Friday, March 6, 2009

The plight of the postdoc

I know, it's a bit melodramatic. This is the kind of problem you want to have. But still.
There is an old idiom that goes, when it rains, it pours. I have a job. It's a good job. But in the world of science, one needs to move around a bit, get a feel for what you enjoy doing. That's what postdocs are for, to test different subfields (you may find you enjoy something much more than you did your thesis research - and perhaps you have an aptitude for it). You make the decision when to stay, and when to move on to something new. Perhaps it's a better career move one way or the other. So I have a job, but I know it's time to try something else, so I started applying for other jobs. It's a difficult job market (even regardless of the overall economy), so I wasn't anticipating much. Just "putting out a few feelers," as my Mom would say. Yet somehow, the response was overwhelming. And overwhelmingly positive. When it rains, it pours.
My current boss offered to pay me more to keep me here. I got an immediate job offer from one group, an invitation to interview with another, and an invitation to be written into someone else's grant. I had an offer of a visiting researcher position, and an offer of personal assistance applying for my own fellowship. Those with open calls for applications asked me to apply, and those without passed along information on other openings.
So now, all of a sudden, I find myself in a strange position. Do I take the job that has already been offered? Do I keep the job I have now, demanding more pay or benefits? Do I risk each of these choices for an opportunity to interview and do something totally different (research-wise)? Do I give up all of the money and the "glamor" of the postdoctoral life for a visiting researcher position, which would move me to somewhere I'd rather be but deprive me of the opportunity to really make a name for myself? Or perhaps I move on to something completely different, like the "private sector," or maybe even seminary, or writing novels. I do not know. To complicate the matter, however, I have very little time to decide. Very little.
And so I am pondering. Contemplating. We're running an experiment at the moment, and I've taken a quiet shift over the weekend so that I can have time to be alone and think. Wish me luck, I suppose.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly, that is a lot of offers. I cannot decide for you. And you heard what I said to you before. I will pray for you. And I am grateful to have you as a friend.


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