Originally published here at e.com in August 2012.
To PhD or not to PhD, that is that a question for you? Well, at Ethnography.com we have years of unsolicited advice to those of wondering if all the uncertainties of grad school are for you or not.
For example those of you have lousy grades for any number of reasons, and question not your own capacity, but that of your chosen profession to give your application a second look, check out “Can Bad Grades and Graduate School Go Together?” The answer of course is a resounding YES! But it is not so YES! As if you had better grades. But what is done is done, so push on.
But let’s say that you’re already in grad school, have a stellar g.p.a. and the luminaries of anthropology are throwing research assistantships, graduate fellowships, and closing in on the Master’s. Is it ok to bail, and take another path? For you, too, we at Ethnography.com have. Check out “Why I chose not to get a PhD” by one of our more erudite bloggers.
Or maybe you’re an adjunct faculty member, working in a community college or as a university lecturer. No matter how excellent a professor or how hard you work, you are treated as a second class citizen by tenured peers and administration alike. If this is you we here at e.com know your pain and alienation, our blogger Marianne Paiva writes about this in “Second-Class PhD.”
Finally, perhaps you are finally closing in on that PhD and realize that the brass ring of tenure track employment is perhaps just that—only made out of brass, and not gold. Family, the job market, and life in general is keeping you from the step of casting yourself on the national or international job market, and your life is just fine where it is, thank you Herr Dr. Big Shot Major Professor! Let our blogger assure you that there is nothing inherently essential to life in “PhD or not PhD.”
Tony Waters is czar and editor of Ethnography.com. He came to us from the Sociology department at California State University at Chico where he has been a professor since 1996. In 2016 though he suddenly found himself with a new gig at Payap University in northern Thailand where he is on the faculty of the Peace Studies Department. He has also been a guest professor in Germany, and Tanzania. In the past, his main interests have been international development and refugees in Thailand, Tanzania, and California. This reflects a former career in the Peace Corps (Thailand), and refugee camps (Thailand and Tanzania). His books include: Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan (2001), The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life Beneath of the Marketplace (2007), When Killing is a Crime (2007), and Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child (2012). His hobby is trying to learn strange languages–and the mistakes that that implies. Tony is a prolific academic, you can read more of his work at academia.edu.or purchase one (or more!) of his books from Amazon.com.