I have finished 5 years of my PhD, and I have 5 publications in top tier (A* computer science) conferences based on work done during PhD. However, most of the publications are in unrelated areas. I am finding it almost impossible to compile a thesis from all my publications.

All my publications have me as first author and my advisor as second author. My advisor hasn’t read any of the publications, and he is incapable of judging them even if he reads them. I know that the work I’ve done can’t be compiled into a thesis. Due to the completion of PhD duration, I have stopped receiving scholarship from my Institute.

Even without my PhD degree, I can easily get a high paying job. My other option is to compile my work in the form of a thesis and hope that the thesis reviewers accept it.

What should I choose?

Update
I have got several brilliant answers and I wanted to accept many of them. I have decided to complete my PhD without antagonizing my advisor. He has agreed to grant me permission for submitting my PhD thesis, if my two papers, that I submitted recently, get published. If they indeed get published, I will have 4 related papers, and hence, I will be able to compile a thesis. I won’t be able to add my other papers, which doesn’t really matter. I told him that I care about my PhD and not the best thesis award, but he is hell bent upon it. He has agreed to provide me a project assistantship salary as long as I am pursuing PhD.

Despite what @einpoklum said, it doesn’t seem fair to leave without a PhD after working for so many years. Thanks everyone for the help.

I am 28+.completed mtech in civil engineering (structure) & joined for PhD in an iit in july 2017. I am from a poor family. Now I am thinking for quiting my PhD for my family. After completing phd, my age will be 33, considering 4.5-5 years of research. Then, it will be difficult for landing job as assistant professor in nit. After that I can think of caring my family, as I am only earning person. During phd, I have to marry also as she is 1 year elder than me. With 25000pm scholarship, it is not possible for me, to take care of my family & marriage life, as I can save only 13000 after all expenses ( fees, fooding etc). That why I am thinking of quiting PhD, just joining 1 month before.
Is it be good decision, to join a private design farm quiting PhD, keeping in mind the family & marriage expense issue?
What to do at same situation?

A PhD student of my advisor (I am a master student), having been enrolled the doctorate program for less than a year, is now unsure about whether or not to finish it.

One of his concerns is that if he continues, but eventually quits the doctorate program, and applies for a normal job, the future interviewer, during interview, may suspect his lack of ability due to the record of an unfinished PhD program.

However, if he does not write on his CV about the years during PhD program, the interviewer may further question about the absent years.

So, does a record of an unfinished PhD program makes employers doubt a person’s ability? Or are there other negative consequences in it (besides, of course, the opportunity cost of the time interval)?

In addition to helping me reassure him, such information also helps me to decide whether to get a PhD in the future.
(Not being anglophone, if I misused some terms in English please correct me.)

I’m a tenured professor in a humanities department at a second-tier research university in the United States. My Ph.D. is from a top-ten program in my discipline. I have an above-average number of publications for my age. I have about five years of undergraduate and graduate teaching experience post-Ph.D.

I have an opportunity to take a job as a writer/editor for a marketing company. I’m inclined to take it (for reasons I won’t detail here) but am worried that if I don’t end up liking my new job, it will be impossible to get back into academia after having left voluntarily.

I’m not expecting that I would get my current position back, or necessarily be rehired to a tenured position. I’m just wondering how hard it would be to go back on the job market and find a tenured or tenure-track position somewhere in maybe two or three years’ time if I end up hating the new job.

I want to emphasize that I am in a humanities discipline. I gather that in the sciences, it is common for one to leave an academic position to go work in “industry,” then later return to academia. I have never heard of anyone doing this in the humanities, however. Does it happen?

I chose my current PhD position because of funding limitation and the reputation of my institute last year. After a year, it’s a disaster, because I have no interest in my PhD project. I haven’t read any papers in my personal time since I started my PhD. I’m not interested in what my labmates are doing whenever they are presenting. Though my project works perfectly fine, I just don’t care about it.

Many rumors prevail in our lab regarding our supervisor; for example not supportive to graduating PhD students. Therefore, the morale and atmosphere in our laboratory has been strange. Yet, I’ve managed to maintain a moderate relationship with him. I have worked as a summer student in several labs and understand that no lab is free of anecdotes from the supervisor.

My only concern is that my passion in science will decay with my project. A year ago, I still had the lust to ask infinite questions in the summer lab, but I’m like a dying whale on the beach today. I feel very sad, because my family and my friends have great expectation from me.

I would like to change labs or start from a master’s degree level again, but I’m not sure if it is feasible, especially since my supervisor is rather special. Please help me and give me some suggestions.

I am an international PhD graduate who joined a postdoc in a private univ in the U.S. four months ago. After careful research and studying the group profiles, I joined a group (less than 2 years old) with a dynamic PI who seems genuinely interested in pursuing similar research interests as mine and moving the field of research forward with some great ideas.

In some sense it was all going well.

I was asked to come up some research topics and systems that I would like to work with. I ended up spending some time (nearly two months) doing some simulations, writing a fellowship grant and coming up with some workable systems that I can start with.

The problem is he has very high expectations and it’s getting tough to live upto his expectations, which is in turn stressing me out. We have frequent meetings and discussions, which is a good sign, but I am always focused on living up to his standards rather than research itself. Almost everything, like plotting my timeline sheets to plotting data to presenting PowerPoint, he always has constant criticisms. I took it up as a challenge and tried to do the best I could.

But lately, I feel intimidated and totally worthless. I find it difficult to contribute to group discussions with the fear of uttering something stupid.

That happened today. I froze midway my explanation (got stuck while deriving something). When asked to explain something basic, I totally blew it off. I should have known how to explain it, but I somehow couldn’t. This pissed the PI off and he went on a rant about how he expected me to know at least this and it was unacceptable.

While I do agree with him, this has again instilled a fear in me if he is going to throw me out of the lab. Work wise, I have just started with my initial experiments and I am trying my best. Altogether I don’t feel too good and feel like I am in a soup. Almost re-considering my options of moving away from the lab.

Some of the questions that I have are as follows:

  • Is it ok to feel intimidated as a postdoc? Or, is it a sign that it may be a postdoc position is not suitable for me?
  • Should I give myself some more time and see how my research work progresses before I make the decision of moving away from the lab?
  • Am I just over-reacting for not being able to answer a few questions and not taking it as a positive sign to improve myself?

This is just a rant after a rough day (the first one in 4 months) in my Postdoc duration. I am an international PhD graduate who joined for postdoc in a private univ in the U.S. After careful research and studying the group profiles i joined a group (less than 2 years old) with a dynamic PI who seems genuinely interested in pursuing similar research interests as mine and moving the field of research forward with some great ideas.In some sense it was all going well. i was asked to come up some research topics and systems would like to work with. I ended up spending some time (nearly two months) doing some simulations, writing a fellowship grant and coming up with some workable systems i can start with. The problem is he has very high expectations and its getting tough to live upto his expectations which is in turn stressing me out.We have frequent meetings and discussions which is a good sign, but i am always focused on living up to his standards rather than research itself. Almost everything, like plotting my timeline sheets to plotting data to presenting PowerPoint, he always had constant criticisms. I took it up as a challenge and tried to do the best i could. But lately, i feel intimidated and totally worthless. I find it difficult to contribute to group discussions with the fear of uttering something stupid.The same happened today, where i froze midway my explanation (got stuck while deriving something) when asked to explain something and totally blew it off.I should have known how to explain it but i somehow couldn’t. This pissed the PI off and went on a rant about how he expected me to know atleast this and it was unacceptable. While i do agree with him, this has again instilled a fear in me if he is going to throw me off the lab. Workwise, i have just started with my initial experiments and i am trying my best. Altogether i don’t feel too good and feel like i am in a soup. Almost re-considering my options of moving away from the lab. It would be great if i could get some insights and perspectives from you guys. Cheers!

Here’s my challenge: I took a suspension of studies about a year and a half ago from my UK PhD program (in ancient history) and moved back to the US after my funding ran out, and now have to decide whether to pony up for part-time tuition or just drop out entirely.

I have no hope or interest in pursuing the PhD for a career; I’ve got a career in an unrelated field. But my subject and my thesis add something to my life that I don’t want to give up. But I’m not eager to dump $10,000 for just part-time tuition when right now that would be a doable but poor financial decision, especially since I doubt my rate of progress would improve. I’ve finished about 50% of my thesis.

Is it possible to just quit and then reapply again in the future? It’s never been stated outright, but the vibe from the university is it’s finish or quit forever. I don’t really care if it’s at the same university or not. (As long as it’s not in the US; I have no interest in a longer than 3 or 4 year program).

Has anyone else left a program only to complete it or another one years later?

I opted for a PhD at the same university where I did a two years master’s (I’m an international student). The master’s level was remarkable, but the PhD isn’t that good. It feels like an extended version of the same master’s. Since I’m not receiving the training I expected or being exposed to the challenging problems that could put me at the forefront of my field, I have certainty I must leave this PhD for the well-being of my career. I have talked to the students’ counselor, voiced my concern about the prospect of my training to my direct supervisor, asked authorization to reshape my project (no professor has experience in the theoretical direction I want to take it) or to go abroad as visiting student in another institution (my funding is very strict in terms of leaving for extended periods) and reached the conclusion that the possibilities of improvement are slim. Nonetheless, I have tried to keep the tension low and not sound menacing (“either you let me do this or I’m out”).

I’ve identified other PhDs (or even jobs) in which I could achieve goals more in line with my expectations. But there is a problem. All my relevant academic network was built during the masters and is therefore in the same department I’m planning to abandon. Although they’ve addressed my concerns in an attentive manner and encouraged me to continue, I’m sure they won’t be happy to let me go and some may even take my decision as an insult to the department and a PhD program the university is very proud of. But I heavily depend on them too. I’ll need their letters of recommendation to apply to graduate school elsewhere or get a job. Has anyone secured a letter of recommendation from a supervisor you parted midway your PhD? How to voice this type of decisions in a non-confrontational way? How to deflect the conflict and leave the PhD without shooting myself on the foot?

Full-disclaimer: I’m not angry, lonely, depressed, burned-out, in debt, amid a fight with faculty, etc. I’m just dissatisfied with the quality of my PhD, which, true be told, could be very good for other students; it’s just that I already got this training during my master’s!

I opted for a PhD at the same university where I did a two years master’s (I’m an international student). The master’s level was remarkable. The PhD is… so so, an extended version of the same masters. Since I’m not receiving the training I expected or being exposed to the challenging problems that could put me at the forefront of my field, I have certainty I must leave this PhD for the well-being of my career. Note that I have exhausted all the logical possibilities, like asking to reshape my project (no professor has experience in the direction I want to take it) or going abroad as visiting student in another institution (my funding is very strict in terms of leaving for extended periods). I’ve identified other PhDs (or even jobs) in which I could achieve goals more in line with my expectations. But there is a problem. All my relevant academic network was built during the masters and is therefore in the same department I’m planning to abandon. I have to face the facts: they won’t be happy to let me go and some may even take my decision as a middle finger to the department and a PhD program the university is very proud of. But I heavily depend on them too. I’ll need their letters of recommendation to apply to graduate school elsewhere or get a job. Has anyone secured a letter of recommendation from a supervisor you parted midway your PhD? How to voice this type of decisions in a non-confrontational way? How to deflect the conflict and leave the PhD without shooting myself on the foot?

Full-disclaimer: I’m not angry, lonely, depressed, burned-out, in debt, amid a fight with faculty, etc. I’m just dissatisfied with the quality of my PhD, which, true be told, could be very good for other students; it’s just that I already got this training during my master’s!