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Other What to consider when making a big career decision

  1. Aug 29, 2017 #1
    Hi everyone, Firstly sorry if this is the wrong forum to post this topic in but I thought as some/a lot people here will have done a physics degree it seemed like the best place to ask.

    Firstly - My main question is what did you consider when making the decision of 'do I go for this job/career or do a phd/go for this other career etc' but more about my specific situation is written below.

    I am in the UK and in late September I will be going into my final year of my undergraduate degree in physics with theoretical physics (just means more pure maths and less lab after my first year). I am currently deciding what path to take after my undergrad as I know that, from what I have researched about, all of the graduate jobs that are open to me with my degree straight out of undergrad don't seem like they are my kind of thing (not meant to come across as immature or anything its just there is something else I would rather do).

    Now I need to decide what to do next - The Options (note this assumes best case scenarios)

    1. Do a masters then get onto and do a Phd (one of the things I'd love to do)
    2. After I graduate from my undergrad look for a tattoo apprenticeship (My dream job after working in academia)
    3. Do my masters while continuing to look for a tattoo apprenticeship then make a decisions during my masters (If I go with option 3 I will most likely still have this problem though just not have to do the masters part)

    The Problems

    If I go down the phd route, I will probably find myself in the position that I am now where I don’t want any of the opportunities laid out before me (ie software development, finance, teaching at high school etc). ), I know my opinions may change but I can only go off how I feel about those career paths now (I have worked in both software development and high school teaching so know to an extent that I don’t really want to be doing those a extended amount of time, I wouldn’t hate the job but I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it either, which is what I am looking for in a career)

    The only reasons for a phd is for personal interest/enjoyment and then, if I want to continue and I am good enough to continue, is to go into academia, though I am aware of the low chances of this happening.

    But the longer I leave it, the less likely I am to be able to do a tattoo apprenticeship as things such as living costs, will change for me when I am 28 vs next year (23). I am in the position where I can do a apprenticeship next year but when I am 28 this most likely wont be open to me. (the reasons are too long to type)

    My main question is the same as above, what should I consider when making this decision/what did you consider if you have found yourself in a similar situation?

    Thank you for taking the time to read and give your advice, it is very appreciated
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2017 #2


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    In my opinion you have to know EXACTLY what you want to study for and become, so you are determined to achieve that goal.
    Also, you must evaluate on how much your occupation and skills will be needed by the end of your studies and ready to get a job. If your skills will be unlikely to be needed, then you might not find a job.
    Lastly, you need to be aware of how much you are going to get paid by doing a certain job to assure yourself a wealthy, successful and promising future.
    Best luck!
  4. Aug 29, 2017 #3
    When I was single, I focused on getting good advice from an inner circle of advisers: my parents, a couple faculty members I trusted a lot, a good grad student friend who was a trusted mentor and confidant.

    After I got married, my inner circle of advisers changed a bit: my wife, my wife's dad, and an older friend who'd been a physics teacher for many years. When my children became old enough to understand how my "big career decisions" would affect them, I included them in the discussions as well, especially if a decision meant moving or a significant change in our family income or the time I would be available at home.
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