“A PhD is Pointless if you don’t get a Lecturing Job”
The link between getting a PhD and stepping into an academic role can seem so obvious, that it can obscure any of the other options or possible futures that are opened up by achieving doctorate. This is emphasised all the more because as a PGR student you are probably regularly meeting with or talking to academics who have already followed that path.
In fact, most students who gain a PhD do not go on to become an academic. This does not mean they have failed or wasted their time getting a doctorate. Studying at PGR level develops a huge range of skills and knowledge that make you a valuable employee in a whole host of roles.
If you have successfully completed a Phd you have demonstrated that you can self-motivate, self-manage, problem solve, be creative, research, synthesise complex data and ideas, evaluate evidence and think about complicated problems and concepts at a deep level. This is not a combination of abilities that are easy for employers to find.
You will also have a deep knowledge base – in fact, you may be a world expert in your field. This may have applications in areas you haven’t previously considered e.g. in business or the media.
It may also be that you step out of university for a while but come back into an academic role a few years later. Nothing is forever and many careers tend not to follow straight lines.
Of course, you may still want to be an academic. But being open to possibilities and considering alternatives can give you more confidence about your future and open up more exciting possibilities.
We discuss this more in Planning For The World After.