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Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he explains why academia has failed PhDs and why you should accept this reality to get your career and life back on track

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah tells the story of how he got stuck in academia
  • Next, Isaiah reviews the data that show why academia has failed PhDs
  • Finally, Isaiah explains why you need to accept this reality and take action to get your career back on track

From This Week’s Show… 

How Isaiah Got Stuck In Academia

I was so happy to get into graduate school. I thought the rest of my career was set. I would get my PhD, have a road paved in gold ahead of me.

The road would lead to either an untouchable tenured professorship, or, should I choose, a highly successful career in industry. I would probably start out as a VP at Pfizer or Intel.

Five years later, headed toward my sixth year, I found myself desperate to get a response to hundreds of resumes that I had sent out over the last two months. What happened? Like many PhDs, I ended up stuck in academia with no training on how to get out.

Why Academia Has Failed PhDs

The average graduate student across all fields now takes 8.2 years to get their PhD and is thirty-three years old by the time they defend.  Up to 80 percent of those PhDs end up unemployed or in low-paying postdoc and teaching assistant positions, which, according to the government, are training positions rather than real employment. 

The average time spent in postdoc positions has swelled from just one year to anywhere from six to ten years—what is now referred to as “chasing postdocs.”  Worse still is that universities have started to hide how many postdocs they have by labeling senior postdocs as “nonfaculty staff” or “research associates,” even though the PhDs in these positions continue to get paid very poorly without access to any retirement benefits or, in some cases, healthcare.

Full-time professorships have been replaced by poorly paid “professor in title only” part-time, adjunct, and contract professorships, which is why the New York Times recently dubbed academia as “Adjunctatopia.”

PhDs have gone from being revered experts the world relies on to invisible laborers trapped in a pyramid scheme supporting only a handful of full-time professors. This is why so many PhDs dream of transitioning out of academia, even though they have no idea how to do so.

What You Should Do To Get Your Career Back On Track

While today’s message may seem to be all doom and gloom; it’s not. The goal here is simply to recognize the problem and to finally, fully wake up to the reality that things will never get better for you in academia.

Only once you accept this, can you swallow the red pill and accept the fact that your future lies in industry.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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