Getting A Doctorate Degree Instead Of A Fancy Tech Job

Education is the key to freedom for all of us. Therefore, I've made the decision to pursue a doctorate degree instead of seeking a fancy tech job. Specifically, I plan to earn a Doctorate in Business Administration with a focus on real estate from UC Berkeley.

Considering my MBA from UC Berkeley in 2006, my ownership of various types of real estate since 2003, my extensive writing about real estate, and my deep passion for the subject, I thought, why not?

One of life's goals is to discover our ikigai, our reason for being. I believe I've found mine through this program at Cal.

There is a structural housing shortage in America that I'm committed to addressing through policy proposals. Housing is a fundamental need, and by increasing the availability of affordable housing, we can enhance financial security and stability in our country.

The challenge lies in determining the most effective incentives to achieve this goal. My hope is getting this doctorate degree will give me the time and resources to solve such an important problem.

The Original Plan Was To Get A Job In Big Tech

Since 2022, I've been striving to secure a position at a major tech company such as Meta, Google, Microsoft, or Apple. With my daughter beginning full-time school in September 2024, I've been planning ahead for the transition. Once she's in school, there will be a void to fill.

Recognizing that I haven't held a W2 job since 2012, I understood that finding a well-paying job after such a long absence from the workforce would be quite challenging. Therefore, I reasoned that a two-and-a-half-year job search would be sufficient to secure one of these lucrative multiple six-figure positions.

In 2023, I reached out to my pickleball friend who works at Google, along with her boyfriend, to see if they could assist me. Fortunately, they did and made some introductions. Their lifestyle, playing pickleball on weekdays between 10 am – 1 pm or 2 pm – 6 pm, inspired me to pursue a role at Google.

Their example led me to believe that the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is becoming obsolete for many knowledge workers. After all, if you have the flexibility to work from home and play, why bother with early retirement? Just continue to make as much money as possible while enjoying a great life!

Couldn't Get A Job In Big Tech

Unfortunately, securing a job at Google and Meta is exceptionally challenging. Not only do I lack the relevant tech experience, but I'm also in my mid-40s, old for someone taking a mid-level job. My window of opportunity to help optimize user engagement is closing fast!

However, perhaps the most significant obstacle in my job search was the fact that both companies were undergoing significant layoffs, a situation that persists.

For instance, Google recently underwent another round of layoffs in March 2024. My friend received two months of WARN Act pay, 14 weeks of pay plus an additional week of pay for each year he was there (nine years), along with 300 hours of PTO accrual as part of his severance package. While not a bad deal, with foresight, he might have been able to negotiate two weeks of pay per year.

In my attempt to break into the tech industry, I also applied to several artificial intelligence firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as Anthropic, OpenAI, and Databricks. Despite having little to offer these companies, I felt it was worth applying to avoid any future regrets.

If my children inquire in twenty years why I didn't work in AI during its early stages, I can at least tell them that I made an effort. Here's one of the rejection emails I'll show them for proof. It's undeniably challenging to re-enter the job market after years of retirement.

A Doctorate Degree As A Great Solution

Back in 2012, the year I departed from finance, I contemplated pursuing a PhD in the arts or securing a journalism fellowship at Stanford University.

I distinctly recall sitting in on a Master's degree class in journalism, where the professor taught her students how to utilize WordPress, the content management system I operate on Financial Samurai. It was then that I realized further education in writing or journalism wasn't for me, especially since I had been managing Financial Samurai since 2009.

Furthermore, I didn't feel financially affluent enough to pursue a doctorate degree. When I left my job, my gross passive income amounted to $80,000 annually, which was comfortable for an individual living in San Francisco, but far from wealthy.

I also didn't believe we were financially secure enough for my wife to retire early. Consequently, we made a pact that if circumstances improved three years later, by the time she turned 35, she too could retire early after negotiating a severance package. She successfully did in 2015.

The World Changed And Delayed My Doctorate Degree Plans

After my wife left her day job in 2015, we embarked on even more travels around the world. Who had time to pursue a doctorate degree when freedom awaited? Then, in 2017, we welcomed our first child, followed by another in 2019.

Soon after, the pandemic struck. It was a challenging time, but we made the most of it by embracing our roles as stay-at-home parents and homeschool teachers.

Amidst all this, I also embarked on writing a bestselling book titled Buy This Not That, totaling 110,000 words. I figured, if the government was going to lock us down for who knew how long in 2020, I was determined to make the most of a suboptimal situation.

Buy This Not That Book Reviews

Getting Into A Doctoral Program

Buy This Not That includes three chapters on real estate, which caught the attention of admissions directors at Cal. Despite my average grades and unremarkable test scores, they found my real-world experience to be unique compared to other candidates.

Furthermore, writing a popular book with a top publisher and imprint carries significant weight in academic circles. After all, academics often adhere to the motto “publish or perish.”

A PhD thesis (or dissertation) typically ranges from 60,000 to 120,000 words (equivalent to 100 to 300 pages). The admissions directors and professors expressed confidence in my ability to complete my dissertation, given that it seemed like I had already completed one.

Finally, Financial Samurai possesses a vast amount of historical and real-time behavioral finance data, as it receives approximately one million pageviews per month.

They let me in! My dream of being addressed as doctor took one step closer to reality.

Finally Rich Enough To Get A Doctorate Degree Now

Thankfully, since 2012 when I first entertained the idea of pursuing a PhD, we've experienced a robust bull market. My net worth has grown along with the rise in stock and real estate prices. Consequently, I finally feel financially secure enough to pursue higher education again!

It's ironic how one must feel rich to afford spending 4-7 years pursuing a PhD. Unless you're entering fields like quant trading, data analytics, or AI, PhD holders don't necessarily earn significantly higher salaries.

Pursuing a doctorate degree is primarily driven by a passion for learning, with financial gain taking a back seat. Thankfully, I love to learn and to teach. If I didn't, I wouldn't have written over 2,300 articles on Financial Samurai since its founding in 2009.

Earnings and unemployment rates by education attainment, how much do doctoral degree holders make versus master's degree, bachelor's degree, associate degree, high school

The Allure Of Becoming A Professor

Perhaps one day, I could secure a tenure track position as a professor at a top 50 university. After all, being a professor is one of the best occupations for income and status. People respect professional educators, especially parents.

Then there's the money side of things. Think about Sam Bankman-Fried's parents, law professors at Stanford, who are able to afford a $15 million vacation property in the Bahamas on a professor’s salary! Sign me up for that. But instead of the Bahamas, I'd buy my mansion in Hawaii, my favorite place on Earth.

Getting A Doctorate Degree Instead Of A Fancy Tech Job! - Being a professor can afford you a nice house in the Bahamas like Sam Bankman-Fried's parents
One of the bedrooms at Sam Bankman-Fried's parents' house in the Bahamas

Many of my peers who write finance books under the same imprint as mine (Portfolio Penguin) are professors, such as Cal Newport (Georgetown), Adam Grant (U Penn), and Scott Galloway (NYU). Some literary agents even say Portfolio Penguin is the “Harvard of non-fiction imprints.”

I understand the challenges as a non-white individual in gaining recognition as a writer and securing tenure, as the majority tends to favor their own. It's a matter of simple math, really. Even if only 12% of a 60% majority support you, that 7.2% still outweighs 100% from your 7% minority population.

However, I like to remain optimistic and ask myself, why not me too? Why not Dr. Sam at UC Berkeley, Stanford, or Santa Clara University? Believing in yourself is the first step towards success!

Let The Journey To Enlightenment Begin

I'm eager to embark on this new journey starting in the fall of 2024. My goal is to obtain my doctorate degree by June 2028. Although getting a doctoral degree may delay my goal to regain financial independence by January 2029, I think it's worth a shot.

I hope that by witnessing their old man studying and working diligently on his academics, my children will be inspired to take their academics seriously too. As a parent, leading by example is one of the most effective ways to motivate our children.

Financially, I anticipate earning approximately $40,000 a year as a research assistant or teaching assistant in my second or third year. However, given my experience, I may secure a job as early as the first year.

As for tuition, it's covered except for some nominal student fees totaling less than $3,000 a year. Berkeley has tremendous alumni benefactors who help support graduate work. I'll be residing in San Francisco and commuting several days a week to meet with my advisors.

I'm thrilled to embark on this new journey and share it with all of you. I'll continue to publish at least twice a week on Financial Samurai. However, I may reduce the frequency of my newsletters to every two weeks and my podcast episodes (Apple and Spotify) to once a month to accommodate my studies and research.

Thank you, everyone, for your readership! It's been a wonderful journey since 2009. Let's strive to make each day better than the last. Happy April 1.

Reader Questions

Do any of you have a doctorate degree? If so, what is your field of study, how long did it take to complete, and what is your income level? Did you receive funding for your doctorate degree? Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Given the current state of inflation, how do young adults manage to afford the time and expense required to pursue a Ph.D. these days? In a sense, I see parallels between this dilemma and the decision between young adults and older adults having children. Each path comes with its own set of challenges, as well as advantages and disadvantages.

57 thoughts on “Getting A Doctorate Degree Instead Of A Fancy Tech Job”

  1. Wow! I’ve got so much to add having completed a Ph.D. in business (marketing emphasis) from a top program myself. But it’s a crazy enough idea that I can’t tell if this is an April fool’s joke.

  2. Oh my god my comment keeps getting erased as my browser keeps refreshing.

    But sam, you got me on this one as I read this 12 days late and didn’t know it was published on April 1st. I just thought in my head “no way…”

  3. dunningfreakingkruger

    S-DAWG was going to hire an Au Pair one year. Another year he was going to sell FS. Yet another he was going to buy a mansion is Hawaii. These articles always appear on April 1st. And now he is going to get his PhD. Puh-leeze!

    I might need to figure out a way to place a bet somewhere speculating what tom foolery Sam will pen out next year? Buying a million dollar ticket for space exploration? Trying his hand at stock car racing? Establishing his own professional pickle ball league with TV rights on ESPN deuce? Going to culinary school to reduce eating cost long term and opening his own restaurant? And SDAWG was unable to get hired at a tech firm? Puh-leeze!

    Keep up the most excellent work!

  4. Dylan James

    Hey Sam,

    Great article as always. You got me good at the end with the April Fool’s joke, especially now that I am seeing this post a few days after the fact.

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing an expense/income breakdown of a PhD graduate compared to someone in the skilled trades (ie. IBEW).

    I always had ambitions to be a CPA in my earlier years, followed by my MBA and eventually a PhD depending on my circumstances. However, I took the unconventional path to get my electrical red seal and decide if I want to go back to school after that point.

    Fast forward to today, my base rate is $67/hr not including benefits, pension, double time, and tax free living allowance. It works out to around $24k a month gross. I also have the freedom to take time off whenever, but it’s hard to pass up the money sometimes.

    Maybe I’m an anomaly but I just wanted to share, as I’m sure you have a few outliers in a similar situation as me, trying to decide if it’s worth going back to school for something new.

    Dylan

  5. Sam,
    My friend I have been following you for well over a decade. I love everything you have ever written and I have taken a lot of practical advice from you. I am your RE big sis and just hit the big 51. I have been in real estate, (everything to include agent, broker, wholesaler, flipper, investor and now developer), and I have done all of this with a full time career in defense. However, I did leave the defense industry for about 4 years to concentrate fully on RE. When I did in 2006, two years later the 2008 recession hit. Thank goodness, I had a fall back plan and went back to work. I chose to keep my dual career since 2011 and it has definitely payed off.

    As I approach 29 years in defense (great salary) and over 26 years in RE I am in a very good place. I am trying to decide, if I keep working, or pursue a PHD and teach some entrepreneurship real estate classes, or go work for a small company as a consultant. I am really exhausted and just want to have fun now.

    To keep my retirement from being decremented by .05 per year, I need to work for 6 more years. I don’t know if I can make it. My RE portfolio is sweet and I have 5 year plan to make it even sweeter.

    The only reason I am still working is that my job is my investor and I need it for my plan to work. We brought homes for each of our girls when they were very young so coupled with 529’s, and scholarships, they will be ok. Signed: Need a Break Sis

  6. No person on FIRE needs to go back to school for a Ph.D. degree so clearly Sam dropped an April’s Fool joke. Nevertheless, I will comment on this because I got one in my early life because it was necessary in my line of work (academia). Financially it got me behind in terms of income because never in my career I got to $100K but I loved what I did, enjoyed lots of free time we used for travel, personal enjoyment, and building steadily a portfolio of stocks and real estate. During that time our passive income grew steadily exceeding my take-home pay. I do not regret my choice and that free time left for hobbies and investing put us well beyond what we needed for comfortable retirement. If I could choose again I would do exactly the same with no regrets.

    1. Would you consider yourself an anomaly for getting a PhD and then making more in passive income than your day job? Because so far, the majority of PhD holders say they wouldn’t do it again, or it significantly hindered their financial progress.

      Do you still work? And if so, what did you do and what did you invest in? Thanks for the perspective!

      1. I am not sure why others think so. We have been avid savers all our life and we did very well financially investing in growth mutual funds, ETFs, and real estate. While working we both maximized 401k and 403b contributions. Actually, because I opted put of the compulsory university retirement plan I had both 401k and 403b at the same time which I filled to the hilt. We are retired now sitting near the top of the 32% bracket and able to invest 2-3x more than we did while working. Had I known that we would be receiving so much retirement income I would have used Roth 401k. That’s the only major financial mistake we have made. Getting an economics degree was not.

        1. I think it’s because there’s a longer delay in earning income due to the time required to get your PhD. Then the pigeonholing of roles and income not commensurate with the amount of time getting the education.

          How old are you and can you provide some net worth or passive income rough numbers? What is it that you do? Thanks

        2. There’s a whole community of doctor FIRE blogs out there made up of burned out doctors who don’t want to work so much anymore.

          1. PhDs and professional degrees such as MDs, DOs, DDS, JDs, PsyD, DNP, DVM, DPT, MBA, Podiatrist degree, optometry degree, audiology degree etc. are totally different. The former is typically free of charge with scholarship/assistantship but without a solid graduate date (totally depends on the advisor) while the latter charge a hell of tuition and are a fixed number of years with a very clear path forward. PhDs are geared towards academia and technical heavy roles (R&D etc.) with no guarantee of higher income. Professional degree holders have to earn a high income because of the cost of the degrees.

  7. Hi Sam. I am just curious to what your MBTI is? I think you are an INFJ, am i correct? I ve been a follower of FS for many years and always felt like i was a reading posts from a twin brother from the west coast. I am the same age as you and also transitioning in searching for my life calling, my life purpose.

    One thing i was always curious about you is your faith. Are you a Christian?

      1. INFJs personality types are rare. Only 1.5% of the men and 2.0% women have this personality trait. They have a genuine desire to help others and continue to strive to self actualize. I is introverted, N is intuition, F is Feeler, J is Judging (Organized and Orderly). Your Intelligence and Wisdom is in the Real Practical World, not in Academia (PhD) Theorical World.

  8. Yes, in STEM field (non-CS, non-biomedical fields).

    For STEM PhDs, they are typically awarded tuition waiver and a living stipend ~35k (RA or TA) in addition to thesis work (most of the time the RA work is the thesis work in STEM fields, but not in social science fields). Theoretically that should be sufficient for an individual to survive. However, 35k would not go very far especially when the graduate students go to schools in expensive areas or have a young family etc. On the other hand, most foreign graduate students survive this stipend without taking huge US loans since they couldn’t and they don’t usually have any student loans from foreign universities. But for US undergraduates who get in graduate school with over 10k student loans either from undergraduate or master studies, graduate school stipend won’t help much in paying off the student loans and that would grow real fast in the 4, 5, 6 years or more that take the student to finally obtain the PhD degrees. That is a big financial hit for doing PhDs if you have student loans.

    For STEM PhDs, the most important thing is the PhD advisor (school and department come second), who basically determines when you would graduate (ranging from 3 to 7 years, and I heard social science fields take even longer). The last thing you want is a toxic advisor that would ruin your efforts and careers. This is more commonly seen among foreign graduate students who are limited by student visas and subject to more abuses. US students don’t have that limitation, so if they don’t like it they could always quit and find a job or something else.

    In STEM fields, few PhDs stay in academia due to the super harsh competition and low pay, you basically need to graduate from a famous group with good relationship with the big shots and a few rounds of postdocs making 50k to 60k in prestigious groups to have a shot to be a tenure track faculty in a semi-decent place. In other fields, like business or social sciences or even art/music, PhD degree holders end up in academia, government or other non-profit, since there are few industrial positions available. Other job options for STEM PhDs are industrial technical roles, with the most lucrative ones in big techs for CS/data science PhDs, or those in hard math/physics that end up in Wall Street doing Quant/risk work. The starting salaries would be higher simply because of the years of education and technical expertise though later income potential depends on individuals and fields.

    If my kids want to do a PhD, I would tell them the following: 1. Know why you want to do it, any passion for a specific research topic? What are your career goals with a PhD? Do some industrial interns to see the real world before jumping into a PhD fresh out of college. 2. Pick an advisor who is sincere and nice and willing to help students grow but not just try to enslave the students for their grant money. So talk to previous graduates from that group is critical. If the advisor is famous but a total dick head, don’t do it. Not worth it. 3. Finish it within 5 years and have some fun. No degree is worth sacrificing physical and mental health. 4. Social science and music PhDs are really for people with leisure and money since there are no job prospects except for the lucky few. Unless you find a patron like the old days, there is no point in doing it. I have seen so many social science PhD stay home parents and music PhDs teaching as free lancers in several different places to make ends meet.

    1. Also STEM PhDs in technical roles especially R&D in global corporations in North America face the challenges of potential outsourcing to India, China, South America etc. as cost reductions by the companies. The companies rather pay half or a third of the salaries to hire local STEM PhDs in China, India or South America with huge human resource advantages to do similar work. So a basic understanding of how corporations operate could also help before committing 4 or 5 years of your best years to simply get a PhD. PhD is a tool not the goal.

    2. For Sam, you have no debt and have a big net worth, so doing a PhD you like would not be a financial burden. Kind of like finding something interesting to do. If that PhD after 4 or 5 years leads to some teaching or just simply a degree in a frame, that would be interesting life experience. When I retire, I may go do a museum or archeology PhD for the fun of it, but that may mean not enough time to play pickle ball!

  9. Buddhist Slacker

    Super excited to hear that you are going to put your creativity to solving the affordable housing crisis! If anyone can do it it’s you! Getting a doctorate is the perfect synergistic solution. You’re right about the incentives. It’s all about the incentives.

  10. My best wishes for your doctorate work and teaching.
    Maybe something on related on economic viability of converting commercial office bldgs. to residential and all the issues, demographics of who lives in such housing and differences in policies across multiple countries. :)

    Teaching will not make you rich. So as long as you know that. PhD and teaching undergrad and research in some engineering disciplines can be alright. I have a BIL who is that in engineering sciences U of Toronto for past 3 decades.

    A nephew did his PhD in biochem. @harvard. Yes, a Canadian. He is in medical school, ’cause having a MD makes it easier to apply/land medical grant funding for research…at least according to him. He has 2 young girls. His wife is a pediatrician

  11. I finished my PhD in epidemiology in 2018 after 6 years, and the experience was definitely not the romanticized (albeit tounge-in-cheek) experience represented by his post! I’m glad I did it, I enjoyed it more than I hated it, and it has opened up doors within the research field that I otherwise wouldn’t have had (and given my field, it also worked in my favor that the pandemic increased the visibility and to some extent job opportunities in epidemiology and adjacent fields). But I know more people who would speak more harshly about their experiences— and, if I knew what I know now before starting, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Definitely not the most direct path to financial independence, and it will probably harm your mental health! I work in health tech now in a position I otherwise wouldn’t be qualified for though… so it worked out.

    1. Well done! What are one or two things you know now that makes you say you wouldn’t have done it again?

      Not good for the mental health doesn’t sound good. Yikes. I wonder if it would have helped if you were already financially independent when you started your doctorate?

  12. Started my doctorate in psychology at 54. Had my consulting business pay for it on my corporate Amex-so pretax educational business expense. Tough going as every week there were assignments and papers for five years than dissertation-but glad I did it. The dream of acadamia is exactly that-a dream. It is now a grinding process-nothing like the old notions. Also ageism will mean that your opportunities there will be even more limited than tech and being an adjunct is soul sucking. Get a PhD for the journey not the destination.

  13. Great decision. I’ve done two of those but it was some time ago. Now my experience is as a supervisor. It is hard work but the one time you can truly explore your passions. And the benefit
    is not only the immediate knowledge and research skills.

    It also teaches you to work for a long time with no reward and makes you resilient and resourceful.

  14. Aghh! Sorry to hear you’ll be doing less of the podcasts. i was really enjoying those! But congratulations and good luck on the exciting news!

  15. Yes
    Biomedical Engineering
    4 years (did not do a masters, nor post-doc)
    Salary, bonus, and stock that vested this year, $300k+
    Funding – yes, no tuitition, and ~$20k stipend per year (as most in science and engineering get)

    I had difficulties socially in college and graduate school, and wish I had found the books that helped me sooner, but they weren’t published at the time. Instead though, I studied hard, took on leadership opportunities in the community, and did a lot of network.

    Today, I thoroughly enjoy my job and feel it taps all my strengths, though my wife complains I like my job more than my 3 crying daughters! While others have made it to my level without PhD, I think I got the best, most innovative projects because they knew I could learn fast.

  16. Gosh! What you wrote isn’t 100% April Fools. During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the number of grad school applications went up because some new grads could not find jobs or some people got laid off.

  17. Hi there,

    As it’s April Fools, I’m cautious about whether you’re kidding or not, haha.

    But if you’re not, congrats! I’ve been considering a PhD in the housing affordability space too, in Melbourne, Australia (course fees also covered!)

    So you’re making me feel slightly better about my yearnings. Assuming you’re not pranking..

  18. Good one. I got my phd while working full time for a defense contractor. All tuition paid by my company. Good salary and 401k benefits. It’s really the only affordable way to do a phd. Top number 1 program in my technical area at a well known university. Still I worked really hard to get my courses, candidacy exam, and research done. I have no regrets but I would have enjoyed traveling and having fun more had I not done this. I still got to live it up a little though so best of both worlds. This path is for those who are passionate about what they do enough to sacrifice higher paying jobs, hobbies, more active social life, etc. It didn’t feel like a tough choice at the time. More of a of course I would love to do this! It was hard wired in. It would have been a big no though if I had to pay, stop my career, and give up any income. Why people do this I have no idea. Let someone else pay for graduate school!

  19. Martha Broadbent

    Best wishes on your new journey Sam. You can only get better at this point, by gaining more knowledge. Thank you again, for all your insightful recommendations for the average retail investors. I have been following your weekly newsletters for probably 3-4 years now, and although my spouse and I are in the FIRE mode, we continue to learn from your newsletters. Thank you and aloha (my husband was born and raised in Kaneohe.

  20. Happy April 1! But seriously, many?/most? universities offer free or discounted tuition to the children of staff. I thought that was going to be your play!! That has a terrific present value!

  21. Hmm, last week you’re trying to save $90 on a gym membership and today your gonna get a PhD. I forget, what’s the date today?

    1. Financial Samurai

      The PhD program is free thanks to wealthy benefactors and alumni. One of the best ways for rich people to give back!

      1. I hear you. I hit the powerball last week and my new girlfriend, Sydney Sweeney and I are trying to figure out what to do with all the extra money. Maybe we’ll donate to the cause.

      2. I am just learning the possibility of fully-funded PhD’s thanks to this post. It is INCREDIBLE what is out there that people don’t think about or take advantage of. I don’t know if this is a serious post, but that is a very serious piece of information that I did not have before! So thank you!!

        1. Fully funded fellowships are available to those with stellar transcripts, letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, and they should have already co-authored papers. Teaching assistantships are available for higher rated students with less qualifications – these require the graduate students to work a certain percentage of time. Room & board are typically the responsibility of the student. Many PhD applications are due in December to be considered for funding assistance. The national day, at least in the USA, to accept guaranteed offers is April 15.

          This message brought to you by a dad who just went through all of this.

  22. Very funny, and although it is a joke it is illustrative of the pattern that your good advice of restraint and financial prudence when it comes to car buying consistently does not carry over to your analysis of the insane cost of higher education.

  23. Thanks for sharing Sam and all the best in achieving your doctorate. If you’re looking for thesis ideas, you could potentially explore the feasibility and side effects of re-zoning depressed commercial properties into future affordable housing.

    1. It’s a good idea! Maybe we can get a federal government subsidies to help with the conversion process.

      The interesting thing is, employers, who do not mandate working in the office are the main reason for the hollowing out of downtown‘s everywhere. I’m sure there can be incentives in place to encourage employers to get their workers back in the office.

  24. Tech is a tough place to be these days. People who’ve been able to hang on to their jobs and have seniority at a big firm are lucky to be doing well. Even still it’s hard not to feel like a sitting duck because you just don’t know when your name will get drawn in the next round of layoffs. It also takes a lot of resilience for entry-level employees not to get discouraged with so many positions getting slashed constantly for the last several years. It’s so important to network, apply aggressively, and keep your job skills fresh these days to keep your head in the game.

    Congrats on the PhD pursuit. Sounds like an adventure that’s right up your alley. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  25. At first I thought this was an April Fool’s Day prank. But clearly it’s a legitimate article. I think this is a great idea for Sam and many of the rest of us who have reached financial independence at a young enough age where we can still learn new things and pursue topics we are interested in.

    1. It does feel like a luxury to be able to focus on education as a parent. There’s no way I would do this in my 20s or 30s given the cost and the time.

      Even getting my MBA full-time was too much, so I did it part time for three years. It was so much work, but it saved me so much money and time as well.

  26. Both my wife and I have PhD from two top universities (will not disclose the names though!) One in Petroleum Engineering and the other in Physical Chemistry. Did it help us with our Jobs? Not really…. Though were fortunate enough to start our career in the oil industry at a higher entry level.

    In our personal opinion though, doctorate is more of a nicety and it tends to limit future opportunities. Two key aspects always act against doctorate. 1- Too focused in one area, 2- age!

    1. Congrats and thanks for the tips. Limiting to future opportunities could be right. Maybe if that happens, one can take off their PhD from the résumé. Then, once you got the job, you can updated and say surprise, and use it to argue for a future raise and promotion.

      1. Good plan…. :c) As long as companies don’t hold it against you for not disclosing your education level, you are good to go… :c)

  27. My daughter has a year to go(?) in getting her doctorate, Environmental biology. Public land usage in the West. Farmers vs Ranchers vs Environment vs Green Energy. College/Masters/PHd. 4+2+ two years working for environmental consulting firm+4 years doctorate. Educational expenses mostly funded by her parents. A combination of stipends from two grad schools supplemented by her parents. She got a large two year grant from the US Dept of agriculture for her final two years.

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