September 13, 2013

Life post–PhD

This week I have started to think more about life post-PhD. As I am coming towards the end of year 3 of 4, I am becoming increasingly aware of the need to think more about what I want to do next. I have been on some courses to consider career options and look at my strengths and weaknesses and I think these have definitely helped me understand the process of job applications and interviews much better. However, I'm still not set on one particular career path- its all still a bit fuzzy!

To be honest, I have never really understood people who know exactly what they want to do. I have always made decisions based on what I am interested in and enjoy doing, as I feel this is really important if you are going to be both successful and happy in any particular role. On reflection I have been quite lucky as things have fallen into place for me at the right time so far, but my need to plan and organise makes this option very nerve-racking for me!

On the one hand I could stay in academia- I have enjoyed my MSc and PhD and I like the independence and flexibility an academic life can offer. However, I am aware of the need to obtain regular funding, of short post-docs and all the additional teaching responsibilities that come with being an academic, so it's difficult to know if I would be happy with this!

The alternative is to move out of direct research and into maybe an admistrative or research support role. I think I would enjoy a change, but I don't know if I would become bored after a short time and seek the challenge and pressure of an academic role again!

So, it seems like there are lots of job options out there, but the number of jobs is variable in the current economic climate. People often ask me what I am going to do after my PhD and they expect a specific job title. It is sometimes difficult to explain that a PhD leaves many options and not just one!

Ah, more thinking to be done I suppose!

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