It recently occurred to me that I need to wrap my head around the
I sat down with my PI Thursday morning to discuss My Future, a conversation I now fully acknowledge I should have been having regularly for the last 3 years.* I told him that I wanted to do what I could to ensure that, should I not make anybody's short list this time around, I looked super hot next cycle. We decided, to my delight, that I should teach. I'm going to deliver several lectures for one of the graduate student core neuro classes next semester, and I'm so excited. I love teaching, I'm a good public speaker...this is going to be really good for me. I'm also going to take part in a side project of sorts, which should get my name on another paper--also good.
There's another option, too--and I would really like your advice here--which is that I could be promoted to the "Instructor" position. The term itself is pretty meaningless, but I think most institutions have something comparable to this limbo-like title (funny, I used to refer to the post-doc as the limbo-like position) for people who have been post-docs for a while. I'd get a raise, and I'd be eligible to apply for more grants, both of which would be cool. But my question is this: does it make me look past my prime to have a title like this? Are search committees biased toward people who are genuine post-docs, or is the name irrelevant?
I'm of course not giving up on the prospect of getting a job this cycle--I'll continue to check the job boards and apply to anything that seems even remotely up my alley. I'm just being realistic, and honestly, it feels really good. You know, now that I think about it, all of these plans aren't really backup plans at all...they're more like forward-thinking plans. Much better.
*I'm now realizing that having an NRSA made me a little...complacent. My project was part of a large, 3-institution grant that made nearly limitless resources available to me, and I flitted happily from lab to lab like a honey bee in a flower bed, doing whatever experiments my heart desired. It was awesome. But while three years of funding may seem like a long time when you're first starting out, it is, as it turns out, not. And with my NRSA having run its course and the main grant expiring next fall, suddenly My Future is a lot less secure.