Nobody spends 10+ years as a researcher to become a cable guy.
If you consider a CCIE a "cable guy", then you probably don't have a clue what a CCIE is.
We are talking about someone with a PhD here, which basically proves he can persevere. That is the most fundamental requirement of anyone who endeavors to obtain a CCIE.
The CCIE would guarantee years of job security at a very high wage. The PhD... not so much. I was just thinking he may actually want to pay off those student loans before age 65.