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5 Ways Ph.D.’s Sabotage Their Career Growth

For Ph.D.s it can be quite difficult to make a career transition out of the academe. They end up making mistakes that sabotage their careers. This can be quite stressful and hinders their progress. Intellectual individuals sometimes undermine themselves and don’t achieve much even though they have the potential and the opportunities to succeed.

 Of course, this career sabotaging is unintentional and it is also mostly hard to notice by the individual himself. He might not realize he is doing something wrong and would be blaming the system or himself for the lack of success. Given below are 5 ways Ph.D.’s sabotage their career growth. By identifying if these signs are present in your life and taking steps against them if they are, you can safeguard your career’s growth in the future. 

Undervaluing Important Skills 

Ph.D.s having spent a large amount of their life relying a lot on intellect and might not value other important skills that are necessary for career growth. They might think that they can succeed based solely on intellect as they were able to do so in academia. This is a very dangerous attitude to have. Other skills such as relationship building and workplace diplomacy etc. are not developed properly due to them being viewed as unimportant. This can really stunt their career growth. 

Not only do you need to use your strengths but you also need to try and overcome your weaknesses. Learn and develop new skills and try to have a constructive attitude. Remember that you need these skills to succeed, you cannot do everything using brute intellect. Find out which important skills you are lacking, learn them, and add them to your arsenal of skills. It is always good to have a wider range of skills. If you let your skills stagnate then your career will also stagnate. Most of all stay away from the dangerous attitude of considering skills to be unimportant that are a vital part of your work environment.

Not Being a Team Player 

Ph.D.s usually have a higher level of intellect which can make it hard for them to work in a team. They grasp concepts much more quickly and generally have a higher standard for their performance. It can become a bit frustrating for them to work in a team where other individuals take longer to pick up concepts and process information. They might feel as if they are being held back. 

They might consider that they can do the task much better even if that is not the case. This is obviously not the case for all Ph.D.s as a lot of them know their shortcomings and understand their limitations. One must remember that teamwork is crucial in any work environment. You cannot do everything on your own. Try to appreciate what diverse minds bring to a team and how you can benefit from the opinions and ideas of others. 

It is not a race of intellect but it is a collaborative effort. If you do not work as a member of the team, then you will be left behind. Do not be condescending and know your limits. Even if you can do the job on your own it is still a good idea to engage in teamwork with others as then you will have someone to rely on when things get tough. 

Focusing On ‘Prestigious’ Accomplishments

As a Ph.D. you might have a habit of acquiring and showcasing prestigious accomplishments while not caring too much about those accomplishments that are not too prestigious. It is an innate desire in almost everyone to “look good” and so we give much more importance to things that we consider to be better. Your pragmatic side seeks to get results while your prestigious side wants you to achieve those goals that make you look “better”. 

But the industry doesn’t really care about your prestigious side. Yes, in the academic circle your prestigious side matters a lot but in most of the careers outside the academe, your pragmatic side matters much more than your prestigious side. This attitude of preferring prestige can be a huge hurdle in you getting a job as the interviewer usually cares about whether you can get the job done or not. They have no interest in whether you have been published in some journal or you have worked with some distinguished professor. 

In short, you are going to be hired because of your ability to get the job done and not on your prestige. So, try to be pragmatic and show that you are capable of getting the job done. If you stick to your prestigious side a lot, it will only hinder your career growth.

Seeing In-Depth Thinking and Reflection as The Solution to Every Problem

Ph.D.s are accustomed to try and find solutions to problems through intensive thinking and evaluation. Although this is a good thing in most cases it can become an unhealthy obsession. It can also make you overlook other different approaches which could be much better. 

Do not think of every problem as a nail because your only tool is a hammer. Instead focus on expanding your skillset. Take into consideration every approach instead of just thinking. Avoid overthinking as much as you can. This overthinking could negatively affect your career growth and your work life. Do not limit yourself to just one tool and try to steer clear of negative thinking and overthinking.

Thinking Ph.D. Alone Will Get Them Any Job They Want

As a Ph.D. you might end up in careers outside of academia. Most of these careers will not require a doctorate. So an important distinction must be made. Those careers are something that you do after a Ph.D. and not with a Ph.D. Do not limit yourself but instead find the job you like. Expand your knowledge and skills further. Employers seek an employee with experience and a skillset suitable for the job. They value specific skills and linear work experience and don’t care too much about academic credentials. For most employers, an applicant is not very appealing if all he has to offer is a Ph.D. 

Learn how to leverage and demonstrate the value you bring to the job market as a PhD holder and get the job you want and deserve.

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