Friday, February 12, 2010

Post-Docs and the quest for the free upgrade

YoungFemaleScientist has published a very convincing summary of all that is bad with being a postdoc and why most arguments that it is good are wrong. Very concisely put.

But, I am going to have to do one anyway. What you can get away with sometimes is getting a position as an MD, which can count as tenure or tenure track to the funding agencies. Then you can apply directly for project funding, but otherwise you need a PI to hold your hand. What you can hope for is a good PI with the decency to give you a reasonable salary (or a PI in a richer country). A PI who won't have you run his whole lab, and who thinks your ideas are hot enough to let you run with them.

Then you create a small space in his lab shaped exactly like you, and re-create your post-doc into a junior PI position. Get your name on the grants, get to advice PhD-students (not just practically, but on paper), and then get converted to tenure track/tenure. From there you stand much stronger to apply elsewhere (or stay).

It's like a computer game, more specifically like The Starship Titanic, and you are out to get the free upgrade.

Good luck to us all,


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