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“Doing a PhD doesn’t suit me anymore”

Have you become disappointed with the PhD track? Have you realised that doing a PhD doesn’t suit you anymore? Do you have no idea what kind of work would suit you? This blog helps you establish what you don’t want anymore and what you do want in your future job.

Image: Tobi

You no longer want…

You started your PhD program with high expectations. But you became disappointed in, for example:

  • The guidance you did (not) receive
  • The long-term goal and a heavy weight on your shoulders
  • A lack of appreciation
  • The loneliness of a solo project
  • Or, instead, the difficult collaboration with colleagues
  • Feeling trapped in your head after days at the computer
  • The lack of structure
  • The competitive environment

If you say: not this again, then it’s time to write down the main reasons why you say “Doing a PhD doesn’t suit me anymore”.

Take the time to write down what you don’t want anymore.

Write down why you don’t want it anymore; it might give you insight and relief.

What do you want?

Making the step from what you don’t want to what you do want requires more. Often this doesn’t happen overnight either. It can help to answer these questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • Which activities give you energy?
  • When do you look back on your work with joy or pride at the end of the day?

To think about this consciously, you can keep a diary for two weeks in which you answer these questions every day.

After two weeks, take stock:

  • What pattern can you discern in your diary?
  • What activities would you like to do more often?
  • What motivates you in your work?

The Next Step

Once you have a better understanding of what you like and what energizes you, you can take the next step by examining what values motivate you and what you look for in an employer.

If you feel stuck and are looking for help in exploring what you do want, career coaching can help you.