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I am currently a first year (and first semester) phd grad student in physical chemistry and I already have a masters. Since the moment I started this program, I have been dreading the idea of continuing. I'm not a super typical student. I'm 26 years old and married. While that may not be odd, my husband and I live 1.5 hours away from my current institution. I'm fortunate enough to have a sister that lives close to the university, that I can stay with a few nights a week so that I only have to make the trip one way per day.

Anyway, the further I get into this semester the closer I get to deciding I will not continue the program after this semester. I have many reasons for this decision. For example, I originally wanted a phd because I wanted a position in academia but I'm coming to find those positions are far and few in between unless I want to be forced to move to a completely new state (or city at least) for no reason other than work. I've also lost all passion for this whole process. I always enjoyed the course work through the years but I literally dread going everyday. The classes are very unstimulating. They either feel like undergraduate courses or courses someone would take in theoretical physics at MIT or something. There are further personal reasons that are playing a role in the decision. I suppose if anyone has any advice about discontinuing a phd program, I would really appreciate it!

Anyway, my main question is about applying to jobs that I would start after this semester, which ends in mid December. I was wondering how far in advance should I begin applying to jobs? Obviously I would have to tell them that I couldn't start until December but I don't want to wait until then and possibly not have a job for months. I was thinking to begin applying in the beginning of November which would give me a little over a month to work out the details with an employer. Any advice?

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Do you live in the US?  If so, what area do you live in?  I ask because there are only a few places (SD, SF Bay, SLC, Bos, DC metro, NJ) where chemists working in industry can make a decent living.  So, you might have to move just to find yourself a decent opportunity.

As far as applications go, don't even bother.  Get yourself partnered with a head hunter.  Start by sending out your resume to talent recruiting companies around your area.

You might also want to check out the chemistry reddit. Tons of career advise.

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