There is a conversation going on right now on Leiter Reports regarding the success of students with a UK PhD applying for jobs in the states. As someone who plans to be doing just that in the next few years this is of some significance, as it is to many other students in my department; sadly though, the comments left so far have given the impression that the only reason to get a PhD is to get a good job. Now I obviously understand that we all have to make money one way or another, but if someone doesn’t have a passion for their field of study then they should just get a job in business and make a lot more money for much less effort. One comment literally gave the advice to make sure your adviser helped you develop a ‘marketable’ topic for your dissertation. As one who is planning on writing PhD that will most definitely not be marketable in the states, I find it ridiculous that anyone would focus years of research around marketability.
The only advice that is really necessary for this situation is that one should study with the adviser and department that will best facilitate their field of interest and work their ass of for however many years they are there. Screw marketability. What is the point of spending years of your life in a department that doesn’t fit your academic interest for the sake of better chances in an unpredictable job market? Eh.