I'm worried my brother might be making the wrong decision about his degree. He has a fellowship and is well on the way to getting a phd, but he is thinking of stopping at a masters so he can get a job. The reasons he gives seem naive to me, but I don't know anything about this field. I'm worried he's going to end up being bored and unfulfilled because he's focused on short term goals.
My brother is in a chemical engineering program and is working on biofuels. He seems unsure about the future, and also seems overly concerned about making money in the short term. He took a test for a plant operator job this week, and is thinking he'll quit school so that he'll get experience and make money. He says his friends make 6 figures in that job (though I asked if that was with overtime, and he said yes).
When I ask him, he says he wants to improve his credit (why? "because employers check credit before hiring someone") and he can make more money if he's hired.
He also says that he'll get experience at that job, whereas he doesn't get experience working as a grad student. So he'll have better prospects if he works as a plant operator. But, it doesn't seem to me that he'll get engineering experience, so if he wants to do engineering work, he shouldn't get derailed. His take is that a plant operator job gets him "in the door" so that he can eventually get an engineering position.
That sounds really naive to me, but I'm looking at this from the point of view as a software engineer. And as someone who spent a lot of time in college living with physics grad students. I don't know if my observations from my job field and from watching physics grad students applies to the chemical engineering field.
I've seen this question
, but I still don't feel like I have much insight.
I feel like I'm failing to be supportive. I've been pointing out that he should question his assumptions about the career possibilities of starting as a plant operator if he really wants to do engineering. I've pointed out that he shouldn't make decisions because he feels panicked about his credit and about his income right now. I've pointed out that ultimately he should follow the path that leads to him having a happier life, which includes all kinds of factors, like how much free time he'll have, or how much time he spends on doing things he likes. (I mean, watching other people in academia, some might spend a lot of time in a lab, but they also might find it fulfilling).
I also told him to ignore fake deadlines (like when he says that he shouldn't date people until he has some amount of income, etc.)
sorry for the rambling, but I am having a hard time articulating this.