Advice for soon-to-be postdoc?

Janet Ott ottj at ELWHA.EVERGREEN.EDU
Fri Aug 26 14:06:34 EST 1994


Some advice, as requested -
	Keep in mind what YOUR goals are.  It's very easy to get sucked 
into what the "rest of the world" thinks is the best thing for you to do, 
but it may not be the best for you.  When everyone thought that I should 
take the second post-docs offered to me at Harvard and NASA so that I 
could get a job at a medical school, give six lectures a year and spend 
the rest looking up the wrong end of a rat, it just didn't feel right.  
When I got my present job (at a small, alternative, liberal arts school), 
many suggested that they too, had thought of "retiring" to the 
"backwater" rather than hit the mainstream.  But I had to remember that 
this is what I always wanted to do and that the other appeared to be 
mind-numbing and deadening.  I have never regretted the decision.  I am 
intellectually stimulated every day, work my ass off at stuff that seems 
like play, and thank the goddess every day for my job here.  But for 
awhile, while making the decision, I was made to feel small and 
insignificant and to feel that I was "wasting my talents."  I think my 
students would disagree and I feel as if I am making a much greater 
contribution by training them and working in the lab with them, than if I 
was adding three small bits of data to the big picture.  So take a week 
every year and go on retreat somewhere where you can re-center yourself 
and remember what YOU want and focus on decisions that will get you 
there, no matter what others think is "best for you."
	Good luck.

Janet Ott, Ph. D.  Lab I The Evergreen State College  Olympia, Wa.  98505





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