Now it is my turn to reflect my view on your comments.

I partially agree with those of you who said PhD will accomplish you intellectually, but there is one staggering fact that you have to swallow intellectual accomplishment is not highly valued in the newly emerging Ethiopian society. It could be offending to put it like this but I have no better option I have to say it a taxi driver in Washington has much better respect than a PhD holder especially if the PhD is from home. I do not have a PhD but planning to have one but I know it will not make a fraction of what many folks in business make. But I know what I am doing when I decided to follow my passion rather than pursue monetary success and I am bold to say that I contribute more toward the betterment of society in one year than most businesspeople do in their lifetimes.

Sure, life is tough for PhD holders even tougher than anyone else because society expect much (money and materials) from them. But it is an irony sometimes a PhD holder can’t even pay all of his/her monthly bills. There’s no way they’ll be able to buy a house. I remember when I was in Addis for my MA studies some students drive nicer cars than PhD holders in the campus. Leave the cars some of the PhD holders do not manage to update their wardrobe in four years. Recently, I saw one of Addis Ababa university teacher who has a PhD with the same shirt that he used to wear when I was an MA student before three years.

I know not everyone is motivated by the need to earn huge amounts of money- there are other factors like knowledge; learning and quality of life and it is a fact that money doesn’t necessarily breed happiness. Some people want more from life than money. Like satisfaction in knowing they’re helping to research a disease.


But in our context I think PhD gives more chance of getting a high salary although it does not guarantee it. As Yirgalem put it in Ethiopia many people want to do a PhD just to feel like they’ve accomplished something or to impress others so they can be addressed as DR. or may be for respect. If it in Addis it is may be just for something to pass the time away.


Hopefully, as Fiseha described it high salary is not the only reason people work. Some I know are quite content with a quite low salary in a position that they love. A PhD demonstrates several things, specialized knowledge, ability to persevere, facility with the language, etc. All of you are correct, a PhD does not guarantee a high salary but that may not be the prime motivator. But one thing is for sure- a Taxi Driver in Washington DC weighs much better than a PhD holder from AAU in our growingly materialist society.


One Response to “Which one weighs: A Taxi Driver in Washington DC or a PhD holder from AAU as a response for your comments”

  1. Belayneh B

    Dear Endalkachew

    Your article is quite interesting, but i have observed some controversial ideas in it, you already addressed that, the Ph.D. anyone gets in Ethiopia doesn’t grantee his or her material needs and at the same time you tried to compare them with a taxi driver from DC? I don’t see any relation between this two people in fact they are in different realm, the respect given for taxi driver in DC ( by whom? Ethiopians or DC dweller ?) and Ethiopian Ph.D. holder ( by whom? Ethiopians or DC dweller ?). it is rather better to make the comparison within Ethiopia, like for example Ph.D. holder in Ethiopia or taxi driver in Addis. so that the comparison become more transparent ( of course in their income). I believe the Ethiopians respect the Ph.D. holder, with a pity on the way these people live.
    Finally I want to take a quote a remarkable saying of yours ” I contribute more toward the betterment of society in one year than most businesspeople do in their lifetimes.”
    Keep up the good work!

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