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To Post-Doc or Not to Post-Doc, That is a Very Good Question - Part 1

Happy 2019!

Much to my surprise, I realized I went all of 2018 without posting anything. I got tenure in 2018 so technically, I should have had more time with that monkey off my back. Yet as a wise colleague told me, tenure usually means more work. Sure enough.

Nonetheless, let's start 2019 off fresh with a burning question I get from many of my PhD students: To post-doc or not to post-doc. For those of you not in academia, I post-doctoral fellowship (post-doc) involves additional training. You see, science has evolved so much these days that despite doing a PhD for 4 to 7 years, you might need more training.

I went into my post-doc reluctantly. After 5 years of PhD study, I was really hoping to have a just one job and a regular salary that might actually allow me to travel and start paying down my student loans. A post-doc just seemed like more years being poor.

It was, however, the best decision I ever made. I was lucky to have a great mentor who passed along many wonderful opportunities to develop my career. Since a federally funded post-doc pays you only for 4 days a week, I had a day a week to build my consulting business which continues today. I published a ton of peer-reviewed articles, which made my eventual academic job hunt a lot easier--even though in 2009 after the economic crash, jobs were few and far between.

Most Research I universities want their hires to have a post-doc these days and there are pros and cons to that. At the same time, alternate career paths have their perks too. Over the next few weeks, we'll talk about the pros and cons of post-docs and how to work around them if your circumstances do not allow you to take a post-doc after you graduate. I'll highlight case examples from friends and colleagues too.

Looking forward to engaging with you more in 2019!

Comments

  1. Feel free to share my tale filled with confusion, despair and a dash of hope. 😊😉😎

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