Dear Professor ScarredbyAcademia,
I am four years into my PhD program, and I have found that I get little satisfaction from teaching. Also, I hate research. And so, I began exploring job opportunities in my field. Would you believe that the job market is tight and that I have few opportunities for a tenure track position after completing my degree? I’m considering leaving my graduate program to get my degree in massage therapy. You can make your own hours, you know.
It is true, that the job market is currently tough and your career may not follow exactly the path you anticipated or intended. Job searches often take more than a year; indeed, I’m seeing candidates with stellar CVs just up and poof! disappear from the known universe after being rejected by one search committee too many.
But, definitely don’t quit now with a master’s degree. You have already invested so much time, and you are only one year away from earning your Ph.D. or maybe many years. Five years is a totally arbitrary number that we faculty members made up to destroy graduate student’s self-esteem and keep them working for us at poverty level wages as lab slaves.
Really, you’ve put so much time into this and I’m not sure if you’re aware, but women still have to overcome bias in many work places, and having a Ph.D. after your name or being called “Dr. So-and-so” instead of “Ms.” or “Mrs. So-and-so” immediately gives you more gravitas. You will be taken more seriously. You are a woman, right? Anywho.