In news of the obvious, Science recently printed a piece entitled "Tenure-Track Jobs Remain Scarce." It describes the phenomenon in which experienced post-docs, unable to land a TT offer, go and do a second post-doc. I presume you're familiar. At first I thought it was a new-decade flashback kind of thing--you know, where they print articles from several years ago out of nostalgia for the aughts? But then I realized that no, this is current. Current, yes; new, no.
The piece reads like this:
1. It's hard to get a job.
2. Because there are no jobs.
3. Because universities have no money.
4. Stimulus package money helped a little, but not that much, plus it's all gone anyway, so...not that much.
5. Q: "Where will all the scientists go?"
A: Europe, but actually only a few of us will do that.
6. We. Are. FUCKED.
What I find interesting about this article is that it highlights the fact that universities less affected by the economic downturn are able to have their pick of the litter when it comes to TT applicants. Well!! How nice for them!! There is a silver lining after all! It reminds me of all the articles that came out when the economy started tanking that covered how shitty life was for everyone who had lost their jobs or had their hours cut or whatever, but for those unaffected, there were some fabulous deals to be had on seriously reduced luxury items!
What I also find interesting is that there are no solutions offered. Not even a suggestion that anyone, anywhere is working on it. This on the heels of news that NIH will be passing the buck with respect to funding young researchers (go read MsPhD's and DrugMonkey's assessments of Francis Collins's announcement), and it's all one can do not to throw up one's hands in despair.
One thing I've noticed since I've started blogging is that although there are dozens of really amazing post-doc bloggers, I haven't found anyone else who's actively talking about their own job search. Are you out there? Even if you're not a blogger, but just a reader, I'd love to hear how things are going for others in my position. I can't be the only one; if I were, I'd probably have a job by now.
The Plight of the Post-Doc