I'm in accounting now and plan to graduate in spring of '14. My Plan A has been to pursue accounting, retire early, and do with the rest of my life what I like - probably something related to science. I want or wanted to learn independently the sciences and risk having no way to contribute formally as a layman.
The main concerns I had that deterred me from pursuing a medical science PhD are mainly:
A. Employment is said to be unstable, more so than any other sector. I'm rather risk-averse in this regard which is why I chose accounting.
B. The prospect of a long period being a postdoc. One interview I watched on this subject suggested that, in total, you could expect about 20 years of schooling and postdoc before you are really employable. I have some confusion on this though, is the postdoc only necessary to become a professor?
C. I'm 22 now and have my roots set it seems in a business career. Considering there's no commonalities with this and science, I can expect about 9 more years before I'd have a PhD completed from when I set out to start (which might be a few more years to get a job first and clear my debt). The opportunity cost is tremendous when you consider the money/experience I'd get in accounting. Money isn't the prime motivator , but I'm a pragmatist.
D. I'm not sure that even with a PhD I can do what I'd like. I like to see the whole picture and wouldn't like a career that is focused on one super specific thing. I'm interested in interdisciplinary fields like psychoneuroimmunology however. I'm fascinated in particular with one researcher of that field (Michael Maes) who has done exactly what my dream is, which is crisply tie together many different areas to explain for instance, CFS/FMS or depression.
With that said I can't say I see myself as passionate about anything other than medical science, which is why my Plan A has had appeal in that I could be secure in a career while also learning the science in my own time. If I knew it were worth it to get a PhD and could do the things I like, am I at a disadvantage being where I'm at now with accounting? I think by the time I'd be ready to transition into science if I did, online schooling might be more realistic and I could knock out classes without giving up a full time job before going for the doctorate (if that can be done).
I know this is an overused question but: is a PhD really worth it in my case?