The Plight of the Post-Doc


On the Market: SfN Wrap-Up

Totally awesome science aside, there were kind of a lot of FAILs at the meeting this week:  wi-fi FAIL...shuttle bus court FAIL...and I'm afraid I've got to add another one...NeuroJobs FAIL.  The SfN NeuroJobs Career Center was literally an enclosed area with 10-12 computer stations whose Internet Explorer default page was the NeuroJobs website (from which most users had navigated away in favor of gmail and facebook).

Thank you, SfN, but I do have a computer. 

Looking back, it was probably naive of me to imagine that SfN would be doing any kind of concrete matchmaking, or that search committee members would be taking time out of their busy conference schedules to meet with potential candidates.  NeuroJobs "live" is likely more suited to people looking for post-doc positions than faculty positions, especially those in town from abroad who can't all be flown in for a job talk.  I hope it works out for them.  *sniff*

Some other items of note:
  • I took PhysioProf's advice and did not seek out faculty from departments I've applied to, at risk of looking like a brown-nosing, shameless self-promoter.  I did, however, tell just about everyone I ran into that I was OtM, which led to some very interesting conversations, some of which will be turned into full blog posts.  One PI in my field whom I've known for several years responded that she wished her department had an opening for me, but that they weren't currently hiring.  This of course was probably could have been an empty nicety, but it certainly beat a sarcastic "heh--good luck with that," so it made me feel good.
  • I also took DrugMonkey's advice and stopped by the NIMH booth to talk with the Program Officer for my K99 application that is under review right now.  I unfortunately caught her as she was leaving to meet with someone important-looking and didn't get to do much but introduce myself, but I hope that even that will provide the tiniest glimmer of happy recognition when funding decisions are made.  According to a grad school friend who now works as a Review Officer, the best thing I can do is wait until my score comes, and if it seems potentially borderline start communicating with my PO to see if there's anything I can do to bump it into funding range.  This is especially important for me because K99 applicants can't have been a post-doc for more than 5 years, and if I don't get funded this time around, that's it for me.  I'm too old.  Past my prime.  Over the hill.  Waaah. (As an aside, it's not exactly clear when "being a post-doc" officially starts.  Is it the day you defend your thesis?  The day you begin work in your post-doc lab?  The day you receive your PhD from your institution?  The order of these events is not always the same.  Anyone know?)
I've got just over a week until I get my score, and until then (and beyond), I'll keep checking the job ads and applying to anything that has potential.  I'm also starting a new experiment that I'm really excited about, so I'll have lots to keep me busy until the interviews invites come pouring in.  Pouring!!*

*this is me remaining upbeat and optimistic, despite certain conversations had at the meeting...stay tuned.

PS--one thing that I thought was a big SfN WIN was the #sfn09 Twitter-fest.  I loved seeing everyone's sciency thoughts throughout the day; it was endless 140-character fun.


Ewan said...

I thought that the WiFi was one of the better SfN experiences: still don't understand the decision to prevent access in the main poster/exhibit room, but everywhere else it worked well for me.

Sorry that the jobs thing didn't work :(.

Becca said...

Thanks, Ewan! I agree that the wifi was fine when not on the poster floor, but it was a pain to have to keep leaving every time I wanted to check email or look something up. I also had trouble getting even a cell signal on the poster floor sometimes, but that may have been AT&T's fault. Too many iPhones in one place!

Anonymous said...

Postdoc eligibility

It's either the day it was awarded (letter day) or the day of graduation (certificate and change to Dr day).

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