What do you want to do with your PhD? (comic)

If you are doing a PhD, or married to someone doing a PhD, you should subscribe to this site: www.phdcomics.com. They send an e-mail every time they post a new comic, and the 30 seconds it takes to look are usually well worth the laugh (it’s free). Below is today’s comic. Apart from the goatee, this guy looks awfully familiar (hair and eye color at least). To be honest, some of his previous appearances hit closer to home.

phd031008s.gif

As for me, I think I know what I want to do – at least the general context, who I want to serve, and the types of things I want to be doing. On the other hand, I know the downsides of the job market. In a previous job, I worked with several PhDs who were basically doing glorified administration. It struck me then that I was already doing administration, though at a lower lever, and that made me wonder whether the sacrifice of time and money was really worth it. Let’s face it. PhDs in biblical studies are a dime a dozen; PhDs in New Testament are especially common. A provost of a seminary once told me that for every NT position they advertise, they get well over a hundred applications. (OT was more like 30; many were pastors looking to come return to academia.) In my program here, six of us are doing NT; only one is doing OT. (The translation department on the other hand has four candidates doing OT translation; the other one is studying the metaphor of light in both the OT and NT.) As a result, it was a little tough knowing that by choosing NT, I was basically killing any real job prospects. I’m not that good.

As for me, my basic goal when I am done is to assist African scholars in research and writing and to support African Christian leaders in a variety of ways. True there are already great people here doing that, but the field is expanding rapidly and is a little less crowded. This also explains why I wanted to do my program here. Having done undergrad and masters in the US, there is a lot I needed to learn from the African context. (Otherwise, a library is a library; research is research, and I have great supervisors and good outside contacts. I can’t ask for a lot more.) Frankly, this is a close to “home” as anywhere for me, and these are my people.

There are a lot of different ways to slice the future pie for me. Funding it is another story. That’s always the rub isn’t it?

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