New answers tagged

0

It is not helpful to compare yourself to who you aren't. There is an interesting concept in economics called "opportunity cost", which is essentially the cost of not doing something because, due to limited resources, you chose to do something else instead. In your case, you left your program and focused on yourself rather than your academics. ...


4

When an employer hires someone to do a job, in academia or anywhere else, their goal is to hire the best person to do that job, according to some notion that the people in charge of hiring have of what “best” means. Now, you can reasonably disagree with someone else’s idea of what “best” means and think that they’d be making a mistake to hire person X over ...


12

No sane committee is ever going to turn down a candidate solely for being 'too experienced', and it is rarely meaningful to reduce someone's CV and accumulated experience to just a few numbers. However, this comes with some qualifications: If someone is reaching career milestones (e.g. first Asst. Prof. job) much later than the norm, a committee might ...


0

People enter pure math PhD programs because they enjoy doing mathematics and will have a stable career afterwards. That career may or may not involve doing mathematics, but who cares? If you can get a programming job now, or after spending five years obtaining a math PhD, which would you rather do? You can leave the PhD at any time if your preferences change....


8

Look - for a homo economicus, a PhD program in (pure) math is clearly a bad idea. I quit a $60K/yr job back in 1999 to do a math PhD. My current salary as a tenured associate professor is a little more than $70K/yr - less than my salary 20 years ago adjusted for inflation. I'm probably out most of a million dollars in lost earnings. I faced a much ...


11

why should I enter a pure math PhD program with the goal of entering academia if I will (1) probably not achieve this goal, (2) probably have a few hard years after my math PhD, and (3) probably end up in industry in which case I could have taken a less stressful route and even prepared myself better with a PhD in another field? With the mindset that you ...


0

Unless you are already financially free, ultimately the most important reason for education is to enable get you a job. Note an academic job is also a job. It is something that pays the bills and puts food on the table. In this sense it is no different from working as a cashier at your local supermarket. Why study at all if you can just work at your local ...


3

First, a math PhD is meant to give you training to learn how to do research in mathematics, which is different than training you only for academia. There are different reasons to pursue a math PhD, and in my experience a lot of (most?) people who start don't even know what they want to do career-wise after they finish. It's true a math PhD is the best ...


-4

First some good news, with many things shut down due to the coronavirus, there is no need to feel ashamed or like a failure to the people back in India, nothing to brag about, but no shame either. Explain to them that things are very bad here in the job market. Tell them (probably lie) that all your co-workers in the call center have college degrees. Mention ...


9

I graduated in the recession of 2008 with a bachelors. I couldn't find a job for 3 years. Of course, I was younger not having spent as much time in school because no post-grad degree. The job I did end up getting was in my field, but not my specialty by a long shot and did not use my knowledge base or skills at all. I am on my second job after graduation now ...


6

The academic path is harder than many people think. You're doing fine. Some people do better and some don't, but it's not a personal failing, there's a large degree of luck involved too. Do what makes sense to you. If you feel you are missing skills, while being a post-doc take a few extra classes to fill the gaps. If you don't have enough publications, ...


13

To answer the explicit question, no, not every career can be salvaged. But yours doesn't seem to fall into that category. You are experiencing a natural emotional letdown, but it is based, I suspect, much more on the state of the academic economy than on any failings on your part. But, since such feelings can be debilitating, it would be good to deal with ...


87

You did a PhD in 5 years, published 4 papers and got an offer for a 2-year postdoc position in times where research funding decreases. Keep going, looks fine. Take some courses or workshops on topics where you think you aren't skilled enough, but given that you could publish, I suspect that you underestimate yourself here. "Can I still get into ...


0

I am not totally familiar with how social science graduate programs work. But, in general, in order to have success with grad school applications after your undergraduate: (1) you should show you have the theoretical knowledge needed to succeed in your research and graduate studies (2) AND you should show some hands-on experience, at least tangentially, ...


1

I've been (am?) doing something that may be along the lines you are thinking about. As a PhD student, I decided from the experience of many short fixed term contracts (I started with 3 consecutive contracts covering my first 6 months...) that an economic plan B is needed that can be put into action at short notice whenever needed. That plan was a small side-...


2

I'm not a personal or employment counsellor, but you should probably visit one. However, I think the only big mistake you made was to be born in the year you were, leading up to finishing your degree in a period that is very difficult for academics generally with an unfavorable job market and, then, along comes the pandemic. It isn't you, of course. Being ...


4

In my observation, there are some advantages and disadvantages in academia for faculty who come from an industrial background and have research interests relating to industry. The main benefit I have seen is that this often gives useful applied research ideas, and it also often gives scope for some research projects that are of benefit to industry, and ...


0

There can be confusion over academic standards between the US and Europe. If this is the case, you can send to your prospective advisor, samples of the exam papers you have taken. It is not possible to say whether this might have any effect, but think about it. I am quoting advice given to my son by his British advisor before applying, successfully, to MIT.


17

Honestly I don't have any valid reason, I did not pay attention earlier to my academic studies. But I think I can't mention that. What can be some possible reasons that I can tell him? On the contrary, if you think that was the cause, then that's exactly what you should say. Prospective supervisors are interested in a lot of aspects of candidates, and ...


0

That part of the interview is not a test. You simply ask the questions that you want to know the answers to, not that somebody on this site told you to ask.


15

Providing that you have done better recently, then the reasons you give here are fine. "I didn't pay attention early in my studies." People look for growth, not just excellence overall. In fact, that growth can be a strength. Just be honest, both about the past and more recent things. And focus on the ways you are prepared to move forward. Honesty ...


0

It seems that your advisor has not done a great job mentoring you in your post-PhD job search. It's typical for advisors to at least forward on job announcements to students on the hunt, and these tend to be pretty widely circulated. I'm a postdoc and I get emails like this asking me to forward on to good candidates, so even junior professors should have ...


6

Your last sentence makes me think that the question you ask in the title may not be the question you're really interested in. If you feel lost, talk to people. Friends, family, professionals, whichever you feel most comfortable with, but get help. How much does the future career of a PhD student matter to the advisor? The subsequent careers of the collective ...


2

Disclaimer: I don't know the UK job market, I'm from Germany. I'd just apply for jobs that seem interesting to you, using your current degrees. You got a solid background in EE from your BS, and your MSc shows that you have a broader knowledge and a somewhat interdisciplinary, scientific thinking, documented by the ability to switch from EE to CS. That ...


0

Guest speakers are common place. Their bookers vary between (internal) faculty and administrators. Search for listings of departmental speakers. From there, find a faculty member or administrator responsible for making arrangements and contact them. That's not quite the approach you've considered (external bookers), but I think it is more typical in academia....


2

There are certainly professional speakers, who make their money by giving paid seminars, speaking at conferences, and providing bespoke training. That said, their target audience is rarely (though not never) universities, but rather companies or industrial conferences. The problem with making speaking at universities as a career is that, in order to actually ...


4

NSF has just thrown out it's CV/resume system for grant proposals and adopted ScienCV (NIH's sysetm), roughly speaking. This system can, with a fair amount of work, mine your ORCID and setup your CV for NSF's grant proposals for the future. If you submit a proposal without using this "new" system, NSF will return it without review. ORCID is ...


2

The situation is resolved: I spoke to SV plainly and explained to her that I found her supervision last year unacceptable. I did so in a factual, polite manner, listed specific occasions where I felt left alone, and concluded, given the poor results, that it may be best for both of us if I continued to work with the other, younger professor. It turned out ...


0

(This is more an idea about a different approach than an answer. I'm curious to see what folks currently active in academia (ideally in comp sci) think about it. Meant to complement the other strong answers.) Seek collaboration. You have strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of them. I'm guessing you're great at execution, and unusually analytical, based ...


2

On your point about how to spot "research questions": spotting unsolved problems is a challenge in itself because usually one approaches a subject from the student point of view. Practical advice: read papers and pay attention to the conclusions. Often there are paragraphs along the lines of "will be explored in future work" or "...


0

Change advisors. Some highly successful professors (highly published/cited) are both terrible bosses and terrible human beings. Remember, while you may be treated like an employee, you aren't--you are an apprentice, and a minion. Expect abuse. TA/RA positions are funded so professors can dump some of their workload onto graduate students, and actually keep ...


-1

A PhD carries weight in academic environments in a way it doesn't in any other context. Your colleagues will respect someone with a doctorate more, and it will provide opportunities for job opportunities within academia that are closed to people without a PhD. Depending on quirks of college funding, you may even find yourself joining the faculty in capacity (...


1

You should probably quit. Unlike master/bachelors, getting a PhD is all about doing research and publishing the results. In the formal sense, research implies working on novel problems, at the edge of human understanding. Hence, publishable research has to be novel, in the sense that no one has done it before, and significant, in the sense it answers ...


1

Should I consider quitting my PhD, or moving to a lower-rank institute? Why is your situation frustrating to you? Overall, reading between the lines, I see a discouragement at a growing awareness of your limitations versus what you believe about the expectations being put on you. My foremost recommendation is this: You should have a discussion with your ...


12

I like reading about new solutions, new problems and try to solve them myself. Do you find any flaws in the solutions that you read about? Any space for improvement? Could a different approach be taken? Are the problems you read about framed appropriately? Maybe they are too theoretical, and making more realistic assumptions would yield different results? ...


15

I don't want to step on the excellent answer of lighthouse keeper but an additional idea would be to join or form a discussion group in which a few students, perhaps in a similar situation as yourself, get together to discuss issues and search for open questions. Read a few papers (jointly) and discuss them. What is left unsaid in the papers. The synergy of ...


35

Your situation hints at a mismatch between your supervisor's supervision style (which is fairly hands-off) and the style you would need to be productive (which requires more guidance and input in the beginning, with the goal of ultimately having you become more independent). My recommendation is: Find a co-advisor with a more hands-on supervision style. That ...


5

(this answer is based not on my personal experience, but I know a number of people struggling with depression, some of them also in academia, and some quite close to me) I don't think it's rational to decide that your academic career is hopeless. You are on a PhD track after all. You are still in a position where you can do good work, make people notice you, ...


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