I want to switch careers from PhD in chemical engineering to data scientist. How can I go about doing this without having everyone hate me?
Here is a long background on me and how I ended up in a PhD program that I hate:
I majored in chemical engineering from an Ivy League University and am now attending a similarly ranked, but much less prestigious UC in chemical engineering for my PhD.
I have some serious anxiety issues, depression issues and just general social phobia, so I did a horrible job of securing a job post-graduation. I didn't have a perfect GPA, but it wasn't bad (3.5/4.0). I felt really burned out and so I moved back home and tried to apply for jobs. I wasn't very motivated or good at it or even clear what field I wanted to work in.
My dad suggested I get a masters in financial engineering from UCB, but to do that I had to take a bunch of online courses and I lacked the motivation to complete them. If I had completed them, I would have gotten in though, so I screwed up that portion of my life. I also failed to email back the program director, to whom I had spoken when I stopped doing my work and returned to chemical engineering. I still feel a huge amount of guilt about that and I don't know how to fix it.
After living at home for several months, I applied to some PhD programs in chemical engineering so that at least I was doing something with my life.
I began graduate school and started researching during the summer. I really enjoyed my summer research and felt great about it. Now it is one year since I joined.
My courses went well, and I ended up with all A's except for a B+ in one course. I felt obligated to join the lab I worked in over the summer, but I should have changed to a more computational based one. I now regret not doing that. I passed my preliminary exam with the highest possible mark. I work on a research project involving many top universities and people.
I am really behind on my research right now, and that feels horrible.
Now it is one year after I started and I am feeling miserable. I really hate the lab work I am forced to do (my summer lab work was better). I didn't like any of the chemical engineering courses. I didn't like my undergraduate courses either. The courses are just dry and pointless.
I took one probability elective and I really liked it and I wish I had moved into data science or became a developer. I really like programming and I am naturally good at it.
I also have a great girlfriend for the first time. We've been dating about 8 months now. She has made me more confident and more aware of how distorted my thinking and decision making is. She is just getting a masters in chemical engineering. She is graduating in one year, so I don't mind being around her until then. I would love to move with her to Seattle post graduation and live with her up there.
If it didn't harm my lab, I would just drop out now without even bothering to complete my masters. Because I care about my lab, I don't want to drop out and harm things. I also don't want to waste 4 years of my life out of guilt.
I want to move away from chemical engineering and become a data scientists or C++ developer. I know I am capable of achieving these things as long as I have some motivation. At the end of the day I just want a high paying job.
How can I go about undoing my mistake of applying to graduate school and switching to a more promising career field?