I have just passed my transfer for a PhD project I don't enjoy, and am trying to decide what to do next.
Some background first: I graduated originally as an MEng, but have been out of engineering practise for approximately 10 years. I started my PhD at a UK Doctoral Training Centre with a view to re-entering engineering with some more up to date knowledge/discovering academia was where I wanted to be and staying. With 20-20 hindsight, I should have probably done a Masters to find this out, but anyway. I had a fairly free project choice, and chose something I thought would be interesting, but in a new area for me. I have had doubts for about six months, but told myself that I was just stressed about transfer, and shouldn't make any decisions until I had got through that and could think clearly. In doing so I may well have dug myself in deeper. I have two years of funding left, and could leave with a Masters at any time.
Anyway, as far as I see it I have three options:
Re-shape my project to see if I can finish it. My reservations about this are that I am not really part of a research group and one of the difficulties I have faced is not having anyone to guide me when I get stuck. I'm pretty much learning everything for the first time, alone. While I could reshape the project, I worry that I will just find myself back here again in a few more months. I have convinced myself a number of times already that "it will be alright" but it still isn't.
Approach other academics at the Uni to start again with something completely new (I am funded, not the project). Has anyone else completely changed their project a year in and completed on time? Has anyone changed after transfer/upgrade - is this even possible?
Go to the engineering industry and try and convince them that the masters I have as a result of the first part of my studies is useful, and that the career path I have had to date (which has been varied) will settle with a return to engineering. How I convince them that I have the sticking power and the skills after 10 years off and a half-finished research degree is another matter...
I have started to talk to my tutor at University about option one and two, but would appreciate some advice from those not invested in the outcome. Thanks