> what does a doctorate in Organic Chemistry actually qualify you to do for a job, besides teach at a university in a self-perpetuating cycle? (I'm randomly guessing maybe something in pharma? I honestly don't know.)
Ten years ago a PhD in Organic Chemistry was one of the surest employment routes at many Pharmaceutical companies, big and small. Organic chemists synthesize molecules, which is critical in the long and expensive drug discovery process. However, since then pharma has moved to the creation of randomized synthetic methods using robots and extremely simple reactions to make libraries of millions of molecules (combinatorial chemistry), and discovered that India has an extremely well-trained chemistry work force, and so the US job market has imploded. Along with that, the biotech stock bubble popped and there are a lot fewer small companies and start-ups around now to hire these people.