a better life]. I would be paid well, treated well, and allowed to do meaningful work. But I was very wrong."

"Stop ignoring the data... 360,000 [is] the number of people with graduates degrees on government assistance in 2010."

"68,000 [is] the number of postdocs in the U.S. alone waiting for tenured professorships."

"100,000 [is] the number of PhDs granted in a four year period."

"Over 60% [is] the number of PhDs who will not have a paying job at graduation."

And the horrible data blurbs on and on and on in every sad statement publicly made from someone honestly worried about his own future. But it is important to understand that our ostridge attitude of extreme complacency is also to blame. That is well stressed in the original article.

"You're not above the data. You are the data... The fairy tale is over. Academia is broken. The time to leave it is now. If you don't leave it you will be poor, mistreated and unhappy."

"The academic system makes you so dependent that you get used to being treated poorly... Professors have too much power over you and often abuse this power."

"There are thousands and thousands of non-academic jobs in the world right now that allow you to do meaningful work while also being paid well."

I very recently shared a comment with a Biotechnology Recruitment Specialist that stated there are many roles out there to be filled, but a shortage of top candidates. And in my opinion this is the result of a long and old vicious cycle that starts with poor understanding of the job market by academia, and a greedy fly attitude by the industry. Here I quote myself!

@ Simon: I don't mean to be the devil's advocate, but I see here two really big problems, 1) Universities are not preparing their students for jobs outside academia (that is undeniable) and 2) Industry is looking for a thousand skills' employee rather than employing many people with different skills (and this is just because industry wants to save on wages!!!!). If there are vacancies to fill in, these both sides of the coin are to blame. People can only do what they are taught to and businesses can only use what is available out there. Sad, but true.

Industry is not the miracle out there waiting for you to to happen. You must know what jobs you can do, what differs you from the rest of the herd, what skills will prompt your successful career in industry. That, whilst you wait businesses to have a more ethic (hope I am not offending anyone with this word) approach towards hiring superhumans.

by someone in MindThePhD

Here are a few titles that someone compiled for us to have a simple idea. There are many more, but a title is nothing, always look in depth to the job description.

Pharmacovigilance officer if you are good with data, databases and compiling adequate information;

Regulatory Affairs Manager if you went through  the adequate formation as I tried to, see here.

Quality Assurance/Compliance Auditor/Manager if you like ISO and protocols;

Product Development Manager if you are R&D passionate with good communication skills;

Clinical Research Associate if you like running clinical trials working closely with hospital staff and medics;

Project Manager if you like working as a consultant (see previous pilgrimage article) trying to perfect your client's strategy;

Medical Science Liaison/Regional Science Manager/Clinical Research Scientist if you are great with establishing relationships, develop educational material for clients and travelling a lot. God, I see myself doing this for sure! I got my eye on this one!!!

This was a long post, but queing for job seekers allowance can also be long and tedious. Make the most of your skills, work with dignity and professionalism, but most of all be honest to yourself when leaving academia. Ask yourself these three questions before applying to a certain job:

1) Do I know how to do this?

2) Can I learn fast how to do it?

3) Is there something more releated to what I actually know?

Good luck!

Picture kindly taken from Pinterest, []. 

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