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deciding *against* a Ph.D.

Thu Dec 17 13:57:27 EST 1992

> I'm facing a serious decision regarding the direction of my scientific career.
> I am in the 4th year of my Ph.D. program in microbiology, and I have battled
> a terrible lack of motivation for the last 1 1/2 years.  It has been bad enough
> for my adviser to threaten to discontinue financial support if my productivity
> did not improve.  My problem is not my adviser or even my project.  My problem
> is that the very thought of getting my Ph.D. only to devote my lilfe to sitting
> at a lab bench and wrestling for  grant funding has become truly depressing. I
> have discovered, at this late juncture, that I am not well-suited to bench work. During a long, soul-searching discussion with my adviser, we devised a short
> term plan.  For the next academic quarter, I will somehow devote all my energies to my research.  At the end of that time, I can continue in the Ph.D. program
> if: 1)I have demonstrated increased productiviy and motivation and
>     2)there's funding for my project
> If not, I can write up what I've got for a Master's Degree or take a leave of absence.  I'm comfortable with these options, but I'm left wondering what to do
> with myself in *any* of these situations.  I'm posting here in the hope that
> someone either has had a similar experience or can offer some suggestions on howto creatively use a B.S. in Biology and an MS in Microbiology (or Ph.D. in
> Micro, if  I make it that far).
> I suppose it would be beneficial to any others with the same dilemma to post
> responses, but you can also reply to me via e-mail at:
>                        diqui at lenti.med.umn.edu
> Thanks in advance for any suggestions and feedback,
> Diqui La Penta
> --
> ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
> ?       diqui at lenti.med.umn.edu  |        "I got me some birds outside        ?
> ?                                |         what sit on my windowsill          ?
> ?     University of Minnesota    |         some birds won't, you know,        ?

Although posted to womenbio, your concern probably affects males
and females alike.
There are many careers, including science admistration, for those
who find they do not like  bench work.  Many of these, however,
require the Ph.D. degree as sort of a badge of honor for employment.
Many years ago, my wife chose do discontinue her Ph.D. studies
in favor of a master's degree after getting married for some of the
same reasons you have cited.  She now finds that she is shut out
of many interesting jobs, none of which involve bench work, because
she does not have the Ph.D. degree.

Jim Cassatt

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