The PhD Creed: Why Work Ethic Is As Important For Your Professional Development As Your Knowledge.

Last updated on April 21st 2024

March 14th 2022

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  • In this article, we discuss work ethic as an overlooked asset in today’s job market. While we focus on introducing our specialized professional skills, our work ethic is what interests employers even more!

  • In the times of remote work, are PhDs better adjusted for working than professionals without the academic experience? Yes — because of the work ethic!

  • Lastly, we introduce the concept of the “PhD Creed:” a set of mental assets represented by PhDs which we should be proud of as academics — and mention them in the recruitment process!

Work Ethic: The Overlooked Asset.

While developing research careers, we tend to focus on our specialist professional skills, from laboratory work, through statistics and programming, to a broad range of general research skills needed for their career path. When applying for jobs, we use to put these skills on top of the the resume. It makes perfect sense as specialistic skills are required in many jobs.

And sure, “Python programming,” “technical writing,” or “Western blotting” could land us jobs. But, these are skills that many intelligent young people with Bachelor’s degrees or even high school education could learn from their superiors and mentors at work within a few months if they put enough effort into the job.

However, specialist skills is not the only positive outcome of research training. In fact, PhDs have a range of transferable skills but are not taught how to market them. The outreach and impact of science is much broader than just research itself: 

Therefore, one important yet underrated aspect of the PhD journey to get a doctoral degree is the “PhD creed” that you develop in the process of professional development which you might not even realize! And, it can actually become a game changer for your career. 

You just cannot build work ethic, and integrity, and learn independent thinking within just a few months, or even a few years. You need to grow into these qualities slowly over time, like a tree. It is not your technical skills but your PhD Creed that is your real asset!

White-Collars Jobs Move Online.

In recent years, the professional world shifted towards online work to a large extent. As of 2022, 16% of all companies are already fully remote. This process of moving online started even before the pandemic, but now, it has accelerated. And, remote jobs require a range of skills that are not as essential as the “traditional,” stationary jobs.

Namely, these new, fully remote jobs require focus, self-discipline and the ability to unplug after work, the ability to perform deep work, the ability to work alone, and even better abilities to communicate than stationary jobs (as you often cannot detect emotions from face or voice, and the overall number of available channels of communication is lower than in stationary jobs).

At the same time, more and more companies decide to launch international, fully remote teams. 85% of managers believe teams fully composed of remote workers will soon become the new norm.

Most Professionals Enjoy The Opportunity To Choose For Remote Work.

As it turns out, most professionals enjoy the possibility to work remotely, pointing to a better work-life balance as the most important benefit. They also evaluate employers who give them this opportunity higher than those who don’t allow for remote work. 

Since 2017, companies offering the option to work remotely were noting the decreasing number of resignations. 74% of all employees declare that remote work would make them less likely to leave the company, and 69% of Millenials would be willing to give away part of their working benefits in an exchange for more flexibility in working place.

…But Are Professionals of Today Prepared For Remote Work?

But, is society ready for this new trend? Unfortunately, it seems that most professionals are not fully prepared for the new, fully remote professional world as well as professional development. 

According to the extensive survey by the American Psychiatric Association (2021), remote work has brought new challenges with respect to mental health (btw, you can also find some tips on how to better handle working from home in our article: “Working From Home: Tips and Tricks” or in the best-selling book “Remote Office Not Required“).

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the massive shift towards remote work, 93% of all countries have seen disruption to their mental health servicesThe top three difficulties reported by remote workers are the necessity to unplug after work (22%), the feeling of loneliness (19%), and an increased level of difficulty in communication and collaboration (17%). 

Moreover, remote workers often do not assimilate with the company culture as well as stationary workers. Firstly, they are trusted to a lesser extent than stationary workers. 54% of IT professionals consider remote workers to pose a greater cybersecurity risk than traditional workers.

Secondly, according to Gallup, remote workers also tend to feel less connected with their employers and are 16% less likely to be willing to get involved in the decision-making process than employees working at the office. 

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Work Ethic Becoming The Top Competency.

To sum up, although remote work is the preferred working scheme for many professionals today, it is not easy to get used to and handle in daily life!

No wonder that, according to CNBC, now in 2022, employers value soft skills higher than ever before. According to CNBC journalists, the top three skills searched for employers in 2022 are communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work independently. 

We would also add integrity to this list (please find more information in our recent article “Integrity: Why Is It Important For Your Professional Development and Why Do Employers Seek Integrity?)”. 

Actually, 63% of employers declare that they would rather hire someone with transferable skills — team players and doers with leadership skills — and then train them on the technical aspects of the job rather than the other way around!

“Online” Means The PhD-Way!

As PhDs, we grow and care about professional development in a decentralized, international culture as professionals. We are used to working independently, planning our working days, solving problems as they arise, and working alone from home or from travel for extensive periods of time. 

We are responsible, we keep on motivating ourselves, and we function well while left alone with a problem to solve. We are reliable as employees – it is a sort of a PhD credo, or, a PhD creed.

So, What Is The PhD Creed?

You will probably agree that:

1. PhDs Effectively Self-manage Themselves.

We don’t need a whip we keep on working! Plus, we can be autodidactic, which is a rare and precious virtue in the job market.

2. PhDs Can Decompose Any Problem Into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces.

We just don’t say “this cannot be done!” before we try everything to solve a problem, including chopping it into small chunks and attempting to approach these chunks separately! 

3. PhDs Approach Problems in an Iterative Way.

You just can’t build a solution to a big problem overnight. We are patient and keep on trying without losing enthusiasm.

4. PhDs Have Their Minds Set For Lifelong Learning.

We know that the learning process doesn’t end at school and we are hungry for more!

5. PhDs Can Focus On One Problem.

We dive deep into problems and we can hold our attention for a long compared to the average population.

6. PhDs Can Multitask.

We juggle many tasks at work! From research design, via writing, teaching, and creating educational materials, to presenting at international conferences. Just like human orchestras!

7. PhDs Have The Ability to Work in International Environment.

We are grown up in international working culture, hence, we are respectful and comfortable working with professionals with various backgrounds.

8. PhDs Have The Ability To Play a Hipster, a Hacker, and a Hustler At a Time.

We are literally a one-person crew of a whole startup. We can come up with novel ideas, hacks the solutions, and hustle!

9. PhDs Are Receptive to Criticism.

Not everyone can handle constructive criticism without emotion. Well, we can! and, employers love that.

10. PhDs Have Respect For Intellectual Property.

Today, business is based on Intellectual Property (or, IP) – and we can be trusted when it comes to handling (sensitive) data, honoring authorship, and keeping confidential information… well, confidential. 

Confidentiality is one of the key elements of integrity: a quality of crucial importance to employers. Please read more:

Ontology Of Value PhD-Creed-Natalia-Bielczyk-Ontology-of-Value The PhD Creed: Why Work Ethic Is An Important For Your Professional Development As Your Knowledge All Posts For PhDs Job Market Analysis and Predictions Self-management Tools and Strategies

Conclusion: Don’t Take Your PhD Creed As Given as It Is a Precious Set of Personal Assets!

We often take our PhD creed as a given, and we rarely see it as an asset. While in fact, these virtues are often more likely to land us jobs than the specialistic laboratory or technical writing skills that we’ve built over the years! 

It is worth remembering while putting together a resume, or while going to a job interview. Perhaps, it is a good idea to put your work ethic and your creed before anything else – as it is truly special and valuable on the job market!

Lastly, are you afraid of AI in the job market? You shouldn’t be. A bot is just a tool; it doesn’t have any morality of ethic. It makes decisions following its users wishes. This is also why your work ethic will make you stand out in the job market. Furthermore, as research by the Oliver Wyman agency has revealed, it’s analytic thinking (rather than AI and big data skills) that still scores as a top skill desired by employers.

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Best of luck in your career development! Please find more information about the PhD Creed in Natalia Bielczyk’s book “What Is Out There For Me? The Landscape of Post-PhD Career Tracks.”

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2022, March, 14th). The PhD Creed: Why Work Ethic Is As Important For Your Professional Development As Your Knowledge. Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/the-phd-creed-why-work-ethic-is-an-important-for-your-professional-development-as-your-knowledge/

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