Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Post-doc stylee.

Perhaps you've wondered what Ph.D. students in biomedical research normally do after finishing grad school.

No? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.

The typical freshly-minted Ph.D. traditionally goes to another laboratory in a different research instution to work as a researcher, but without running a lab of his/her own. It's sort of akin to how medical doctors do a residency. It's a transition period between grad student and professor. It gives said Ph.D. a chance to work on a research project in a more independent fashion, publish more papers, etc. in preparation for landing a tenure-track faculty position. It also gives one an opportunity to develop a specialty -- learn new lab techniques, or move into an area of research which he/she wants to study in the future.

The length of a post-doc is variable -- long enough to get some studies published (two years-ish), but short enough that you eventually move on to a "real" position. Postdoc fellowships are viewed as temporary positions. "Career postdoc" is really not a phrase which you want applied to you.

I say "the typical freshly-minted Ph.D." because as science diversifies, so do career opportunities, and not everyone is choosing the traditional stay-in-academia route. Some might do postdocs in industry/Big Pharma. Others might jump ship entirely, perhaps heed the call of the nebulojob.

Me? I... er, I'll... revisit this topic when I'm somewhere in the realm of having to make such decisions.

At any rate, I mention this because it seems like someone in a nearby lab (name withheld) is weighing the options, and I found the list pretty amusing. (apologies for the smash-up photomontage... the dry erase board is in not such a good photo-op position)

Judging from the addition of "sucks will to live" and "trivializes rest of life," I sense the "cons" to be winning.

There you have it. The illustrious world of the postdoctoral research fellow. Ah.

In other news, I am slipping into my semi-annual state of neurosis because I have a committee meeting on the 10th. In case you forgot what that's all about, relive the last one here and here.

Expect the updates to be light... or completely insane and random, depending on how The Wheel of My Attention Deficit Disorder Manifestation spins.


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