Master students who start PhD can be categorized into three groups. The first group wants to get a PhD because they know they want to join academia. The second group, which is small, wants to find a better job in the industry. I believe this group is small because the majority of work done Civil Engineering industry does not need the education in PhD. Most of the work done in design and construction of structures are covered in the master courses already. Moreover, the experience plays an important role. Therefore, what you earn in four years of experience from professional point of view may exceed the gains in getting a PhD. The third group which I belong to is confused about choosing academia or industry. The people in this group love doing research so they did not mind losing some potential money in graduate school. Here I share the pros and cons I find for joining academia after my graduation.
The fulfillment in teaching: I have never got the chance to teach a full course, but the few instances that I have taught my advisor class were fulfilling for me. The idea that you share your knowledge with students who will soon apply it in projects make the effort required for teaching worth it.
Flexible schedule: My family is back in Iran. Choosing academia means keeping the possibility of going back for a month or two in each year possible. That means having the possibility of being in touch with your family and the possibility of contributing to your motherland country as well.
Being your own boss: Faculties in academia determine the path that they work in themselves. They choose the topics they want to work on.
Contribution to the society: The society can significantly benefit from a well conducted research that addresses their problems.
Repeated nature of teaching: While I find teaching fulfilling, I find many teachers with several years of experience tired of what they do. Especially some faculties who work in teaching-based universities seem to teach for the sake of salary.
Never ending to do list: As a PhD student, I miss the time that I had nothing to think about in undergrad when I was done with my courses. The questions in my research project is always on top of my head. Whether I am driving, taking shower, or trying to sleep, I am thinking about my research. Choosing academia means struggling with these questions until the retirement.
Politics: I find the politics in academia truly influential. Having good connection means getting your name on papers that you have small to zero contribution, enjoying easier revision process in publication and etc. I am not saying I cannot make connections, but I consider this as con for a career.
Contribution to the society: PhD students, unless they are working on topics like cancer, think about the contribution of their research now and then. Many research topics in academia do not have clear and influential effect on people life. Despite academia, the work in industry always have customers who are ready to pay for what you do.