Anyway, I promise I don't really spend all that much time angsting about The Future because being stressed annoys me. Still, The Future cometh and I've decided to do one thing every Monday about it. And what could be more productive than online ranting?
So here's the roster of supposed career options for folks in my boat:
If PhD not completed either for reasons of sucking or quitting,
- Leave with a Masters I guess?
- Do... something.
Postdoc. Noooooooooo... maybe? So, academia. I've found a lot to dislike about going into Research Academia. Mainly the usual gripe about the horrible odds of getting a job in a reasonable time frame in a place you want to live and having to negotiate moving all around the country during the postdoc years with your SO and potentially making young children move all over as well and yeah. And grantwriting booo. The way I see it, you have to really REALLY love doing science to put up with all that. I like learning science, but I definitely don't love DOING it enough to put myself through all that. On the other hand, maybe if an opportunity opened up to work on the right project I might consider a postdoc...
Teaching Academia. I think I could be a decent teaching professor. No real basis for that other than my own gut feeling, the fact that I have some family history of teachers, and that I prefected a class in undergrad once and more or less enjoyed it and got good reviews. On my super-confident days, I like the idea. Most days though it's pretty meh. Like research, I don't think I particularly care enough about teaching to go through the exact same rigamarole of postdoc-ing and traveling all over the place and the tenure games and whatnot.
Science Writing. Ha! I once toyed with this idea, then quickly saw that this is not something one pursues as a career. It pays super-crappy, and has even fewer spots open at the top. Again, I'd have to be WAY more passionate about writing to go into this. Also I'd have to learn to write good.
Industry. Stereotypically, I have very little clue about what "industry" is like. I'm in neuroscience, for which there are two basic forms: pharma and computational. I am neither computationally-inclined nor interested in molecular biology so... Also I hear these jobs are dried up as well? Can anyone confirm/deny? And is it as soul-sucking as people say or does everyone in it find a way to reach happiness equilibrium anyway?
Consulting. I guess you go around fixing people's problems or something? I don't mind the short project-oriented nature of it, but I'm not really in a mood to have a job that requires traveling away from home all the time.
Government. I dunno what this is either. I guess you can write/review grants for a living? Yay! No.
Okay folks, that's the list. As you can see, I'm very good at finding problems with my options and shooting them down (are there careers that reward pessimistic rationalization?). Unfortunately, this has resulted in the elimination of all the career paths I know about that actually "require" the degree which I'm working towards. This is where you help:
What can I do that's not on this list?
If you could just figure that out for me, that would be great. Right now, I'm leaning towards Winning the Lottery or Just Sort of Floating Along and Getting Lucky as I Go as the most optimal career paths.
Also, you should know that I have taken those career aptitude tests and whatnot and found that I'm supposed to either be a farmer or go into forestry. So I suppose there's always that.