I am a Statistics PhD student.
I started my PhD upon the acceptance to my current university because this got so many people excited about me, and I didn't want to disappoint them. I finished my PhD coursework with excellent marks, and I made speedy progress in my research which made my PhD supervisor very happy. However, my supervisor's research area is not something that I want to work in for the rest of my life and I got depressed because as a PhD student, I am working so hard, day and night, towards the outcome that I don't really want. I am currently in 2nd year of my PhD program.
I expressed this to my supervisor and he told me that he doesn't want me to make spontaneous decisions since I am doing so well in my PhD program and that I am making a speedy progress. My supervisor suggested me to take 4 month medical leave, and I took that offer.
However, more I think of my issue more I want to pursue my dream of working in Clinical Research Organization (CRO) as a statistician/statistical programmer. Over the break, I have successfully acquired industry professional certifications that CRO firms often look for, and I am ready to apply for entry-level jobs at CRO firm. I am still on the medical leave from my PhD program, although the leave is almost over.
My questions are:
Should I talk to my supervisor again and formally withdraw from the PhD program before I start applying for CRO jobs? or is it okay for me to apply for jobs even while I am on the medical leave from my PhD program, as long as I explain my situation well?
Would including my PhD education as incompleted on my resume put me under disadvantage?
If answer to 2 is "no", can I list my Teaching Assistant / Research Assistant positions as a part of my work experience, along with the information that I am a PhD student?
When companies do background checks on potential candidates, what do they usually check? Do they go through/investigate every details that show up under my social insurance number?
Thank you, and I am sorry for so many questions.