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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On Irrationality of Doctoral Student

I remember my first day in the PhD program. Two senior PhD students invited me to go have lunch with them. They were chatting about jobs. One of them (he later became one of my best friends) said something like that:

"Man, look at Mike. He spent 6 years in the program and got a 60K teaching job! I know a guy who went to a nursing school and he makes about the same after like 2 years in school". Shortly after this lunch, this guy quit our PhD program and got an 80K industry job in a few months.

For some reason, I didn't pay attention to what he said. There's just something about human nature that prevents people from understanding simple things. Some people can solve extremely complex math problems, yet lack the ability to make very sober judgments. May be emotions get in the way of rational thinking. Or may be people just like to gamble.

I think what I should have done when I heard that interesting rumor is extensive research on employment prospects in my field.

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