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One podcast that will give you hope and career advice (PhD required!)

What do an engineering manager of a high-tech company, a data scientist, and a digital evangelist share in common? About four years ago all three of them were freshly-baked PhDs making first steps from the familiar world of academia to the new and exciting world of industry and entrepreneurship. Luckily for them, they had a guide — a career coach and former assistant professor in Molecular Biology Dr. Tina Persson — who helped them along this journey with emotional support and pragmatic advice.  

Unfortunately, not all of us PhDs have a luxury of a career coach at all, in particular, a career coach who understands the mindset of people with doctoral degrees, the peculiarities of the academic system, and the hurdles of the transition to other fields. That is why Tina, together with three of her coachées at the time Michele Manzo, Paulius Mikulskis, and Maria Sjögren started a podcast that could be such a guide and “virtual coach” for PhDs around the world.

“We wanted to show others, who are in similar circumstances, that while their research topic and journeys are unique, the feelings and challenges they face are similar across everyone doing a PhD,” says Tina.

Two weeks ago we published the 100th episode of the PhD Career Stories. Since 2016 our team has been constantly growing, many wonderful people with and without PhD degree have been the driving force behind the project during these years. PhD Career Stories gave a platform to 76 speakers from over 20 countries to share their personal journeys and experiences. Through the four years, our episodes were downloaded almost 55.000 times! Fantastic result for a volunteer non-commercial project targeting such a narrow audience as PhD graduates.

Following the original idea, we planned to develop the PhD Career Stories into a rich source of comprehensive career information for PhDs. It should not only serve as a list of available career options, but also offer valuable tips on skills assessment,  job search, job interviews, networking, or how to “simply” stay sane. Besides, we wanted it to become a community:  each and every one of our speakers and team members is always open to answer questions or give career advice. 

But we have realized that the original “blog format” of our podcast website doesn’t serve the purpose of nourishing a community, and all the unique insights became buried and hard to find for our audience. So we need a renovation!

We decided to take a break from our regular publishing and redirect our resources into the re-organization of our website so that the available content is easier to access to our followers and newcomers. We are very excited to start this new stage of our project and cannot wait to get back to you next year with the comprehensive and neatly organized library of career information for PhDs. 

The stories will not end. We believe that storytelling – and storylistening – is a powerful way to connect with others and to find one’s own path in career and life. All the already published episodes will remain accessible, and we hope that after the break PhD Career Stories will continue bringing new episodes and encourage PhDs around the globe to make a step towards their dream job.

We would also like to thank all our contributors for their time and dedication, recording stories in busy city apartments and tents in the middle of the wild in Africa.

And, of course, thank you to all of the team members, past and present, without whom this project would not have been possible: Tina Persson, Michele Manzo, Paulius Mikulskis, Johanna Havemann, Alice Corani, Natalia Stolyarchuk, Suzan Mansourian, Rui Cruz, Subu Surendran Rajasekaran, Tiago Braga, Viralkumar Panchal, Amal El Nahhas, Marie Cleo Mahouva Massela, Anna Westerlund, Olesia Snezhkova, Karin Martinsson, Nika Seblova, Maria Sjögren.

Thank you for reading and see you in our next adventure!