I have alluded to the fact on here that I am having some ‘issues’ in my personal life and if you follow me on twitter (if not, why not? I can be hilarious on there sometimes) you will have seen many tweets about my PhD and running off to join the circus.
I have been quite unhappy in my PhD for some time now, I was forced into taking a 5 month break, and in that time I have had time to think, think about what I really want, and I’ve come to the conclusion it isn’t my PhD.
There is many reasons for this. One being, the career prospects after, I don’t want to be a publishing academic, I want to teach. Teaching is looked upon as the evil of academic life, being a good teacher isn’t important and it certainly won’t get you hired, it just something you have to do. Instead it is all about publishing, and publishing in the top tier journal. Journals that are incredibly snotty and expect you to be a perfuming monkey (back to the circus metaohors0) jumping through hops to please them. I am a concept led researcher, which doesn’t make for a great publishing researcher, as I am not making ground breaking theoretical contributions, instead I am giving understanding and insight into the consumer groups I research. This kind of work won’t be accepted by the top tier journals, and will only go into the lower journals, which I’m not that bothered about, but to get a job, you need to prove your ability to publish in the top journals.
Second, and something I only learnt very recently, once you have published in a journal, you lose all rights to your work, your word becomes property of the publisher and they are even now asking for your data sets to prove your work, meaning it becomes very hard to use the data again for another study or they could sell your data for someone else to use. I am not going to bust my balls for several years collecting data and writing for it to become someone else’s.
Third, Bath have treated me pretty badly. I don’t feel like I matter there, I am just a number and a number that they need to control so I don’t ruin their averages and make them look bad. The fact I was struggling, had personal issues and severe issues with a lack of supervision were not taken into account, the head of PhDs told me to stop being a baby and get on with it. And instead of offering me an exemption so meet my deadlines, I was made to suspend, and in doing so, my scholarship was stopped. I still did all my teaching, and I have not been paid for it, something I am still battling with the university over. I want to be at a university where I feel slightly important and like I matter, not like I am a problem to be contained and dealt with, which leads me to wonder if I hate my PhD or I hate my PhD at Bath.
I have been tormented the last few months trying to make a decision. I am miserable, I know what is causing it, but I am too scared to ‘jump’. I have been doing this for 2 years and I have no idea what else I want to do, or if I am even employable. I am 27 and only know education. My PhD and I have become a bad relationship, you fight to save it, you try and force it to work, but deep down you know you are just papering over the cracks and soon the paper won’t hold.
So what is currently happening? I am job hunting, which is brutal and tedious. I am going to try and get a job, I feel I need a safety net before I take the big leap and leave. My logic is, I will get a job and either love it, or hate it. If I love it, then I will know leaving my PhD was the right decision. If I hate it, maybe i’m not right for a normal job and I can consider going back to my PhD at a new university. I am such a worrier and stress head that I always worry what if and fear I will make the wrong choice, but is there ever a right choice?