Knee deep in the big muddy: When the pursuit of a PhD feels like owning an old car

Wikipedia speaks of escalation commitment as an irrational behavior in which a person or group continues with a course of action based on the effort already expended, or already invested, and without considering that future costs are disadvantageous.

The typical example is the person who owns an old car, which fails more times than it is useful. After investing a good amount in repairs, it is possible that at the next failure we will want to invest again in repairs, because we have already spent. Besides, maybe this time the old car will hold up.

In my very personal experience, the PhD pursuit has taken the form of the old car. Investments increase over time. Some of the biggest are the commitment I made to the funding agency, the effort I have demanded from my family, a disadvantageous visa that will prevent me from seeking a job in the same country of study, and the sweat and tears it has taken me to move forward to pass exams, become a candidate, and publish peer-reviewed literature.

There is always the possibility of selling the old car or taking it to the crusher. But... what if this next investment is now worth it?