I guess this should be one of the most important posts of the blog. Now that I have read the few posts that I have already written, I get the impression that I am always venting, which is something true that I should change. However, despite the fact that my PhD has not been an exciting experience for me, there are other reasons why I want to leave academia. I will try to make a quick list that will be updated in the near future if necessary.
1. I must recognize that I didn’t have a good experience with my PI and that his discouraging attitude and lack of leadership in the lab has made me feel extremely frustrated. Working in this lab has been very very very stressing for me and therefore, I have not really enjoyed the work.
2. I want to see the results of my work because I am a practical person. I believe that basic research is extremely necessary, but being honest, I am not the kind of person who can work happily on something which might or might not be useful in the future. I would like to know that my day-to-day work is going to be surely useful for at least one person in the world. I would like to have short-term results. This doesn’t mean that I am not patient enough… in fact I think I am very very patient. However, I don’t see myself doing basic research forever. I want to be useful for society in the short term.
3. I have worked a lot during these years and I have published my results and received an award at a congress… even though I didn’t have positive results during most of the time and the research topic did not really match my personal interests. It’s a long story to explain why I stayed in this lab. Anyway, now I want to work on something that I find interesting and challenging. I am sure that if I was able to put so much energy on something that I didn’t really like, I will also be able to reset my mind to work on a different field and learn if I have a much more positive attitude. In fact, I am eager to learn and work on a different subject, to open my mind.
4. The situation of science in my home country is disastrous and most probably, I would not be able to ever get a permanent position in academia. Despite being quite small, the private sector offers better opportunities (not more, but better) if you are well qualified. Therefore, my strategy is to accept the job in a foreign company, move abroad, gain experience in a sector which has suffered an important boost and come back after the crisis. I am not particularly interested in money, as long as I have enough to live (and I am quite austere), but I am very interested in having a job which satisfies me and ensures me some working security: I would not like to find myself at 50 having to renew my contract each year, with the uncertainty of whether I will have any position at all next year and depending on the government investment, which in my country is quite ridiculous.
5. One of my dreams was to move abroad, learn a second foreign language and live in a different culture. I know this can be done by landing a postdoc position, but according to the previously stated reasons, I don’t really feel like doing a postdoc at this moment, at least not until I try something different.
6. I made my PhD in a Molecular Biology topic that is quite different from the one in which I will be working at the company. I really don’t know how I managed to get an interview after sending this first and last CV+cover letter. I thought it would be much more difficult and I was mentally prepared to send dozens of CVs. I don’t know how I got the job after the interview either, which in my opinion had not been successful. The fact is that I got it, and it means a great opportunity for me. I really appreciate this opportunity and I do not want to waste it.