Who Should You Work For?

Many graduate students and post-docs are looking at non-academic career alternatives, and the opportunities abound. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, fewer than half of all PhDs will hold tenure-track positions.  But life outside the academy can be hugely rewarding and PhDs can find jobs in development, marketing, sales support, administration or management that go beyond bench work or basic research.  And there are a wide variety of jobs in different types of companies: for profit, non-profit, industry, government, military, consulting and on and on.

What’s the best place for you? People look for different things in a job: one person might want to change the world, while another just wants a paycheck.  What do you want out of a job?I put together an online questionnaire based on Tamara Erickson’s “archetypes of work-related passions” from her book Plugged In (Harvard Business Press: 2008).  (I have changed some of the questions and renamed her personality categories.) By taking the quiz you can determine your work personality and get suggestions about what kinds of organizations are compatible with your work style.

It’s a short quiz and should only take you about five minutes to complete.  When you’re done you’ll see your score and links to the kinds of organizations where you’ll best fit in.

Take the quiz now…

About the author: Doug Kalish is an educator, consultant and serial entrepreneur with a PhD in biology who has founded or been an early executive in four companies.  In the summer of 2011, he began “dougsguides” to help college students make the transition from academia to the business world.  He now devotes most of his time touring college campuses spreading the dougsguides message. 



  • On March 23, 2013