The Plight of the Post-Doc


On the off chance that someone who doesn't know me is reading....

A little background.

My doctorate in neurobiology took me five years to complete, and I'm now about to complete my fifth year as a post-doc. Apparently it used to be that you could get a tenure-track faculty job after just 2 or 3 years of post-doctoral work, but now the average seems to be closer to 6. How nice for us!

I've done a lot of cool things during my post-doc, which serendipitously landed me in the middle of a dream collaboration between three of the absolute tippity-top scientists in my field. They make neuroscience look easy, and they made my life incredibly easy by letting me do pretty much whatever experiments I wanted for the last five years [N.B., grad students: do your post-doc with rich PIs, I am so serious].

I plan on doing some more cool things in lab this year, but I also plan on applying for tenure-track faculty jobs at colleges and universities. I have no idea if I'll succeed; it's my understanding that even if you are a superstar post-doc your chances of being hired with a reasonable start-up package are slim to none. I'm probably not a superstar, but I'm diving in anyway, and I'm going to blog about it. The applications, the interviews (hopefully!!!!), the prospect of moving, taking my boyfriend's job into consideration, getting over my ivy-league ego...there's going to be a lot to say. I'm really, really excited about all of it, even if I fail miserably. OK, I'm not excited about failing miserably. But I'm excited about really GOING for something, you know? I'm ready.


biochem belle said...

I'm in the first year of my postdoc. I recall discussing my future in science with my grad adviser (before all the economic fallout and hiring freezes), and I mentioned the possibility of doing a long or second postdoc. His response: "You don't want to do that!"

He's right, in that I didn't (and still don't) WANT to... but he seemed to miss the NEED to (despite having postdocs in his own lab for 5+ years).

Best of luck! I look forward to hearing about your adventure.

Tobias said...

Found your Blog via Drug Monkey. Within a years time my situation will probably resemble yours, just that I am in Europe. Looking forward to future posts of yours.

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