Hosted By

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

Join Isaiah as he reveals how to create purpose to stay strong during your PhD job search and get hired into high-paying industry careers

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

  • First, Isaiah explains why PhDs need to create a purpose to stay strong during their job search process
  • Next, Isaiah reveals why reinventing the rationale is important
  • Finally, Isaiah describes how to create an inspiring purpose for your life

From This Week’s Show…

Why PhDs Need To Create A Purpose To Stay Strong During Their Job Search Process

Purpose drives actions. What is your purpose as a PhD? How connected are you with your purpose? The rationale for why you do things is important. Purpose keeps you motivated even in uncertainties, when things get tough towards the end of your academic career. You may reach a point of disillusionment when you realize that you weren’t doing what you’re doing for the right reasons. You didn’t have a strong reason. Probably, you were chasing somebody else’s goal.

Disillusionment as publications or the title of being a doctor, may deter you. PhDs reach a point in their academic career, where they have to reinvent their purpose. You find it for the first time or reinvent it. Sometimes you feel de-energized. Feeling very lost, especially in the middle or the end of the graduate school career or in a postdoc.  After a long struggle when finally, something happens to us, we feel disconnected. You don’t feel like you have the positive impact on others that you expected. Academia is very often the land of the small. We usually have to force ourselves to feel a sense of reward from very small things. Less funding, sharing resources, getting the name on a paper, small promotion. Don’t stay content in small wins, you’re capable of so much more. 

Getting your PhD is a stepping stone to something else.

Why Reinventing Rationale Is Important

You’ve been in graduate school or postdoc for a very long time. To overcome such a daunting situation you need a strong sense of purpose. Losing the purpose doesn’t happen overnight. It is really a stacking of many things. When you are working with people for a long time things start changing. They become much more challenging. Funding goes down or attitudes sink. Relationships get strained. The mask tends to come off. You’ve been around the people that you’re working with for a long time. And, you know, at first there was novelty and you’re getting to know people and it’s fun and exciting. But then you stay there for a long enough timeline. There is friction. 

And if you’re dealing with difficult personality types, it can be even more challenging. There is a substantial drop in the number of professorships. All of these stack and make you lose your purpose. You may get to the point where it doesn’t seem to matter what you do. As there will always be something else that you have to do to  get results. Authorship of a paper or bumping your name in the authorship rank. You’re still underpaid. You still don’t have any job security and creativity. Innovation fulfillment does require a certain level of security. Know there’s no direction. It doesn’t matter what you do. You start to lose a sense of purpose. Maybe you’re feeling like that. Now, does it matter what you do? Are you still hanging onto the hope that if you get that next carrot, something is going to change.

How To Create An Inspiring Purpose For Your Life

Nobody will come to take care of you. The only way to correct that is to create a purpose. There’s things you can do practically. Whether it’s writing down a personal story for yourself, in the first person creating a vision board. Look up motivational stuff. Learn from success stories. As a PhD, you have a hard time thinking in terms of possibilities. Because you think that emotion is bad or inspiration is bad. But it’s not. You have to use inspiration to drive yourself forward. 

Use your logical mind for doing the best work possible. You are logical while data analysis or work design. But you are skeptical about human motivation. Sense of purpose empowers and motivates you. Start looking for the purpose. Create the rationale. Feed your mind stories of impossible tasks or great things that have been done.

The will that’s inside of you, drives you forward. Especially as a PhD your will power is stronger than your biology. At times it’s stronger than how much you’ve been through. Do you actually believe that you can produce a better life for yourself? Would you bet on yourself? 

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

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