Did I sell my soul?

If you are a regular to my blog and/or Instagram page you may know that I started working in the industry as a project manager for a marketing and social research company. Recently when I meet people and tell them what I am doing now people jokingly say “oh you sold your soul and went into marketing”. This doesn’t offend me at all but it does make me reflect on my decisions… did I sell my soul?

When I started my PhD I was sure that I was going to continue down the path of academia- I aspired to do a fellowship and become a professor. There were a number of reasons that contributed to me no longer aspiring to this career path (some of which I have written about before).

I wanted a job that had more ‘normal hours’, where I felt appreciated and respected at work, where I did not have to spend the majority of my time applying for grants that are very rarely given in my area of research, and above all I wanted a job the fuelled my curiosity and allowed me to do research.

Marketing often has the affiliation with soul selling, because a lot of marketing is using psychological expertise to sell a product to someone. But to me I love seeing my research translated into action- whether that be the type of anti-drink driving campaign that airs on TV, or understanding the appetite for a new chocolate bar in the market. In market research things happen in real time and research is often on the forefront of innovation and technology because we don’t have to wait years to publish.

I am not saying that academic research is not essential because it is- it is the basis of so many scientific breakthroughs- I am just saying that for me, personally, academic research would have continued to suck my soul – so “selling it” to marketing has been a great decision. I have grown so much as a researcher since starting in the industry and I think it is important for people with PhDs and rigorous research skills to enter into various industries to continue advancing them.

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