Why not to get a PhD? Best / worse case scenario

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He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not…..

To do PhD. Not to do PhD. To do PhD. Not to do PhD.

Is it that easy to decide whether to get a PhD or not? Or, should I better say “to pursue a PhD degree or not”? Getting a PhD is a trophy at the end of the research journey. It is not just an action of getting into a store and asking: “Could I get one PhD, please?” It requires lots of motivation and thinking about the outcomes, our goals, career aspiration and family/social bonds surrounding us.

 In thinking of the motivation for PhD, there are many reasons we might have listed in our “pros and cons” list, trying to make the right decisions. Also, there are always many questions considering the decisions. What I like doing the most, is examining the situation by a simple best/worse analysis I read in one book (don’t remember which one. Luckily, here I won’t be persecuted for not stating a reference J).

Here are the questions for analysis:

1) What is the best thing that can happen if I do a PhD course?    (++)

 2) What is the worst thing that can happen if I do a PhD course?    (- +)                

 3) What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do a PhD course?    (+ -)

 4) What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do a PhD course?    (- -)

These four simple questions can refer to anything else in our lives. No matter is it a choice of holiday destination, taking a summer course, buying a new car, learning to play a music instrument, etc., these best/worse analysis can always help us predict and imagine the outcomes.

So, let me try to give some of the reasons for yes/no.

1) What is the best thing that can happen if I do a PhD course?  (++)

  • degree – someone might call you “ Hey Doctor!”
  • confidence in your ability and knowledge
  • career progression
  • honour
  • status
  • prestige
  • make a significant contribution to the knowledge (or, at least “ a contribution”) 

2) What is the worst thing that can happen if I do a PhD course?  (- +)                

  • being a student again
  • limited student income
  • lack of work experience for the market employability
  • delaying family planning
  • setting a  PhD as a priority, in front of family, friends and “real life out there”
  • focusing on the same subject for at least three years

3) What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do a PhD course? (+ -)

  • find a decent job and start working on your career
  • set your own business
  • plan a family
  • enjoy your holidays and travel
  • having time for hobbies and anything else

4) What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do a PhD course?   (- -)

  • being stuck in the same place for the next three years
  • not progress in career
  • maybe not even having a job
  • not having a clear career or life goal
  • having time
  • regret the wasted opportunity
  • ….

So….why wouldn’t we do a PhD course? This small, simple analysis will show how the best/worst scenario might look like. The decision is yours.

Do you agree with the analysis? Share your thoughts and reasons for and against. 

 

P.S. BTW, I remember now the author’s name. He is an incredible role model, my childhood hero Dr Benjamin Carson. Find his book Take the Risk Dr Ben Carson: Take the Risk (or many other published books), or take a look at his inspiring and courageous speech from National Prayer Breakfast with US President Obama, February 2013 

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One thought on “Why not to get a PhD? Best / worse case scenario

  1. Pingback: ANOTHER GREAT VIDYA FROM PROF ILARDI | UFMLL: How To Stop Being A Morally Lazy Loser

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