Second thoughts on physics PhD--Engineering masters/PhD or job? Hi all, I recently started a funded MSc-->PhD graduate program in physics at a mid-top tier 2 university, and I'm having concerns regarding my future career prospects. My initial plan was to finish the PhD, but now I'm considering stopping after the MSc. I have a BS in physics and a minor in math with an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.7. Prior to graduate school, I was involved in three research projects, one of which may lead to a publication. I'm concerned about employment after graduate school. Lately, I've felt that I ultimately don't want to become a professor. I find physics fascinating, but academic positions seem too demanding for my personality, along with the fact that they're hard to come by. I also don't like how isolated day to day work in academia seems, but this might be particularly pronounced in the group I'm working in. The group I'm in does experimental condensed matter that overlaps with materials science and electrical engineering. Along with the fact that I find it very interesting, I chose to work in experimental condensed matter because of its overlap with other fields, and its superior employment potential (in terms of finding non-academic work related to physics). At this point, I think a job in a national lab or industry sounds most appealing. However, I've disliked the tedious process of trouble-shooting the many problems that arise in research. I assume most people in research dislike this, but I don't know if it's too much for me, which is partly why an industry job seems more appealing (I could be completely mistaken here). Then again, I could be blowing this dislike out of proportion, as I've been diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression since early adolescence, which has made me second guess almost every career move I've made (e.g. choosing to major in physics, applying to graduate school, choosing which school to go to, etc.). I've continued to receive treatment for these conditions, but regardless, they have always clouded my judgement and made it hard to feel confident about any career decisions. I should have the MSc by next fall, and I'm wondering if it might be better use of my time/give me more employability to leave the PhD program and go on to a masters or PhD in EE or materials science, or to just start looking for a job after the physics MSc. A couple things favoring staying in the physics PhD: A potential PhD project I've discussed with my advisor may involve a collaboration with a materials science group at my university, that would allow me to make thin film heterostructures of novel materials, make measurements using STM, XRD, TEM, and magnetic susceptometry, and have access to a nanofabrication center (I'm under the impression some of these skills are quite transferable to industry). I've also entered a program open to science/engineering grad students at my university that aides in preparing students for both academic and industrial careers. So, a physics PhD might not be too bad of an idea, but I still am not sure if/how much a masters or PhD in EE or MS would be better in terms of employability, even if the subject matter was very similar (I've heard that some industry employers toss out/disfavorably view job applications from physics PhDs, but I don't know how true this is). Regarding research being tedious, I realize that every job has its negative attributes, so I don't know if I would dislike another job more. I obviously don't want to quit the physics PhD and find I don't like a job or a masters/PhD in MS/EE, so I don't know if quitting the program is worth the risk. From the rather cursory job searches I've done, industry jobs seem to be somewhat routine/mundane, and at most require a masters in EE, MS, or physics. I've also really enjoyed TAing and explaining things to people in general, but I would not like to teach anything lower than university. Sorry that this is so long and rather unorganized. Some specific questions I have: 1) Which path (continue physics PhD, look for job after physics MSc, masters in MS/EE after physics MSc, or PhD in MS/EE after physics MSc) would keep my options the most open? 2) Who can I talk to for advice? I feel that my advisor is quite biased in favor of academia, as he appears to really love the work our group does and couldn't imagine himself doing anything else. Fellow graduate students in my department seem rather pessimistic and uncertain themselves. 3) Much more generally, how does one ever feel confident about their career decisions? I have spent countless hours thinking, making pro/con lists, etc. about my future career options, and I never really feel confident. I had second thoughts about starting graduate school, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time (it still might be the right thing). Because of this, one of my guiding principles in making decisions has been to keep my options open (another reason for choosing exp cond mat), but it seems I will soon have to start narrowing things down. Many thanks in advance for any other advice you can offer.