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Think twice before you decide to do a doctorate

June 9, 2012

I kinda like having a PhD.  I like my faculty job – in Sweden.  Too much teaching, too little research, but it is alright.  A place for the odd ducks.

But, I wouldn’t want my kids to do it (unless they are already independently wealty and do it for a lark, or I realized that they were single minded and pig-headed enough to actually succeed. So far, there is only the gamer showing that kind of pigheadedness, and he probably shouldn’t do research).  In fact, as it looks now, I would be reluctant to pay for their college education.  (They live in Sweden, though, so the taxpayers would foot it. Perhaps Scotland will still do it freely when it is their turn).

I’m not alone in this assessment.  Both Matt Wall and Mark Changizi has tweeted in this blog with the title 100 reasons not to go to grad school.  As of this post they are up to 83.

Even when I went to grad school, I was aware that this may be the end point for me, and I had little patience with people who complained about it, yet did not quit.  Why go through the pain, when you can earn so much more elsewhere?  Do it because you like it.

Now, I’m not even sure if I would recommend anybody doing it for the fun of it.  Unless they had their eyes wide open about it.  And, at least in Sweden, it is treated more like a job, and you do get relatively well compensated for it, if you are lucky enough to get in.

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