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comment by veen
veen  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 8, 2017

For the past weeks I have been mulling over a very interesting PhD position, which came to a conclusion yesterday. Last Thursday I had an interview with professors because I was selected as one of the best five out of more than 50 applications. I had my reservations, and they had a bunch of good questions. My takeaway was that the position is about as good as a PhD position can get: a full ride, stipend and benefits, a nice faculty and plenty of collaborations and conferences to do. And I could probably pull it off, too, if I wanted to dive into it.


Over the weekend I came to the realization that I still felt an enormous barrier to say yes, even after most of my reservations had been resolved. If there's nothing wrong with the position and I still don't want to jump at the opportunity it's probably just not for me. I realized that I can do it but I didn't want it enough - I just couldn't get excited for the position. Maybe it's the narrowness of the topic that I like but don't love, maybe it's the prospect of four years of data juggling and insipid writing, or maybe it's because I still don't feel at home in this city. Probably a combination of the three.

So yesterday morning I wanted to contact the professor when I saw that he already tried to call me. Turns out that they already decided to give the position to someone else! I had the best application and they would've chosen me, were it not that one guy with a similar background had multiple years of experience in transportation modelling and data analysis over me. We came to the conclusion that a part-time PhD in a topic that I care more about would fit me much better. Maybe some day, who knows.

I'm also in talks with a bunch of companies. I have one offer in already, two more to come soon-ish. The common denominator in these conversations is bringing into focus what I think I want to do: innovating with geodata in urban problems, bridging the gap between technicians and urban planning experts. Over the last year I've already done that a few times in my consultancy gig and I'm starting to realize it's one of my best and most valuable skills. And I like doing it! Now I just gotta find the best spot to do that.

Right now I am working really hard (well, if I'm not on Hubski that is) on getting my thesis up to snuff. I need to hand it in before the next Pubski for my greenlight meeting that I have in two weeks. If it's good enough I will graduate just before Christmas. I've written 4 out of 6 chapters which was the bulk of the writing. I'm creating a ton of graphs and maps to visualize my results and sensitivity analysis. Praise the lawd for matplotlib and automated mapmaking...

steve  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I have one offer in already, two more to come soonish.


veen  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It is! I count my blessings. Having this leverage makes negotiations much easier, I hope.

steve  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I wish you the best of luck. I am the WORST in negotiations. It's definitely a blindspot for me. We should convince TNG to do a negotiatingwiththenewgreen series...

veen  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes please! It does feel like selling, but I'm selling myself.

My tactic so far (note that I am entirely improvising this) is to 1. get them to understand my value, 2. keeping the conversation on my terms (I want to be the one to make the final calls), and 3. to understand that information is the most valuable thing in a negotiation, especially any expectations about money and terms. Oh and to realize that an uncomfortable conversation now is worth the long term benefits every time. But who knows, I might panic if they play a tough game...

thenewgreen  ·  225 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Negotiate from a position of strength. If you have options, you have strength. That said, don't over-optimize. A lesson I have learned the hard way. Dont let perfect be the enemy of good. A good opportunity in the right hands can turn in to a perfect one.

Lots of platitudes here :)

Good luck my friend.