Many junior scientists need to take a hard look at their job prospects
Permanent jobs in academia are scarce, and someone needs to let PhD students know.

Statistics say these young researchers will have a better chance of pursuing their chosen job than the young footballers. But not by much. Global figures are hard to come by, but only three or four in every hundred PhD students in the United Kingdom will land a permanent staff position at a university. It’s only a little better in the United States. 

What To Consider When You’re Considering A Career in Psychology

Your Long Term Goals

The first question you should ask yourself is, are my long-term goals aligned with a career in psychology

Take some time to really think about what you want to do as a career. Not what you want to be – what you want to do. How do you imagine your daily work life? What kinds of tasks do you want to do? What kind of setting do you want to work in? Who do you want to interact with (if anyone)? What kind of things would make you miserable in a job? Would you hate to have to be somewhere every day at 8am, or would you hate receiving 11pm emails or phone calls from your team? Do you like doing long-term projects or would you prefer to be truly “done” at the end of your work day? Do you want leadership roles, and if so, what kind? How much money do you want to make? Are there accommodations you might want or need? 

If you’re like me (a lover of organization and lists and planning), then you might want to make some kind of document to organize what you want and what you don’t want. You might want to prioritize them- maybe “working with kids in the foster system” is a necessity but “never being on-call” is a want but not an absolute need. However you want to think about your goals, get a good sense of them, and then compare them to existing sorts of jobs and responsibilities in psychology. (See my “what is a clinical psychologist and how do I become one” post here).

The positive thing here is that careers in psychology are incredibly varied, so you are likely to find paths that will fit your long-term goals (assuming you are interested in psychology, mental health, human services, social sciences, etc., in general). However- one of the pitfalls I have seen a number of people fall into when pursuing psychology is that the position or path they had in mind isn’t actually a great fit for them. So here is a short list of examples where a person’s goals don’t align with their chosen path:

  1.  A person who wants a clinical position but doesn’t want to do paperwork or doesn’t want to have interactions with other people.
  2.  A person who wants to have their own private practice but having a steady and good income is a necessity.
  3. A person who wants to create change in mental health systems but doesn’t want a leadership role.
  4. A person who wants to work with a high needs or high risk group but doesn’t want to work nights or weekends or be on call.
  5. A person who wants to do research but also wants to work for themselves.

I can’t possibly list all the potential matches or mismatches here, so one way to understand what it really means to pursue your long-term goals is to find someone who has the kind of position you want, and ask them lots of questions to see whether the position is really a good fit for you.

Some of these mismatches are negotiable as long as you are flexible- so with the #2 example, a person might choose to get a clinical job with some kind of agency to have a steady income while simultaneously building their private practice. I’m going to talk more about flexibility below, but in short- being as flexible as possible with the specifics can help you achieve the big picture parts of your goals.

Your Personal Qualities

The second question to ask yourself is,

are my personal qualities a good fit with the psychology field in general and my chosen path in particular? 

This is not a question of whether you are “good enough” for psychology. We all have strengths and weaknesses and neutral qualities, and those qualities align better with some paths than others. Psychology is a great fit for me, because I love nuance and complicated questions, have a lot of resilience and perseverance, have empathy but am good at remaining objective, am very calm in a crisis, and am willing to put up with a certain amount of administrative and other bullshit in order to do the things I enjoy. Medicine on the other hand, would not have been a good fit, because I am terrible at memorization, get incredibly nauseous when seeing medical events (let alone being a part of them!), would never be able to keep to a 15 or 20 minute appointment, and would not physically be able to do residency given the huge sleep deprivation residents experience. 

So think about your personality traits, your behavioral habits, your preferences, your physical needs, your learning style- all of it, and then again, compare to what is typically needed for psychologists. Here’s an incomplete list:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to take criticism
  • Ability to assess your skills and weaknesses
  • Distress tolerance skills
  • Emotion regulation skills
  • Conscientiousness
  • Ability to translate theory into practice
  • Ability to think quickly
  • Ability to stay calm and be effective in a crisis
  • Abstract thinking skills
  • Ability to integrate multiple sources of information
  • Ability to separate out subjective opinion versus objective information
  • Ability to tolerate ambiguity and accept that there’s often “right” answer or “right” solution
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Thoroughness
  • Metacognition (ability to think about your own thinking)
  • Willingness to work with people (clients) you don’t “like” or agree with
  • Ability to work as a team
  • Leadership skills
  • Writing skills
  • An adequate understanding or willingness to learn about research methods & statistics
  • A strong ethical foundation
  • Willingness to advocate for yourself and others
  • Ability to tolerate/interact with/be a part of bureaucracy 
  • Ability to see the “big picture” as well as manage the small details
  • Organization
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Ability to set your own goals and meet them (without external deadlines or pressure)
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Cultural competency
  • Ability to assess your own bias and identify how to manage the impact of that bias
  • Self-management/self-motivation
  • Ability to try again after failure
  • Interest on ongoing learning and training
  • Interest in innovation and improvement across the discipline
  • Drive/ambition

I am not saying that if you don’t have all of the skills and qualities, you cannot be a psychologist. Some things you can learn and some you can avoid if you pick positions wisely. But if you find yourself going down this list and struggling to see yourself in these traits in general, or finding them unappealing, then it’s a sign this isn’t right for you.

Education & Training

The third question to ask yourself is a two parter:

1) What kind of education and training is a good fit for me?

This goes back to the idea of some paths being a better fit for your personal qualities than others. If we’re thinking of psychology broadly (so, including PhD/PsyD programs as well as master’s level programs and medical school), the different types of graduate training vary significantly. PhD/PsyD program (the quality ones, anyway) programs are focused on research, clinical training, and scholarship (mostly in that order). Master’s programs are focused on clinical training, with some interest in scholarship and usually minimal interest in research. Medical programs are interested in scholarship initially and then medical (not clinical in the same way) training later, with again minimal interest in research. 

All of that means that the programs have different kinds of approaches and requirements. PhD programs are about critical thinking, deep engagement in the scholarship and then application of theories to clinical work and research, improving clinical practice and outcomes via research, and vice versa- improving research by understanding clinical needs and learning from clinical experiences. A PhD program is for people who love essays, debate, and thinking about things from many angles without coming to an absolute answer.
Medical programs are about learning things- biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic criteria, etc.- and then applying them effectively and efficiently in medical settings. An MD program is for people who like having the “right” answer, who are doers (as opposed to contemplators, not that these are exclusive), and who are really good at deductive reasoning (and so probably love multiple choice exams).

Master’s programs vary a lot by discipline- social work vs. counseling vs. marital and family therapy vs. other things- so I won’t try to capture all of them fully. But in general a professional master’s- like social work, etc., that lead to a degree –are about learning the primary skills and knowledge you need to be a competent part of that profession. A master’s program is for people who want to get into the field (or out of school) as quickly as possible, who learn quickly and/or through experience rather than school, and who see themselves as being direct contact professionals rather than being in leadership roles.

2) How much post-college training am I willing to do? 

It takes a long time to become a psychologist. (see again my post here). For clinical psychologists, it typically takes 6 years to receive a PhD, and then probably another year to get licensed. You may not be willing to do this- and that’s okay. Think very deeply about your willingness to be in school for a long time, to not make very much money, etc. Maybe it’s worth it to you (it has been for me). But if it isn’t- think about how much you are willing to do. Are you okay with 2 years of a master’s plus a year or so to get licensed? That’s probably the least you can do if you want to be licensed. Again, if that’s not acceptable- that is okay. But you should now start to look at what kinds of jobs you can get in psychology with a BA/BS. Those jobs will make less money and have a lower ceiling in terms of advancement, which might work fine for you, but if they don’t, start looking at other fields. If you’re okay with playing a more administrative role, you could consider those sorts of positions. You can still be a part of a clinical, research, and/or academic team, although with less direct involvement and less money (still pretty okay money, though).

Bonus: If you would like to become a researcher and/or get a faculty position (of any kind), you will probably need to do at least one postdoc, meaning between 2 and 4 (or more) years of training after you receive your PhD. This is a huge commitment. Again, you might be okay with this (I am), but many people are not. Although you might be one of the few who gets a research or faculty job right out of grad school, that is not the likely outcome. So be honest with yourself about how much you are willing to do, and if it will be acceptable to you to take another path if needed.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

May you write again about job recommendations for INTJs? Really I have been searching for that post. Specifically, I would like to read again what you said about graphic design and the designer's website you shared (I recall somewhat that person worked designing company logos). The radiologist example was very interesting, too, and great help to me! Thank you!

Combined with the following asks:

  • Hi Mr ENTJ! Love your career advice posts and I have found them very useful as an anxious college student looking for potential internships :-) I’ve not managed to find this anywhere on your blog, and I would like to know if you have any good career choices for INTJs? Much appreciation to you for taking time out for this community! 
  • I really liked your answers to asks about career advice for ENFPs/ESTPs. Could you do one for INTJs?

For INTJs, careers that allow them to apply their logical precision and strategic talents without the burdens of overly sensitive social environments.

INTJs get quickly drained (and eventually pissed) by situations that require them to be politically correct (i.e. sparing feelings) rather than factually correct (i.e. pointing out obvious problems or solutions) because it gets in the way of achieving the goal. INTJs tend to prefer careers that focus on objective outputs and objective goals (ex: creating new products, increasing revenue by X amount, winning X cases in court, etc.) instead of subjective outputs and subjective goals (ex: popularity contests, inclusion initiatives, caretaking, social work, etc.) which is their idea of professional hell. They have a voracious appetite for knowledge but once a skill is mastered they need new challenges or else they get bored and disengaged.

They prefer roles where they can quickly and independently flex their intellectual muscles and creative capabilities without other people slowing them down. For that reason, they might have issues in team environments (#1 INTJ problem: impatience towards the rest of their team for being “too slow and too stupid”). They can be capable leaders but are sometimes hesitant to step up because they don’t want to deal with other people’s shit (related answer: why do some people prefer to follow rather than lead?).

Career profiles of some INTJs in my life:

  1. Law (Attorney specializing in M&A and international law for a boutique corporate law firm): She represents clients in multiple sectors in mergers, acquisitions, and sometimes conflicts. This role requires deep subject matter expertise, technical knowledge, stamina, and strong writing skills to essentially outplay and outmatch the client’s competitor in a game of logic and law. High pressure environment with grueling hours. Undergraduate degree in law, graduate degree in law.
  2. Business (Finance executive for a multinational food and beverage corporation): He’s responsible for managing the budget of a global corporation, securing its financial health, and preserving long-term viability through management and strategic investments. It’s a critical role that wields immense power and influence because he essentially holds the purse strings of the castle. B.S. in Business Economics from UCLA, MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  3. Business (Strategy consultant for a Big 4 consulting firm): She’s one of the youngest managers in the firm responsible for spearheading highly visible and highly complex public sector consulting engagements. Her role requires the ability to process large amounts of information to solve intricate problems in high-pressure situations and then communicate it to executive stakeholders. There’s an aspect of people management she’s not too fond of but the dynamic work environment and fast pace is what makes her stay and thrive in this role. Bachelor’s degree in Government and History from the London School of Economics, MSc from the University of London.
  4. Art (Graphic designer for a Silicon Valley startup): She was recruited to join this organization from another Silicon Valley giant (Facebook) to strategize and execute creative global outreach initiatives by developing designs, commercials, and ad campaigns to increase user growth and revenue. She works with UX/UI to incorporate her ideas into the backbone of the website. B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, MFA from the University of Southern California.
  5. Medicine (Radiation Oncologist for a cancer research center and academic hospital): “Radiation oncologists use a variety of treatment methods, including radioactive implantations, external beam radiotherapy, hyperthermia and combined modality therapy such as radiotherapy with surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.” (Source) This is known as one of the most competitive and grueling medical specialties to break into in the United States, there’s only about ~150 spots per year in the entire country and he was offered one of them. This role requires not just technical precision and subject matter expertise but a ‘feel’ for where tumors are and how they should be best attacked. B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard University, M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

If you can, can you please help me out understand if there is something in my natal chart that I can use to get a general idea of where I should go with my life. Whatever “logical/practical” decision I take, especially with regards to my career is filled with doubts and reassessments and at the end of the day I’m always wondering if I made the right choice. I haven’t felt the pull or the passion that most people feel from going into a certain field of work and even when people say I have certain skills, I’m not confident about them so I’m not able to use them. Overall it is a hazy picture, I have taken the lesson from Saturn in Sagittarius transit and resisted being reckless while taking decisions in terms of work but if you can see something that can help, please advise. I hope this isn’t too much trouble.

Being from India I am surprised you send me a tropical zodiac submit..

One of the issues that I do believe leads you to struggle is the actual midheaven point in Pisces.  A cancer ascendant is usually pretty decisive in wanting to prove their independence and need to do things their own way.  Yet having Pisces as the highest point in the sky gives you that Gemini Ascendant problem. The confusion associated with direction that Neptune brings the sign Pisces. Especially if you are doing what everyone tells you to do; you’ll always question if it’s rite for you.  

Pisces is the universal “receiver” and is very mutable; it has a tendency to do what everyone expects of it and never really stops to consider it’s egotistical wants and needs.  The problem with the Pisces midheaven is struggles with confidence, haze and lack of true general direction because of the Neptune influence.  I have it in the second house…I always feel this way (of course it’s an earth house like the midheaven.)

Keep reading

I am on the look-out for jobs after graduation for data science or science writing.

My advisor urged me that skill in writing for the sciences is NOT trivial. And proceeded to compliment me (with the warning for it not to get to my head haha) that my proposals were clearly on a different level than any of the other research students he’s had.

I’ve always liked the idea of being an editor for a journal or something. Not so much being a science journalist. But it’s something I could do to pay the bills, I guess. Since I suspect I can’t be too choosy on my first job post-grad. And I don’t expect to be making an ideal salary my first job.

On a related post-grad note, ideas about the remainder of my education have been swirling around my head. I’ve read some articles about how getting a master’s is not always worth it for data scientists. But if it is, should I even pursue a data science program directly? Or computer science?

I’m still a bit on the fence between data scientist and software engineer. I’m leaning toward data scientist but honestly, I’m not sure. I have time.

Another thing I’ve read or heard on podcasts in that a bunch of people have utilized free online courses to get into data science within 6 months. So that’s also an idea. Free is good.

I haven’t talked to my dad about it yet. As far as he’s concerned, I’m still gonna be a physicist. But maybe he’ll like the idea that I’ll start to make money sooner and not accrue more student loan debt? Obvious considerations for an accountant dad.

anonymous asked:

i want to be a classical archaeologist but i’m scared i won’t be able to find a job anywhere

You are definitely in good company for that concern, buddy. Any job that isn’t in a cubicle is competitive. Your best bet is to attend field schools as much as you can (if you are not in a place which has field schools with a classical focus, maybe apply to field schools in locations that would represent your interests). That can be expensive, but I know that many offer scholarships. Making yourself as marketable as possible is what will get you that job. And if all else fails, you can still work as an archaeologist in more local or governmental positions. And if those fail, any degree can get you any entry-level position. As long as you get a degree, you will be qualified for different jobs. 

My advice is always to pursue what you’re passionate about, otherwise you will spend the rest of your life wondering, regretting. 

The most-oft discussed topic among my peers the last few weeks at lit fests was this: “I feel bad/worried about my book sales.”
My response to that is the following:

  1. This was a tough year for almost everyone unless you were a sure thing and even the sure things had a tough year.
  2. If you did everything you could to promote your book, you shouldn’t feel bad.
  3. Your publisher made a business decision that you did not force them to make, and they have to live with it.
  4. You will most likely live to sell another book, even if you get a smaller advance the next time.
  5. All you can hope for is to keep writing and publishing for the rest of your life. That is the end goal.
  6. Do not get into this industry if you want to get rich.
  7. Money comes and goes. Your art is forever.

anonymous asked:

Hi! I was wondering if I could ask your opinion on something. I’m applying for my first adult, post-college job and I had 3 great references lined up with professors I did research with. However, the job asked for references that weren’t from former supervisors, thus eliminating all my references. I also was an undergrad TA and the professor I worked for was also my supervisor. I think putting friends as a reference is unprofessional, but idk who else to put. Any suggestions?

Hi, sorry to keep you waiting! I’ve had the same problem. I’ve put professors I just took classes with, or a couple people in law enforcement that I consulted for once or twice. Sometimes all it takes is dropping the right name. I hope so, at least!

There are only a few classes left that I have to take to graduate. Fewer than if I had the B.S. Which I now realize, I still would not have graduated on time. So… I imagine grad schools would understand the difficulty of squeezing all those classes into a double major. Hopefully.

During my advising meeting, I asked about what I would need to do if I still wanted to apply to grad school for physics, given that a course like Statistical Mechanics would be on the GRE, and I am now not taking it. He thinks it’s more than doable. That I’m capable of succeeding with it. That’s relieving.

I am just so burned out. I don’t want to make career decisions until I graduate and settle a bit during my gap year. Particularly because I am also in for some changes in my personal life. Location. Relationships. Finances. Etc. I need some time to equilibrate and adjust.

I think it would be better to just go for the physics masters.

  1. I would be the most prepared for it. Unlike data or computer science.
  2. It would make me look more focused if I don’t divert to a completely different field… Again.
  3. The experience of physics grad school should prepare me for most of the careers I’m considering anyway.
  4. I actually do want to remain in the domain of science (not just quantitative work). So it would make sense to stay there.
  5. If I decide I want to go into tech later, that’s fine; physicists are more than welcome in tech.

So, specifically, I will still be aiming for physics in quantum information. As I had originally planned. Only now I feel less trapped knowing that I’m not necessarily condemned to academia, having explored these other options.

My critics would tell me that it was a waste of time or a rash decision to suddenly drop my BS to a BA and spiral into a pit of despair surrounding my improperly perceived inability to “hang” with theoretical physics. And, frankly, I would agree with them, partially.

But the important point here is that sticking with the BS would not necessarily have been the better option. Having to pay extra money to complete classes in the winter and summer (i.e., still not graduating on time). Having a stuffed semester of some of the hardest physics courses my school has to offer. 4 of them. Including a tedious lab. On top of research. Not exactly GPA-friendly.

Even though the path I took to make this decision was a bit questionable, it was probably for the best. I snapped at the right time. It would have been much worse to completely break down next semester instead.

Some things in life are just state functions. The path doesn’t matter to the overall outcome if the destination is the same. It only matters in the experience and wisdom you gain from the path you chose.

anonymous asked:

do you have any advice for convincing your parents to let you do the degree you want? i want to study dentistry but it's only offered as an undergraduate degree interstate, so my parents want me to just do something else instead when i know i'll be fine living by myself and won't be happy doing something else (。•́︿•̀。)

Anonymous asked: How do I deal with family that doesn’t support my major or career path? 

Anonymous asked: I’m in college but I’m not studying something that I honestly like. I’ve finally found something that I’m interested in but problem is my parents are fine with me studying it as a hobby but not as a career, and I’m not too sure what I kind of jobs I can do even if I switch. Do you have any advice for how I can convince them? 

Hey there!! Thank you all for asking!! 

  • This is a little bit tricky to answer because all relationships with parents will differ a little bit. I think if they’re expressing an interest in what you study, even if it’s a particularly controlling type of interest then they at least care about your future and where you end up. 
  • So with that in mind, when you do speak to them, make sure you let them know that you appreciate their concern, but explain that dentistry/your major is something that you’ve always wanted to do and why
  • Also consider: a lot of times people just want to study something because they find it interesting but do you actually want to do something with it? For example studying a language like Korean: do you want to work as a translator with it? Or do you want to work in Korea as any particular job? 
  • It would also be useful to explain the benefits of pursuing that particular degree e.g. salary. 
  • Work out why they’re worried about your degree/major or about sending you interstate, if it’s about you being alone and not being able to take care of yourself you can offer suggestions to overcome that. A suggestion would be that you offer to cook dinners or your own meals for a month or take on some more responsibility at your own house to show them that you’re independent enough to stay at a dorm interstate. 
  • It’s likely they don’t know what jobs you can get or think it’s there’s no jobs in that industry so of course they don’t want you to end up jobless
  • If you can find a job and show them that the job prospects in the workplace are good then they would be more willing to let you study it.  
  • At the end of the day, I think just voicing out gently and repeatedly that this is something you really care about and really want to do will help your parents realise that, and will hopefully persuade them to let you do the degree you want to study. 
  • Sometimes they just don’t think you’re too committed to the idea, or not aware of the (perceived) disadvantages of the degree. They may be thinking it’s fine with you studying it as a hobby because that’s all they think that *you* think it is. If you show them you know well enough about the career prospects, they’d be more supportive. If you show that you know about it well enough and have some sort of contingency plan to overcome it, then they’ll be more willing to let you pursue it. 

Hope that helps!! Let me know how it goes ^__^

Originally posted by gong-hyojin

Ahh yes, another post in the back and forth of what I want to do with my life.

I think my ideal workflow would be working (at least mostly) remotely. So I can structure my time into a routine that works well for me. Not have to deal with the unwanted social circles at a workplace. Just focus on doing my work for the day and being done.

Maybe that’s too idealistic. But doing that as a data scientist would be more realistic than as a physicist.

At this point, I think it’d be a better use of my energy to strive for a profession that would provide me a better lifestyle. Not one that I feel compelled to do.

I have to live my own life.

hey guys i need a hand!!

i’m gettin real tired of all this “you’ll never find a real career in the arts” and “i’ll never find a real career in the arts” and the infamous “i don’t want to teach but my only hope is becoming an art/music/theater/english teacher because this is pointless”

that’s not the case!!! there are plenty of really cool careers in the arts!! and plenty of them will leave you with the time and space to peruse your own individual creative endeavors!! so!

i want to make a list of the different careers you can make for yourself in the arts, other that “succeful artist” and “new york times best selling author” and “broadway star”

all of those things are possible and i dare you all to push your limits there, but it’s hard to do those things with no income. so having a meaningful career that allows you to work towards those goals is essential. and being able to tell people like parents or nosy relatives that you can find an “actual” career will help you shake off the flack you might normally receive

i’m gonna start with the ones i can think of (including my career goal, listed first)

  • creative therapies. psych hospitals and therapy offices depend on artists, musicians, dance teachers, and creative writers to offer creative and art therapies. they’re a huge huge huge part of treatment!!
  • journalists. i can name about 6.2 billion newspapers, magazines, and other publications that rely on hoards of journalists and editors. there are plenty of jobs out there as a journalist, scout’s honor.

now i’m shit at coming up with ideas so send me messages, send me asks, and reply to this post with suggestions so i can make a better list!!!