Is it a fair assessment that doing a PhD is absolutely terrible if your only goal is to work in academia (aside perhaps for some areas in business, maybe others; definitely not physics), but it's ok if you also would like to work in industry or government AS LONG AS you pick the right area of specialization? But there are some subjects and areas of specialization that you can do your PhD in that are completely useless for career prospects unless you happen to be in the top X% (where X is small) of candidates in both networking/connections and ability?
From all my readings on the career path for physics PhDs and thinking about it this is what I am taking away from these debates. Either be Ed Witten'esque or choose a specialty not (solely) on interest but on demand. Unless you are ok with spending 6 years getting paid garbage to get a degree (that granted, is in an area you really like), but at the end of it you will only be able to get the same job that you could get with your BS (roughly). And it may be even more difficult to get that same job because you're now viewed as an academic who is settling for an industry job rather than a fresh graduate eager to work in industry.