|Many career routes are possible: From blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2014/10/03/the-postdoc-decision|
Postdoctoral positions are often the most rewarding, creative, and productive time of your career. You don’t have any of the limitations and constraints of a graduate student: you are already experienced and knowledgeable in research and you don’t have the same annoying and time-consuming non-research requirements (qualifying exams, classes, etc.). At the same time, you don’t have any of the non-research responsibilities (committees, committees, committees) of a faculty member. Now is the time when you can fully (or mostly) dedicate yourself to research and let your creativity and originality have (almost) free reign. Thus, a first important rule is POSTDOC AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Never again can you be so free, so creative, and so inspired. Of course, there are exceptions when the postdoctoral position or project is very restrictive or just not very fun or you are very stressed about the future (but you needn’t be – as I will explain in a later post on “How to Get a Faculty Position”). Moreover, at some point, it might look bad to have been a postdoc for too long, perhaps somewhere around 6 years - depending on the discipline. Yet, I think that most faculty look back on their postdocs as a truly formative and fun time of their career. So let’s get to it.
|Long postdoc periods are common: From www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/23789/title/Best-Places-to-Work-2006--Postdocs/|
How to get a postdoc
idea to as many people as possible to find one who will let you forge your own way in their lab. This is generally a high-risk but potentially high-reward route. That is, you are less likely to publish a lot in fancy journals, but you also have the potential to do something creative and new that is totally yours and that can really change the way we think about the world or do science. That is, you can end up being by far the biggest fish in a very cool pond that is newly discovered. And, even if that doesn’t happen, at least you know you went your own way and on your own merits. And, of course, if you succeed, then you are clearly independent, successful, motivated, passionate, and creative (see comments below).
|With so many papers out there, you need to promote your work if it is to be noticed. From thewinnower.com/papers/the-rising-trend-in-authorship|
|Collaborations are increasingly common: From thewinnower.com/papers/the-rising-trend-in-authorship|
|A strong social media presence should be backed up with a strong research record. From www.genomebiology.com/content/pdf/s13059-014-0424-0.pdf|
*Written by Ben Haller who felt the post needed a conclusion. His suggested text was so good, I just put it in verbatim. Thanks also to the other panelists at the career mentoring session at Stickleback 2015: Katie Peichel, Matt Wund, Ionna Katsiadaki, Juha Merila, and Windsor Aguirre.
Previous "How to" posts