However, I would like to ask you: how did you deal with the contemptuous attitude of your advisor and peers when you mention that perhaps a different job (in my case a sales rep position) might better your understanding of business in the biotech and/or pharma industry. You comments on this would be highly appreciated.Couple of things. Bill, who commented on your questions, used to work with me. He in fact picked up my project when I graduated. So, at least one person still talks to me... I would say that amongst my direct peers I did not get any "attitude". A lot of questions (and that continues to this day) but no attitude. From my adviosor...whether I had stayed in academia or not he and I didn't part on the best of terms. His opinion, at the end of the day, was irrelevant to me. My departmental chairmans opinion, on the other hand, was a bit harder to stomach. He was, essentially, done with me. There were several other faculty that felt/acted this way. It's too bad really, but I have to say that I sort of expected it and didn't care.
By the way: You blog came up when I did a google search on info on what to do with my PhD. Thank you. Your are making my life much happier, together with www.phdcomics.com
Also, I have a very similar story about finishing up. My significant other is also telling me that I would hate myself if I don't finish.
I will say, though, that I DIDNT talk about what I was going to do next. I didn't bounce the idea off of them or anything like that. As I got real close to graduation and people directly asked, I answered that "I didn't have anything lined up but was looking to industry". That set people back, but I was essentially already out the door so the uncomfortable overlap was pretty short. I keep in touch with a couple of people from Grad school. None of the faculty, just some of my peers.
It will happen. I knew it and didn't care. Think you have to have that attitude.
With regard to finishing. I wasn't happy to hear it from her at the time becuase she was totally right and I was totally miserable. Hang in there.