Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Will they all hate me?

From my comments back here....A question about leaving the academic world behind...

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.

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.
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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. I am flattered you actually wrote a post on my comment.

Maybe I should stop talking about my job search. Or say something vague like: "I'm still looking".

By the way:
You may be able to make some money in counseling or by writing a book!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous,

Its a bit surprising to me that you're getting flack from your fellow students for wanting to go into industry. I'd say 50% or more of the students I went to school with either went to or wanted to go into industry (and I didn't go to a crap school either). If people are realistic, they'll understand that in a world where the average age of someone obtaining their first R01 grant is over 40, industry is a very viable and pragmatic alternative to being a poor postdoc forever. Not to mention the fact that something like only 10% of people 5 years out of grad school in the biomedical sciences have their own labs. That means the other 90% of us will either be still toiling away as postdocs, or hopefully finding some better alternative that allows us to earn a decent living.

yes said...

To the second Anonymous.... Exactly! Saves me typing it...

Peers were easy and remain curious (I will convert them all!!!!).

I don't think I went to a crap school (it was in Boston to narrow it down...) either - so I don't think it has much to do with that.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you're still answering questions on this blog anymore, but I have one based on this post. What did you do for references if the attitude of your adviser and department chair was so negative regarding your career choice?