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PhD physics, job seeking advice to Schoredinger's cat. thank you!

  1. Nov 12, 2014 #1
    Hello, I'm Schoeredinger's cat. After escaping that box, I went looking for a job elsewhere (can you blame me?).

    I have a PhD in physics from Cambridge (impressive for a cat, no?), where I deposited and studied magnetic metals and semiconductors thin films. I got a couple of postdocs that led to nothing much (distracted by fish).

    I immigrated to US and sent applications to any industry I could find in my field (like Intel). The most I got were automated denials.

    I applied to teach to community college, I only got some interview.

    I applied to supermarkets and worked at Fry's (electronics retail) for 2 weeks pushing carts part time in the parking lot.

    I got an office job.

    I learnt some python and applied to the big data school but wasn't accepted.

    Do you have any advice how can I look for an industry (or similar) job? I can't apply yet to positions that require citizenship, but honestly I'm not sure I'd get a chance there seeing my unemployed stretches of time in my resume and recent lack of technical job practice.

    Once I applied to a job in a bar, and I was told the coffee machine was difficult to learn. I said I have a PhD in physics I'm sure I can learn. They said "you'd be surprised" and didn't hire me.

    I am suspicious that being a cat is frowned upon when hiring.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    I Googled "Schoeredinger's cat" and got zero hits. Maybe your PhD is not in Physics? :)

    EDIT -- Which Fry's Electronics location? Sounds like we both are currently living in Silicon Valley.
  4. Nov 13, 2014 #3

    try this http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Schoeredinger's cat

    the man was not kind to me and I can't be bothered to spell his name right.

    I worked at the location in the valley north of LA. I occasionally pass by san francisco as I have friends in nevada city and palo alto. norcal is better, a little less dry, but I am in socal for now.
  5. Nov 13, 2014 #4
    So I'm gathering you need visa sponsorship right? That can be tough. Am I to understand you aren't interested in working in whatever other country(ies) you don't have any immigration issues?

    What was the office job like? How did you do there? What did you learn?
  6. Nov 13, 2014 #5
    ah no, I have a green card and I still work in that office. I just wish I worked somewhere I liked more : ) you know, somewhere where a cat with a PhD in physics can do something useful other than push paper around.

    EDIT: I write technological patents, something that anybody with a minimum of intelligence can do, as long as they are willing to hurt their brain somewhat.
  7. Nov 14, 2014 #6


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    Education Advisor

    My suggestion would be for you to continue to build any marketable skills you may have that you developed during your PhD and any subsequent study afterwards (you mentioned you studied Python -- are you familiar with other aspects of programming, say for simulations?). And since you said that you had applied to a big data school, try taking courses available in statistics, machine learning, etc. offered online (say, on Coursera or EdX), and try to work on actually trying to implement these methods using free data available, say on Kaggle competitions.


    In this way, you can build some skills that are actually in demand, and thus become more marketable.
  8. Nov 14, 2014 #7
    My only advice is that you might look for opportunities to play with data that could further your knowledge in both technical areas (SQL, SAS, etc.) and another knowledge area, such as health, banking, credit risk, etc. That's where I've found my personal sweet spot - something technical enough that it gave me an opening to break in, but that also lets me leverage those skills to do something impactful, rather than just churning data to someone, or updating some database in a routine way.

    It won't be a blast to start, but I've seen a lot of people find it rewarding later.

    Such jobs have a variety of names: Business Intelligence, Business Consultant, anything with "Analyst" after it (credit analyst, actuarial analyst, etc.).
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