Entry Level Job After Dropping Out of PhD Program Offers Low-Ball Salary, Complicated by Circumstance.

The difficult to match skill set criticism is easily reconciled if I list more successes than failures. I have a strong research record, though largely unpublished, a robust quantitative background in several fields, and demonstrated engineering leadership experience with a non-profit. My resume obviously does not highlight shortcomings as the post might.

Employers seem to not care much about publishing record for non-PhDs as far as I can tell. Merely getting into a program like mine is indicative of a selective skill set anyway. The startup, well, that's simply how things go, it's little to do with any individual's failure. You'll notice that a large portion of that year of unemployment was spent recovering from a very serious injury and appearing in court, eventually winning labor rights for 10,000+ people, but I understand that it's easy to dwell on the number. I realize that it appears like a list of excuses, but I was physically unable to do any work for many months. That said, the time may as well not exist, since its not a good thing to reveal to a potential employer.

I'm not convinced that not teaching PhDs how to get a job or negotiate contradicts the idea of interviewing well. Though the two overlap, interviewing has much more to do with merely getting along with someone and appearing competent to their satisfaction, while negotiation involves a give and take where the power dynamic is much different. Your recognizing the disparity between academia and industry underscores part of that difference. In large part, the skills one learns as a PhD student have to do with selling research and making convincing, data-driven arguments, albeit in relatively low stakes environments. That skill set, and indeed its value, is something that most who go through the process struggle.

I have already made clear with I bring to the table, and that's not what this discussion is intended to focus on. The issue at hand is how to negotiate a salary when there is potentially much more than meets the eye. Convince them of what I have to bring to the table? Easy enough. I have obviously not sold myself here the same way I might to an employer.

Maybe think of it this way: promising young scientist suffers crippling accident and stands up for workers rights after being denied coverage for the injury. Now, absent PhD, seeks work, but fears consequences of the handicap and legal fallout. With a few offers, some pay more, is a low ball offer a tactic by a potential employer? Do they seek to leverage what might be considered an undesirable past?

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