Ladies and gentlemen, doing a PhD can be FUN

Lately, I summarized the pros and contras of doing a PhD as I see them. The reactions to those are not really surprising maybe, but still I find them astonishing. People really jump on to the negative.

However, I wanted to stress that doing a PhD can actually be fun, for various reasons! And decided to balance that a little by also describing the downsides as I see them. Apparently that rung true. The post about the negatives attracted over a 150 hits in less than a day, which is a record for my fledgling blog. What surprised me even more, is that almost everyone seemed to agree. I had expected more people telling me that I’m overreacting, that it isn’t as bad. But maybe it really is.

Which I find off-putting in a way, as I wanted to add some positive sound about academia, because I still really enjoy my job! And just also provide a little warning. Unfortunately, the bad got way more attention than the good. Therefore this post, to stress once again that I think doing a PhD can be fun, if you’re doing it for the right reasons and find the right place to do it.

What I would like to add to the description of the bad, is that these problems are obviously things you may also encounter in other jobs. When you are applying for other competitive jobs, it may very well be that search committees won’t ask you why you have a gap in your CV and hire the other candidate with the slightly “better” CV. And ‘colleagues’ may very well withhold information for personal gain. This should not be something to drive you away from academia, as the downsides of the alternatives may be equally bad.

I only wanted to warn people for it.


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