Another Door Closes

Yesterday I emailed by project supervisor, who had been pestering me about doing a PhD.  I basically explained that I don’t currently want to do a PhD, and that I have been looking for and found a graduate job.

This was not an easy email to send.  Despite being pretty certain that I want to take up this job offer, a part of me won’t let up on pointing out that I am turning down an opportunity that may not come up again.

Looking at it, I see this:

  • Doing a PhD allows me to pursue something I’m probably interested in, to a level further than anything else I can do on my own.
  • Doing a PhD will mean I can call myself Dr, which is kind of cool (even if it’s Doctor of Philosophy)
  • I will essentially be being paid to do a PhD, and so start working off some of the mountain of debt I seem to have acquired


  • I can earn twice as much doing a real job as I can doing a PhD
  • I still don’t know if I want to stay in engineering, and if I don’t, this is another few years down the pan
  • I can do a PhD later if I wish, so if I stay with engineering the opportunity probably isn’t gone forever
  • Other than being slightly more prestigious, I don’t see any benefits that a PhD can give me that experience doing the job won’t

I’m not saying it would be easy to take up a PhD later, and I’m not saying that it would be a complete waste of time.  I’m sure that, if I actually went for it, it would probably be fun.  But that wouldn’t answer the question of whether or not I want to do the job. The only way I’m going to work this out is by giving the whole job thing a go.

I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t settle for a job I didn’t enjoy, just because it paid well.  I know full well that I can earn more as an engineer than as a nurse or a paramedic.  Perhaps if I was willing to go the whole hog and become a doctor of medicine it would be different, but I don’t, so that’s that.  I also know that as an engineer I’ll get nicer hours (or rather, not shift work), probably have a more comfortable life outside of work, and potentially be very successful.  However, none of this means very much if I don’t enjoy my work.  I’m sure I can live a comfortable and happy personal life on a nurse’s wage, and if I enjoy work more as well I think I’ll be better off.

And because of this, I won’t change my plans.  I will give engineering its chance.  I’ve invested too much into it now to not, and all this disenchantment may just be from uni course burnout.  However, if a couple of years down the line I decide that enough is enough, I will move on and do something else. And, in the mean time, I will work to put myself in the best possible position at that time.

I just have to keep reminding myself that while I might be passing up opportunities now, it’s all so that I can keep my options wider in the future.


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About The WalkingPlasterDispenser

So who is the Walking Plaster Dispenser? Well, I'm a volunteer First Aider, working with a well-known First Aid charity to help out random people I've never met before (or, more usually, when) they hurt themselves. This typically involves walking briskly (never run...) around after people who are silly enough to do sports or some other suitably daft activity in their free time. In my spare time, I am a graduate engineer, working my way through a graduate scheme with a big engineering company.

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