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Need some advice on my mixed feeling about a MedChem phD


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I am currently enrolled in a Medicinal Chemistry program. I have just finished up my first semester, and I am re-evaluating my decision to go to graduate school. The main reason for this is due to the lack of job opportunities for phD’s upon graduation. I understand that a postdoc has become standard, which means I will not have a well compensated job for another 8 years. (I will be in my 30’s). I know money is not everything, but I hope to have a job in which I can someday support having a wife and kids. I do enjoy science, but I would choose my goal of having a good family life over science every time. I also did not come from a wealthy family, so I have racked up quite a few undergraduate school loans.

Of course the first year is loaded with the joys of a TA assignment, class work, a daunting written and oral cumulative. I have never been afraid of hard work when it leads some place. As Viktor Frankl wrote, "In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.” But if there is no meaning (aka a job) at the end of 5 years of being an indentured servant (aka grad student), I do not believe I can continue.

I do want to say, I enjoy research. I do thoroughly enjoy the benchtop lab work. I like the idea that my research may someday help people. (I know this is a little idealistic.) These are the reasons I went to graduate school to begin with. I also enjoy the biology class I am taking. Graduate school has turned me off to the chemistry somewhat, which is unfortunate since I am in essentially a chemistry program. This has made me contemplate moving departments to a more biology heavy program. But I initially choose chemistry in hopes it would help me find a job in the future.

Furthermore, I am realizing all the politics that occur in academia and “scientific research.” The power maneuvers, work dumping on TA’s, and treatment of people. Serveral times I have witnessed faculty talking behind students back and broad line verbal abuse from. My department seems to be unprofessional and childish at times.

I guess to make a long story short, should I continue with my phD, or get out now before I commit any more time and energy into it? (And of the course the reverse of letting the department put money, time, and energy into developing me.) Any advice or thoughts would be welcomed.

Also I would enjoy suggestions on other possible career routes. I have been contemplating applying to pharmD programs.

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