The PhD Creed: Why Work Ethic Is Key For Professional Development

Work Ethic: The Overlooked Asset

Over the course of their PhD programs, PhD candidates develop a broad range of specialistic professional skills, from laboratory work, through statistics and programming, to a broad range of general research skills. When applying for jobs, they use to put these skills on top of their resume. It makes perfect sense as specialistic skills are required in many jobs.

However, one important yet underrated aspect of the PhD journey is the “ PhD creed” that you develop in the process — which you might not even realize! And, it can actually become the game changer for your career.

The World Turns Online

In the 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 essential in 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 Professional Enjoy The Opportunity To Choose For Remote Work

As it turns out, most professionals enjoy the possibility to work remotely, pointing to the 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% if 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 at working place.

…But Are Professionals of Today Prepared For Remote Work?

But, is the society ready for this new trend? Unfortunately, it seems that most professionals are not fully prepared the new, fully remote professional world. 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 services. The top three difficulties reported by remote workers are: the necessity to unplug after work (22%), the feeling of loneliness (19%), and 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.

Work Ethic Becoming The Top Competency

To sum up, although remote work is the preferred working scheme to 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. The top three skills searched for employers in 2022 are communication skills, problem solving skills, and the ability to work independently.

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 Way Means The PhD-Way!

As PhDs, we grow 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.

We often take our creed as 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 to remember 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!

Originally published at on March 14, 2022.



A neuroscientist helping professionals in finding their dream career paths at Privately, enthusiast of tech with affinity to blockchains.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

A neuroscientist helping professionals in finding their dream career paths at Privately, enthusiast of tech with affinity to blockchains.