My field has extreme competition for TT jobs that I 1) will most likely be unable to land after graduation 2) don’t even really desire anymore. In comparison to my classmates, my research productivity is absolutely pitiful. It is stymied by an apathy for my subfield and academia in general that has developed over my 2 year tenure in the program.

Problem is, I can’t get the industry jobs I want right now due to underdeveloped programming skills and inadequate networking. My best bet is to stick around and beef these up until I see an opportunity to leave. If I drop out now with my master’s, I will have to start out at square one and get entry level work that uses none of the skills I have developed (we’re talking competition w/ HS grads).

However, I have already told my advisor about my doubts for a future in academia. They approved an academic leave request due to some issues in my person life. At the end of my leave period, I have to tell my advisor that I wish to complete the program and stay in academia.

On the one hand, my situation is not so different from any other PhD student forced to go alt-ac due to disinterest or poor performance, but on the other hand, I will have to mislead my advisor to return. I only want to continue at this point for job prospects, and my advisor won’t be inclined to take me back if I tell them this.

A similar question by another PhD student can be found here – When is the right time to tell my advisor that I plan on leaving my PhD program?

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