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Non-academic and no paper reading career

  1. Apr 7, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I've recently completed a postdoc in the field of laser physics (photonics), the same field as my PhD. I was involved in both numerical modelling and experiments and have done well with quite a few publications. But I have never had a passion for my work, and I want to start a new career that is not involving much research... Well, I have nothing against research, I just dread seeing my day consisting of mainly reading papers and trying to get publications. It personally is not rewarding. I have never been proud of having my name on top of a paper. I want to work for something more. It is not my dream to be the next Einstein (not that I think I could be).

    What I did enjoy was the numerical modelling during my studies, and working in the lab trying to build something practical. And I want to emphasize practical... most of my research was done in the reverse order: have a solution and looking for a problem. Instead I want to find solutions to problems by applying what I know or learning something new.

    I only did a postdoc cause I didn't know what else to do, and have long been considering a career change. Often I search for jobs and the technician jobs seem best suited for me, but I am overqualified now and the pay is so low. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2014 #2


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    What country are you in? My supervisor told me industry job market for photonics PhD's is really good in UK.
  4. Apr 7, 2014 #3
    Hey Wukunlin. I'm in Canada, but I'm open to travel I suppose. Just unsure what I should be looking for. I feel a lot of the positions I could get would be research positions doing basically the same thing as academia, minus the teaching aspect and freedom.
  5. Apr 8, 2014 #4
    My first advice is do a comprehensive career search. The purpose of this is to see if you find any jobs you think you would LOVE doing. If you do then formulate a plan for getting that job. I think it is actually quite unlikely you'll find such a job.

    Failing that, I'd recommend looking at an industry job. They are usually more problem solving based as that's generally what people pay for. It is unlikely you will see anything like a Technician job unless, as you say, the pay is low. But if you keep an eye out for any job with a laboratory component then you may be able to take the job and spend longer in the lab as, quite often, people like to leave lab work to others.
  6. Apr 9, 2014 #5
    Hi Reasonableman. I've been doing lots of career search (which is how I found these forums), and as you suspected, nothing seems to really reach out at me. I guess this is my fault for pursuing a PhD and postdoc without keeping a clear goal in my head. I just figured all the doors would be open to me, but much to my surprise, I feel like I can't do anything but research which is the one thing I wanted to move away from.
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