Getting a PhD vs Getting a Job- Time to Grow Up

Getting a PhD vs Getting a Job- Time to Grow Up

Not long ago, I was a young college student. Full of hope, I had dreams and a vision for the life that I aspired to lead. While I was very committed to learning and earning a quality education, there was much more to student life. After classes, when not studying, I’d attend college soccer training sessions. Evenings were wild, with plenty of options to unwind, socialize and party! More interestingly, I managed to free up valuable idle time to learn a new language on the side- Italian, bella ciao. Life was good, and I had much to look forward to with a big heart, a curious inquisitive mindset, and some good faith.. Little had I known that life would soon hit me hard.

When Life Hits You Hard

Post-graduation, I decided, like many of my peers have done before me, to get a job and go where life would take me. So I got this job as a research analyst at a multinational firm. It was exciting at first. I met new people, I employed my skillset and learned new things. I felt engaged and gave my all to serve my team and advance the interests of my organization.

Soon later, however, I lost interest in my work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a motivated, committed, bright kid. But somehow this was not for me. I felt totally out of place. At work, my perfectionist attitude and care for detail had waned. Reaching the last day of the month was an end in itself, since I’d receive my paycheck and bathe in the glory of the “achievement”. But, beyond the financial security element, there was no achievement, and no sense of purpose. Moreover, after work, I was simply disinterested, dejected. I didn’t feel like doing sports, reading books, nor meeting friends.. I spent more and more time in isolation, as if waiting. And so, the cycle reinforced itself; in many ways, I today continue to be in perpetual “waiting”.

Reminiscing and Recollecting- a Defeatist Approach

For a long time, I missed being a student. Back then, I owned my time. I had hobbies. I felt “happy”. I had no worries about financial independence, paying rent, building a “career”.. My parents financed my education, they handed me some pocket money, and I did some work on a part-time basis just to get by. I was carefree, a bit reckless; I said stuff without thinking, and I did stuff I wouldn’t do today. Those were the days.

Maybe Not Too Late to Pursue that PhD route

There’s much more to life than a 9 am to 5 pm work schedule. And yeah, I definitely don’t want to spend my life serving a corporation that exists to maximize profits at the expense of societal values and ethical practices. But at the same time, I can’t afford to fall for the trap of higher eduction as many peers have before me- pursuing yet another advanced college degree. A PhD sounds amazing, yes. But can I, really, roll back the years? I’m almost 30 years old, with barely 4 years of cumulative work experience. Will going back to college in any way help me find myself in this world? Frankly, I doubt it.

It’s Time to Grow Up

Instead, my realization is that I need to set my goals and priorities straight first and foremost. What I really need is to grow up. Yeah, someone needs to pay rent and utilities. Someone needs to save some money on the side. Someone needs to plan for retirement one day. Therefore, I’ve decided to be responsible for my life, to be conscious and proactive; to take decisions that will advance my goals and empower me. So at least I know what not to do, even if that means doing a job I don’t necessarily like, and hating my life a bit in the process. At least I’m not in the university bubble, or dabbling around in life waiting for inspiration to descend upon me from the heavens.

Time Heals All Wounds

I’m still bitter about the whole transition from student to young professional, from youthful kid to wiser adult. But I’ll get over it. Many before me have, why shall I be any different. I’m accepting these challenges. Yeah, life happens, and shit happens even more. So the point is that I have to accept and adapt, move on. Some things, however, I won’t accept. I won’t accept to lose hope, and spend miserable evenings in my bedroom. I won’t accept to waste my time outside the office unconsciously. I won’t accept to settle for a job that doesn’t feed my intrigue for life nor lives in harmony with my ethical and moral code. I won’t accept many things, and this struggle will define my emerging adult life for years and years to come. I have at least some faith in humanity, and thus I shall prevail one day.