Don’t do a PhD

I know, easy for me to say, given that my fancy-schmanzy degree is firmly clutched in my hands. And even easier given my recent appointment to a continuing academic job (not in the area of my PhD, but I do have expertise and qualifications in the field). But should you be contemplating doing a PhD, with the aim of getting an academic job, you might like to read this first.

The disposable academic: why doing a PhD is often a waste of time

H/T: The Witty Knitter

Habitués of universities will know that academic salaires, good though they are, have been losing ground relative to other professions, and that there are many more contract positions, often poorly paid, driving academic pay, on average, down even further. I’ve often wondered if this is linked to the increasing number of women in the profession, another manifestation of the Russian doctors social mobility issue.

In short, my advice to people planning to start on a PhD in order to get a union ticket for an academic career: Don’t.


5 responses to “Don’t do a PhD

  1. Yep – it makes me angry just thinking about the fact that pay and prestige goes down as soon as it becomes female-dominated (unless you’re a super model).
    I suppose the only way to guarantee a top income is to switch to whatever mostly boys are doing.

  2. my husband is about 3 weeks from handing in his phd thesis… hes a research technician and the only way to advance his career was to do a phd, I am so over it and advice anyone wanting to do a phd to go see a psychologist first….

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  4. I did a PhD for the intellectual rigour my supervisor (Stephen Knight)would bring to the topic of the Mothers of Crime fiction–I could have written just the book, but I wanted that extra input from a critical engagement. It’s now published as WOMEN WRITERS AND DETECTIVES IN C19TH CRIME FICTION, and is stronger for being a thesis (and then duly de-thesizized) Lucy Sussex

  5. I agree about the intellectual rigour of a PhD. It’s PhD as entrée to an academic career that seems like such a risky venture to me.