I feel like a lot of 2021 was caught up in me being frustrated seeing a lot of my friends in academia struggle due to academia not having real support structures and vaguely handwaving at promising futures that are vanishing, which everyone quietly (or not so quietly) knows.

I don't know what to do about the futures of career paths stuff in general, but I can say something about support structures: most people at the dissertation/thesis stage really need something like a *project manager*.

In theory advisors play that role, but don't have the time.

@cwebber Oooh! You succinctly explained what I did to finish my PhD! **I was my own project manager.** I sent out regular status report emails (accountability). One of my committee said he had a better idea my progress toward graduation than any students in his lab. Annually I would ask my committee for feedback on my evolving plan outline. I made the plan with major steps to completion, and I kept myself on track (despite a full-time job for the last 5 years: slowed me down, did not stop me).

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