Post Doc - how to pick

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at
Tue Jan 30 10:22:46 EST 1996

Well, there is one key question- are you going to provide your own money
or not.  Some researchers have funding for a postdoc postion either on
their own grant, or because they have an endowed chair which provides for
funding for a postdoctoral position.  In that case you will be working
on their project.  Usually a researcher will only fund someone like this
for 1 or 2 years, but ultimately expect them to write their own grant for
their own project.

How to select a post doc depends a bit on what your goals are...If your
goal is to obtain a university faculty position, then select a well-known,
big-name in the field, who publishes in Science and Nature with their post-docs
in a field in which you are interested.  In this case, you must demonstrate
that you are intelligent, quick and sharp and knowledgable in that person's
area of expertise when you go to interview and that you have something-
knowledge, skill, or ideas to contribute and bring to the lab.  If your
goal is to get a job in industry, then try to find a lab. where the person
you are working for is a consultant to a company or has connections to a 
company (you will find that many researchers in the molecular bio area have
connections to biotech start-ups) in an area in which you are interested.
Also, going the industrial route, I would select a post doc. in an area
which is different from and would broaden the area in which I obtained my

Also, begin looking at least 6 months before you plan to finish...and
be realistic about your completion date...if someone is funding you and
expects you to be there in April, they don't want to hear that you haven't
finishing writing yet and are not going to show up until June!

As far as a long-distance relationship goes...depending on the field your
significant-other is in, it can actually be helpful...If you work in a lab
where people are there day and night and you are expected to work alot, a
significant-other waiting at home can get really annoyed and feel neglected
(especially if they are not in the same field), so having a long-distance
relationship can be a positive thing, since you can work hard in the lab,
and then take a vacation and spend it with your significant other...Of course,
it really changes the nature of a relationship not to have the person there
sharing all the little experiences of daily life with you...I would not
recommend doing it for more than 1 or 2 years at most, if you want the 
relationship to last...

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