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Scientist - How do I get out of the slowlane while still doing what I love?

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by 4symmetry, Feb 8, 2018.

Have you built your business starting as a side hustle?

  1. Yes, and it worked

    6 vote(s)
    46.2%
  2. Yes, and it failed

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  3. No

    5 vote(s)
    38.5%
  1. Shuhari
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    Shuhari New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Hi from southern Germany,

    Just a few comments from my side, have worked in academia and obtained my PhD too.

    Academia is definitely the sickest system in which I have worked so far and that I know of. I do not miss one day that I have spent there. In the beginning, the script lures you into believing that you do such an important and honorable job for society, that you will work with world-class experts on cutting-edge science, that your personal contribution, even if tiny, can possibly lead to a huge leap in technological advancement.

    So far the fairy tale. Enter reality.

    In most cases you simply become the personal slave of a professor who in many cased does not care about ethical behavior or law. Since you started the PhD which is almost always sold as "your personal project", you probably start to identify with that title so that you begin to do what is necessary to obtain that damn thing.
    • Working 10+ hours a day is prohibited by law in Germany, but is the rule in academia.
    • Letting people work in fixed-term employment contracts is the norm in academia.
    • Paying people as little as 0% while letting the work full-time is only possible in academia (in particular in the social sciences).
    • Telling women to not become pregnant is extremely unethical, but is often heard of.
    • Not extending fixed-term employment contracts of pregnant women is also often the case.
    • Stealing results or being co-author in scientific publications while having made zero contributions is also the norm.
    • The list can be continued forever.
    To be fair, there are also a few exceptions to the above list, but these are definitely not the norm.

    Sorry to tell you, but academia is the ultimate slowlane. This is my interpretation of CENTS:
    • C: no control at all, completely dependent of others
    • E: entry barrier gets lower and lower and the system is flooded with human material
    • N: who needs a PhD to deliver value to the market place
    • T: a black hole for time, your days just disappear
    • S: no scaling
    Whatever your aspirations are, you better begin to think about how to break out of that system, otherwise you will find yourself compromised every day.

    Regarding your questions:
    Yes.

    Yes. It is no problem to start a business as long as it is not interfering with your job. However, you must have the balls to tell that to your supervisor who will probably start all kinds of manipulation techniques and pressure to hold you back from that.

    Part of your PhD skill-set is very valuable for any entrepreneurial endeavor. I bet you are well organized, can work focused, can work independently, can read and summarize a lot of material, are good at communication, and so on. This is a plus. However, another part of your PhD mindset must probably be overcome, like "I am smarter than the rest and know it all", "Everybody is so impressed by my academic achievements", "I deserve something above average", and so on.

    ----
    Note that my negative opinion about academia is concentrating at academia as a working environment, e.g. as a PhD student, researcher, post-doc or professor.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
    4symmetry and El_Johnson23 like this.
  2. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You have a very interesting situation and analysis! It's clear that your heart IS in your current work and you'd like a way to continue it. If you do, how much time would you have for a business of your own on the side? For example, if you become a professsor, wouldn't that give you every summer off and quite a few hours each week when you could be in your office at the university, but working on your own thing until a student or colleague comes in to talk to you?
     
    4symmetry likes this.
  3. 4symmetry
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    4symmetry Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for your answer, sorry I somehow missed your post completely until today!
    I completely agree with what you said about academia. I guess I just want to keep doing research in one way or another, though not necessarily as a lab rat anymore, maybe as supervisor or innovator of some kind. I don’t see academia as the right setting to do this (at least not anymore).
     
  4. 4symmetry
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    4symmetry Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    In some ways that is correct (even though you‘d be sitting in your office trying to get funding for your lab - but I know some professors who pull of companies on the side, for sure). The crucible is the „if“ you become a professor though.
     
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