Following the article by Dr Victor Ujor on “The postdoctoral Conundrum – To Postdoc or not to Postdoc!” two readers left very engaging and interesting comments on LinkedIn which we thought would be of benefit to our readers and the contributors have also very generously agreed for their comments to be shared with our readers.
Dr Lia Paola Zambetti, is an Experienced Scientific communicator and currently Assistant Head/Project Manager at A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) and completed her PhD studies at the University College London. She advises that;
“If you are not 1000% convinced that you want to stay in academia (and have the stellar publication record that is a requirement nowadays) then probably…better to not postdoc!”
It should also be made abundantly clear right from the start that the % of success in getting an academic position is ridiculously low……”
Subsequently, Dr Chris Gaj, Director at the Research Partnership in Philadelphia, experienced healthcare professional and PhD Graduate from Yale University added to the comments made by Dr Zambetti below.
“To echo Lia, do not do an academic postdoc unless you really have to. If you have your heart set on being a tenure track professor, you probably have no choice but to pursue the postdoctoral fellowship pathway. If your interests lie elsewhere, do not use the postdoc as a default path. Strive to reach your goals. It may be that you are unable to get where you want to or even to a place that you can tolerate – if you are faced with the choice of an academic postdoc or pushing shopping carts/mopping floors/cleaning the trash compactor aisle (I am describing my first real job back in high school) then maybe an academic postdoc is better.
What I suggest to people looking for anything other than academic science is ‘do not postdoc unless there is no other viable option.’
And work hard to make sure you are trying to get other opportunities. Don’t do a half-____ed job of it. If the postdoctoral pathway is largely forced on you, always be working towards ways to escape.
Now an industrial postdoc is a different story. This gets you industry experience and sets you up for potentially going into non-scientific pathways like business. But I know these are hard to come by.
No matter where you are in your pathway. Good luck, God bless, and try not to let the job market get you down. It took me about 18 months to find a real position. 12 months in graduate school and 6 months after defending, but it did happen. Just try (I know it’s REAL hard) to stay positive and keep moving forward.”
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