Dear Mark,

I have two questions, if it is ok for you.

  1. you write “And there are many careers in science that are not in academia. Private sector research, of course. Journal editors. Science journalism. Science communication. But what of the jobs outside of this bubble? You know, normal life?”. Then you specify that going through a PhD is “A chance to become a world expert in your own little niche of science or the humanities.” I think that these two sentences are a contradiction in term because during a PhD you over specialize, as you said, at the point that you are quite useless outside academia. I experienced myself a huge gap between the skills that I acquired during my PhD and the requirements companies ask. Companies were only interested in my programming skills. My question for youis then, can you please clarify what message you wanted to convey with respect to the two sentences I cited?
  2. you write “A PhD can be a wonderful, unparalleled experience” and before that “ Yet the vast majority of graduate students and postdocs can never reach a permanent job in academia, because those jobs do not and will not exist”. I agree with you about the lack of open positions and that’s what makes academia such a competitive world. Now, I honestly never met a PhD student who wasn’t stressed out and who didn’t tell me “never again man!!” I honestly don’t agree about presenting the PhD experience by stating only the bright sides and that’s why I felt the urge to write about the not-so-bright sides of academia. Now, my second question for you is, can you please explain what in your opinion and experience is a fairly balanced overview of the PhD experience?

Thanks a lot in advance,

kind regards,


I mentor people to develop the required soft skills to become successful remote workers —