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Careers after PhD. – 4 Career Options We Bet You Never Knew.
I imagine myself working for multiple hours a day with a dreadful daily commute of travelling from office to home. Then repeating the same every day. This always made me think that there should be an alternate way to live my life in a better way. And this is why, I thought why put myself in the daily routine of frustration and anger, too when there are many options available for an alternative lifestyle?
I wonder how many of these kinds of emotions and lifestyles relate to you. Then, do not worry, I have come up with an alternate lifestyle for you, known as, Portfolio Career. It is a great option as you get an opportunity to make your work life driven by your passion and interests. It will develop a blended working lifestyle which can provide variety, freedom, choice, meaning and fulfilment to constantly learn new things.
Thus, one day I planned to reorganise and restructure my thinking to plan for a higher vision, to grow horizontally and vertically together than just aim for the top of the ladder.
I also learned from the work of Charles Handy, CBE(an Irish Author and philosopher specialising in Organisational behaviour and management). He was the originator of the concept and term “Portfolio worker”.
Isn’t it amazing?
“This is fantastic- you do not have to have a job, there are other choices as well.”
This is what attracted me to start a Portfolio Career. This means you have the choice to drive income from different skills, talents, attributes, passions, and interests. But, the sad part is that most people do not adopt it as the thought of changing careers frightened the living daylights out of most people. But with research, I decreased my fear of falling down.
I shifted my focus from a fixed to a growth mindset, which allowed me to be receptive to other possibilities.
Finally, I started my Portfolio career, it goes like this…
Honestly speaking, I tell people based on my experiences and life.
In 2015, I completed my PhD in Entrepreneurship from IIM Indore.
I taught as full-time and visiting faculty at a couple of institutes, did a little bit of research, presented my research papers at renowned conferences like the Academy of Management, and then one day I quit academia to follow my heart to find the purpose or meaning of my life.
I started two ventures (Inkpothub and Drive On My Own) to satiate my innate desire to create something meaningful. The ventures have their own purpose and are governed by passion.
I am still teaching, doing a little bit of research with friends, enjoying pep talks on different occasions, pursuing my entrepreneurial career, and creating content through two YouTube channels.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I used to get confused. What should I call myself?
I have been doing multiple things to make a difference. (My Careers after PhD)
- A professor
- A researcher
- An entrepreneur/ social entrepreneur
- A trainer
- A YouTuber
I wasn’t sure what to tell people until I read these three books
- Jeff Goins’s The Art of Work
- David Corbett’s Portfolio Life: The new path to work, purpose, and passion after 50
- Gracia and Miralles’s Ikigai
This I call the dawn of my Portfolio Career. So, just think about a lifestyle where Fridays are equal fun to Mondays.
Till now, when I look back and find myself attending the workshop classes at ISB Mohali, I find myself figuring out what to do next, but now it is going great. I was imagining how I will manage my finances and everything, but with an ample amount of research, I found the answer to most of my questions(basic).
Over the years, my career has strengthened with a portfolio career. It evolved so that you gravitate towards things that you enjoy the most and you are best at. Thus, it is a continual learning and self-discovery process. This also helped me develop my personal brand.
My LinkedIn profile will show you that all my work is linked to each other but they differ in their branding and strategies, which you can see from the case studies of the few researchers listed below:
- You can teach along with writing some good stuff
This is the obvious career choice. 98% of scholars after their PhD. land up in academia and teach along with research and administrative responsibilities. They teach, write papers, cases & books, engage in consultancy work for corporates & governments, train managers through various management development programs, and do institution-building activities as an integral role.
I have interacted with many professors through Inkpothub who are primarily teachers and they are great researchers, book and case-writers, and administrators.
- Prof. Shaphali Gupta is a PhD from IIT Bombay, currently working as a professor of marketing at MICA. She is a star researcher and co-chairing the Ph.D. program at MICA.
- Prof. Nishant Uppal is a Ph.D. from IIM Indore and currently working as an Associate Professor of OB at IIM Lucknow. He has written quite a few popular books and he is also publishing in good journals.
- I recently interacted with Prof. Neena Sondhi. She is an award-winning case writer, a profound administrator, and a professor of marketing at IMI Delhi.
- You can advance your Ph.D. research through post-doctorate options.
I have also observed that very few Ph.D. scholars opt for post-doctorate positions within three years of their Ph.D. to continue their research. They joined post-doc positions in international universities, published, and got international exposure and peer group.
- You can go for your second Ph.D. if not post-doctorate.
I know this is quite different and an off-beat decision, but I have seen a few scholars from good Indian institutes IIM Bangalore and EDI Ahmedabad going for their second Ph.D. from foreign universities. They wanted to get better exposure in terms of international research culture and jobs in the international market. Dr. Anish Menon and Dr. Raj Shankar shared the reasons behind their choices.
4. You can start your consultancy firm full-time and teach/ write books and popular articles
Dr. Pavan Soni wrote a very interesting book on Design Thinking based on his corporate consulting experience. He completed his Ph.D. from IIM Bangalore in Strategy Area. His Ph.D. led to Inflexion Point (his consultancy firm) and which led him to write his first book.
5. You can start an entrepreneurship journey along with a full-time professorship.
I have some interesting observations in recent times. Institutes like IITs and Thapar University have Faculty-led enterprises. Faculties’ research revolves around innovation and technology, and then they work towards commercialization of the viable solutions.
6. You can follow your heart and start your independent journey to follow your passion.
Like I did. I created a path for myself that is less travelled, and it made all the difference. I created Inkpothub and Drive On My Own.
7. You can work in the corporate sector
Many Industries these days look for research candidates who can provide valuable insights into the industry after analysis. Recently we found that if you wish to work as a Research analyst with PhD in Economics, then you can get it easily. It’s a highly demanding role available at this time.
Those are three powerful skills for the future: 1. Analytical Thinking; 2. Statistics and 3. How incentives work.
In old days, one out of 7 PhD (Eco) has been hired by a Tech firm. The hires can use the data sets of the tech firms to pursue their research. They don’t need to worry about the “publish or perish” principle of universities.
Inkpothub is India’s first digital platform that celebrates and enriches a researcher’s journey.
I founded ‘Drive On My Own’- a social enterprise for people with reduced mobility. It is a social enterprise that works for people with reduced by making a car driving and owning experience seamless. Drive On My Own reflects me and my journey towards freedom and independence.
And as a result of my passion, I have started making a positive difference in the lives of others, I have helped to transform the lives of thousands of people with my career and research.
I feel proud to have Inkpothub with ……
And, ‘On my own’ with …………
The same career you can follow for yourself, by checking on the following points:
Working for Passion, Pleasure and Profit (The 3P’s)
Once you realise your purpose “why” for wanting to do something then that becomes your “key driver” and “call to action”.
Re-evaluating why you need a ‘traditional job’?
In this process, you give yourself a chance to step away from the uncertainty of needing to have a “traditional job”.
Reframing your perspective
This will help you identify what you are passionate about together with your interests and strengths. By combining these to take positive action and utilising your networks, you will find the rest will fall into place. In the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I found that ‘profits are better than wages.
Find your happy place and remember it is going to be an emotional roller-coaster ride. There could be many twists and turns and unexpected highs and lows
Redesigning your thinking towards your passion
- Find a passive income source.
- Find Professional Development source
- Find Part-time and Full-time employment
- Family and Friends
- Interim Management
- Leisure and well-being
- Non-paid voluntary tasks
Reinventing work and lifestyle
It is all about balancing your portfolio, marketing, collaborations, paying your dues etc.
I am waiting for that Eureka Moment for you as well…
To summarise, here is my key list of success criteria:
- Attitude of gratitude
- Having ownership of my time
- Location freedom- flexibility of working
- Financial abundance
- Leveraging my time
- Healthy work-life balance
- Investing in assets each month
- Inspiring and enriching people’s lives
- Living the dream and not chasing the dream
Other examples of Portfolio Careers are:
It is just like “ Going into a sweetshop and rather than buying one type of sweet, how much more exciting was it to go to the ‘pick and mix counter and choose the one you really wanted?
- PF1: Business Performance Coach, colleague, friend
- PF2: Careers Expert, LinkedIn Marketer, International connector, Talent Acquisition
- PF3: Leave your current job and go for starting your business
- PF4: Corporate Executive to a self-employed person
- PF5: Business with Research
- PF6: Faculty with other businesses
- PF7: Part-time jobs
- PF8: Research with other multinational companies
- Find one key strand that initially allows you to secure and guarantee regular work. This will help you cover most of your bills and allow you to focus and develop other income strands. But, now, we have very less pressure on making one thing a success. However, the anchor was invaluable, to begin with.
- Work on your mindset. Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right. Work on resilience and conditional formatting.
- Managing balanced Portfolio
- Be honest with yourself
- Collaborate with known and trusted people