- thereThere just were not enough jobs in research, even for the top tier of students .
- I was slower than other students.
- I was not motivated and had no support from my supervisor.
If you have a tendency towards procrastination (like I do), you can spend ages staying in a position that you don’t like.
- What do I want to do in the next years ? Don’t limit your options yet. Think freely.
- How do I get there ? ImageImagine what could be the best strategy to get there.
If point 2 involves quitting your current position, think about it aas a carreercareer move. No one wantwants to hurt feelings, but we’re talking about your life, not anyone else’s. If you explain that your decision comes from logical thinking, this should not be an issue. Offer to leave your notes in pristine condition,condition; offer to train or work with a new student for a couple of months. You may be surprised by your supervisors being supportive with the new direction you want to take. An experienced supervisor will certainly try to step in your shoes.
Where I currenlycurrently work we, we've had 4 directors (the top guy in the company) in two years. Each, each one quitting after 3 months or less. They are the guys supposed to care the most about the company, but they have no problem moving along if there’s something wrong.
A PhD was a childhood dream for me too. Now I don’t care. In my field a PhD means going from one postdocpostdoc position to another until the age of 35 or more. Sixteen years have passed since I quit. I’ve been working for years as an independantindependent contractor in IT. I was recently hired by my main client, but I’m not sure if I’ll stay. (If 4 directors can resign, I can too!)
About learning every day, be sure that you can still do it at any age, whatever your job is. I never gave up doing “research” on a personal level. So many books are written on everything. The internet is a blessing. YoutubeYouTube is a great source of knowlegeknowledge with lectures, documentaries, video blogs.
There is a world outside academia. Academia is like a box, but it is only after you get out of the box that you realize this. The academic ways of thinking are very formatted. Being successful in academia requires diplomatic and political skills that are not involved in research.
About regretting academia: just think about the miserable times you had. This should cure you.
About your supervisors disappointment: don’t worry too much about them. Your mother is going to be a lot more disappointed ;-) No, just joking. When I told my father I was quitting my PhD, I was expecting he would be upset. He just said:, “Oh, I see. Okay”Okay.”
About losing contact with the wonderful people: you will lose some contacts whether you get a PhD or not. Even if you stay around, some won’t. But you’ll stay in touch with the best.
I’m not pretending to offer a turnkey solution, only a few ideas to think about. Obviously my answer is biased in one direction: this is from my personal experience, but you really look like you have had enough of this.