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Building A Career In 40's

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by Caughtinbetween, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Gold IL'ite

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    hi ,

    its been close to an year now that i am getting anxious about these thoughts so thought of putting it down here to get some perspective.

    i am 36 . i feel very anxious something like when your blood pressure shots up , i literally can feel it shoot up inside me when i think about it. it eats me that i don't have a career , not a job. i badly want to be in a well settled career when i reach my 40s . so many things come to my mind and then i spend few months researching about it and ultimately deciding that that particular line of work is not something i am interested in / not made for/not sustainable etc and again the cycle starts. i feel like i dont have anything substantial to show for myself for the past decade that has gone by and that feeling inside me kills me.

    by the time my 40th bday comes i want to see myself with two things :
    1: i would have finished a masters here in the U.S by my 38th year (this one is on track so i am not worried about it as such.)

    2: this one is what stresses me : on my 40th , i should have started a phd . i know 40's is late to still be studying for phd and then ideally looking for work based on it and its almost like i would be starting my career from the scratch . but is it realistic ? would there be enough opportunities and general acceptance to work force at that time (say at 43) or is it wishful thinking ? would i be able to build a decent career and also plan for retirement during the next 20y yrs ?

    i would be funding my masters from my savings and my phd through my job so basically i have to also save money for it in the next few years which is not impossible to do for atleast online phd but again i know online and on-campus is an entirely different experience and value so i also want to see if online is worth it ?

    both the masters and phd i plan are online only , going back to school full time is out of question now for me. i am into IT/programming but i dont want to do it well into the future , i am not very interested in coding but still does it. i am still planning masters in its related field only but phd i want to do in something that i am absolutely interested in something on the lines of cognition and human behavioral science . i wont be able to work in academia in terms of teaching so i would be most likely looking out for research/clinical studies / lab based works or working in corporates or hospital labs kind of setting etc . does this make sense ? how to convert this into a realistic achievable plan step by step. lets say by the time i am done with the phd i would be 42-43 would all this be sensible to help me work on something which makes me decently happy both in terms of career and getting a hold on my life. thank you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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  2. hrastro

    hrastro Finest Post Winner

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    Many people I know who are doing their PhDs are well into their 40s and 50s, so don't allow your blood pressure and heart rate to rise for this - you are still very young!

    Please concentrate on your Masters degree now, I am sure with the interdisciplinary studies being the buzzword today, you will definitely be able to combine your degree with Human Behavioural Science

    I see a lot of studies in Psychology, Human Behaviour, Human Computer Interaction, Cognitive Psychology from the AI point of view..

    1000s of online courses available - you can check out MOOC courses also. See what excites you and work on that !
     
  3. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Starting a PhD in the 40s is not unheard of. But you need to figure out why do you want to do a PhD. Will a Masters's not enough for your career goals? I am not sure about your discipline but in my discipline, a PhD is usually 4-6 years, more towards the 6-year timeline. Again, it varies from discipline to discipline but an online degree is a risk that only you can figure out.

    Instead of stressing about having a career by 40, I would suggest that you sit down with your MS advisor/mentor and discuss your career path. Make a plan for the achievable goals and strategy to actually achieve them. They may advise you to take some additional courses to help achieve your career goals. Once you have identified your goals and have a solid strategy, your path will be clear and you will be moving in the right direction even if it takes a year or two longer than your plan now.
     
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  4. Angela123

    Angela123 Gold IL'ite

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    OP,
    You need to find a mentor. Because the path you are choosing is a tedious one, a mentor will be able to hold your hand when you need it and advise you "not like an advisor". This will help a lot. Do your due diligence on getting started with the PhD, I have seen people combining masters and PhD into one program to save time. In my line of work PhD is 3-6 years, this is not part time. It took me 4.5 years and I was lazy a lot, while H in a completely different discipline took 5 years. Also, a good advisor is often pivotal for successfully moving forward and plenty of self motivation with every decision. However, everyone's case is different.

    Age is not a big deal when it comes to masters or PhD, so dont worry about that!
     
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  5. Vedhavalli

    Vedhavalli Platinum IL'ite

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    You can do it.
    Pls focus on studying and completing the masters and PhD. Age never matters, my grandmother used to say 'Goddess Saraswathi keeps learning though she is Goddess of knowledge '.
    We all wish you with our heart. Go get it girl!
     
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  6. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Gold IL'ite

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    thank you @Vedhavalli for the encouraging words.
    thanks @hastro , @Angela123 and @nuss .
    i completely agree that a very good career can be built on the basis of masters alone or even less.
    currently my stream is more kind of cloud big data analytics field. but i dont want to continue doing this well into the next decade though i agree after enough experience you can earn very well in it.
    i want to do phd after masters only for my personal satisfaction and feeling of accomplished personally , i have dreamed of doing this forever, i mean pursuing a career in the field of my phd area . it will give me a different kind of happiness.
    i have been researching about online masters since last year and half and exploring individual courses that would count towards masters and am kind of ok with the risk in terms of time , efforts and money i am putting into it .
    however i am completely unsure about online phd's. because i cant go unemployed for 4-5 yrs that it may take to finish i am not able to decisively go forward.
    i have found few places which offer non-terminal masters with thesis which would count towards phd so i am also gathering some more information about it yet. finding a suitable mentor has been a challenge that i am still struggling with . i am sure it would help a lot to clarify things for me but somehow i could not find any yet , i usually try on linkedin or some groups of the ongoing masters cohort.
    thank you so much.
     
  7. Flyhigher

    Flyhigher Silver IL'ite

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    If you really want it and really interested in it, just go for it and it's absolutely not too late.
    One of my friend was a registered nurse and she got retired and after her retirement she did her PhD in Nursing from UCF at 65.

    If you are going to pursue a PhD for the love of the subject matter and your goal is the journey and not the destination then this may be the right reason and then your age is no problem as long as you are able to finance the PhD.

    If you are working try checking with your company for any tuition reimbursement programs.
    I want to mention few things. Choose wisely Universities and the course because for lot of universities online programs just like a business and the quality of the education decreases and lot of the times the one who teaches online class will not be the prof one who teaches the regular full time one, and few universities does not keep any cap limit for the class/course so it will be jam packed.
    Try looking for which offers combination like online+once in a week or month in-person. Also check with your local university does it offers any part time one.

    Good Luck to you. :)
     
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  8. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    OP- If doing a PhD is your dream, go for it!

    I would suggest you a few things: Most (if not all) PhD programs in the USA provide Teaching or Research Assistantship that can vary from program to program and the uni. to uni but most will be in a range of 25-35k per year. Your tuition will also be covered and the PhD students get health insurance so the 25-35k becomes 60-70k with all included. All of the areas you suggested in your previous post fell under National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. You can apply for GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program) to get funding for your PhD. You can apply for GRFP multiple times before starting a PhD program but once you are in a program you will have only one chance.

    The reason I suggested that you find an advisor (mentor is hard to find because you have to build the relationship over time) who can help you navigate the MS/PhD programs and eligible assistantships etc. Is there a university in your city that you would be interested in working at? If yes, you can meet the Graduate program coordinator or Director and ask them all the general questions you have. You can then find the program/department you are interested in and talk to their graduate coordinator for program-specific questions and start meeting with faculty whose work interests you. A PhD is more than just a degree. You want to find mentors who will guide you throughout the career, meet new people, network, and be an expert in your chosen field!

    Good luck!
     
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  9. Angela123

    Angela123 Gold IL'ite

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    What @nuss said is exactly right! That second paragraph step by step of is what I did. One difference was that our Uni had a program who work out side the uni sign up for a mentor program. interested grad students could sign up too and you will be assigned a mentor. While mine was minimally involved with my research and personal activities, H's mentor was pretty much like family. Even some assistant professors had mentors!
     
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  10. Tubinbataye

    Tubinbataye Silver IL'ite

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    When I was doing my masters,I had a 45years old classmate. That was her second masters degree. She always felt that she couldnt match to our enegry, we always boost her up and support each other and all of us passed out with flying colors.Now she is well settled in a reputed MNC. And ready for her PhD.
    Try to relax the inner voice and enjoy the journey :)
     

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