Most people say that if you want to be in an upper management position, run your own research group, or teach at a university level, you pretty much need a PhD. But they caution that you might end up doing more administrative and writing than actual data collection/field work, so if you like being in the field, you might want to stop with the B.S. or M.S. I think I knew this as an undergrad—and probably assumed I wanted to do field work, but didn’t realize how extremely hard and unrealistic it is to find consistent work. Its usually low pay. Its always short term. It usually requires moving from state to state. And you feel like a slave—you are the cheap labor that collects the data, NOT the person actually contributing to the field. Other people take the data you collected, put their name on it, and publish it for the world to see. And you MIGHT get into the acknowledgement section if you are lucky. So I got bored of being someone’s slave and did a masters—only to find out I was still someone’s slave.
|Santee Coastal, SC, 2007|
|Truckee, CA, 2008|
As I said earlier, someone needs to collect the data and someone needs to analyze and publish the data. Well, I’m tired of just collecting the data. And summarizing the data is not the same as analyzing the data. I want to DO SOMETHING--to make that contribution that I got into this field for. But most people don’t let someone with only a masters touch the data—they let them run the field crews or hire the techs or collect and enter the data. Or someone with a masters might work for organizations that collect and summarize data but don’t really do much with it afterwards. So right now I’m thinking the PhD route may be something to seriously consider. Will it make me overqualified for the things I want to do? Maybe—but right now I can’t even get interviews for the jobs I’m UNDERQUALIFIED to do. Slaving away for 4-5 more years in school for little pay doesn't sound all that appealing--but getting to do more research for a stable 4-5 more years does. Will it lead me to a good job? I have no idea.
|Santa Cruz Island, CA, 2007|