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Paralyzed by choice


User: giveittomestraight - 12 May 2022 20:06

Hey there,

I'm coming to the end of my PhD and I'm in the very fortunate position of having several good options. Unfortunately, the fanciest options are clashing with the options that I think are best for me personally, and it would be good to get some advice. For context, I did my PhD overseas and I found the experience pretty brutal. It's been lonely and isolating, especially during the pandemic. I decided to start applying for some jobs back in my home city, near family and friends. I have a couple of offers, including one that is really attractive (right in my field, great mission, very talented employees), although it would unfortunately not leave much room for pure research. I raised this with my supervisor and he thought that I could do better. He has started setting up a possible postdoc with a solid group at [very fancy university], and offered to fund me himself if that falls through. This university is in a different country, although much closer to home than where I did my PhD.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to go home and settle down near my family. On the other hand, I worry I'm being an idiot for thinking about turning down a fantastic academic placement. It could set me up for getting an academic position back home if I can stomach it for a few more years. I'm just so tired from the PhD experience and I don't know if I have it in me emotionally...

User: eng77 - 17 May 2022 09:24

Quote From giveittomestraight:
Hey there,

I'm coming to the end of my PhD and I'm in the very fortunate position of having several good options. Unfortunately, the fanciest options are clashing with the options that I think are best for me personally, and it would be good to get some advice. For context, I did my PhD overseas and I found the experience pretty brutal. It's been lonely and isolating, especially during the pandemic. I decided to start applying for some jobs back in my home city, near family and friends. I have a couple of offers, including one that is really attractive (right in my field, great mission, very talented employees), although it would unfortunately not leave much room for pure research. I raised this with my supervisor and he thought that I could do better. He has started setting up a possible postdoc with a solid group at [very fancy university], and offered to fund me himself if that falls through. This university is in a different country, although much closer to home than where I did my PhD.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to go home and settle down near my family. On the other hand, I worry I'm being an idiot for thinking about turning down a fantastic academic placement. It could set me up for getting an academic position back home if I can stomach it for a few more years. I'm just so tired from the PhD experience and I don't know if I have it in me emotionally...
Living in a comfort place where you call home is something. It is not all about fancy work or research. In academia, you might find yourself running where the fund is available. On the other side, if you sepnd 2-3 years in a reputable group where you publish a couple of papers in good journals and conference, you have a good chance in securing a permanent position in close to your home. The bottom line is "do not" push yourself very hard to go for the fancy institute if you feel you would really feel lonely and not happy.

User: Babygirl - 17 May 2022 18:03

Hi I would advise you choose happiness over what looks good for CV or to others. It's your life afterall. If you really think it would be depressing to stay another 2years in a fancy position then it would not be worth it. Academia is hard enough on its own so there is need to be in an environment you feel is right for your happiness. Whatever you choose, keep being positive. Try not to overthink. Make a decision and cultivate enthusiasm to see you through. You'll be fine okay? :)