Hosted By

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

Join Isaiah as he shares the fear-based behaviors that get PhDs rejected and strategies to overcome them to be hired in the top industry jobs

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

  • First, Isaiah explains why fear-based behaviors make PhDs stagnant in their job search
  • Next, Isaiah reveals what are the different types of fear
  • Finally, Isaiah describes the strategies to overcome fear-based behaviors that get PhDs rejected 

From This Week’s Show… 

Why Several PhDs Are Stagnant In Their Job Search

Fear restricts potential. It creates a bubble that’s difficult to permeate. Unemployment is one of the biggest fears in the life of a PhD. PhDs end up unemployed for a variety of reasons. However, fear based behaviors are getting PhDs rejected in their job search even when there is a demand for them in the job market. Globally, there is a shortage of labor in the job markets. Higher level jobs such as data scientists, medical science, liaison, and beyond are facing a labor shortage. These are some of the highest paying careers for PhDs exclusively. So many PhDs are hesitating in their job search. What is the reason for this behavior? What is the underlying emotion for this behavior? 

As humans we all have emotions. But why PhDs would rather stay in academia than transition into a stable job? When I was in academia, I wanted to get a PhD to have an impact on humanity. I wanted to do something that mattered. You’re probably the same way. But when you get into the academic world, it becomes an ivory tower that is pretty isolated. You adjust yourself to academia. You change your language, nomenclature and even behavior. But remember that what is valued in the industry is a lot different from academia. 

As PhDs, we’re very logical. We have incredible comprehension. This is our key strength. Don’t let yourselves be exploited by the academic system. 

The Different Kinds Of Fear That Holds PhDs Back

PhDs who have lived isolated in academia for long would freeze just thinking about their job search. Because emotionally we’ve been indoctrinated to think that an academic paper is all that matters. This is how small our mindset becomes in academia. We  fight for the order of the authorship. You should rather look at those that are five-10 years ahead of you- likely not in academia.

We have two types of fear to deal with. The two types of fears are: our fear of failure and fear of fatigue. When these fears are manifested they remarkably change your behavior. Fear will drive you towards hesitancy. You will become more hesitant when you’re uncertain about a course of action. When you’re afraid you’re going to fail on that course of action. You’re afraid of wasting your resources in that course of action.

For PhD’s self-awareness is important, a transferable skill. We call it professional awareness in the industry. If you are being interviewed by someone in the industry and you have no professional awareness it reflects badly. You don’t look the person in the eye while talking or acknowledge everybody on the panel interview. You talk to somebody when that person isn’t looking at you. Then you come across as arrogant even without realizing it. Professional awareness is important. But fear makes you take that for granted. 

Strategies For PhDs To Overcome Fear And Be Hired Into Top Industry Positions

Know yourself. Understand what’s driving your behavior. Understand how a job search works. PhDs have to know the risks. You have to learn how not to burn bridges. If you feel frustrated yet confused, that’s good. These emotions are better than fear. They will drive you to take action. But fear based emotions will drive you to take actions that are wrong. Fear-based behaviors are hesitancy at best, doing nothing at worst. Think of the volume of work you do in academia.

And we spend all of this energy doing this instead of taking our career into our own hands and aggressively going after an industry job. The solution is to de-prioritize your academic work and prioritize your job. It’s time to start putting your PIs career aside and put your career first, take more and more risks in your job. Search by going more and more in and pull back just a little bit in terms of your academic work. 

Once you allow it, you’ll gain more certainty in your job search. And as you prioritize your job search more, you’ll have a healthier level of certainty in your job search. So you need to start being certain that you’re leaving your academic career behind. Everybody has to be a student of their job search to start. Think of all the experiments, test projects, the findings that you’ve completed. You did those with a student mindset. You had a discovery attitude while approaching it. There were negative thoughts but you rationalized through it. 

Ravenously go after the job you want and cast aside any waste, you accumulate along the way. 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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