More post doc info..

Sarah L. Pallas spallas at bcm.tmc.edu
Sat Jul 6 16:43:40 EST 1996


In article <1996Jun27.134941.24735 at alw.nih.gov> Rachelle J. Bienstock,
rachelle at picard.niehs.nih.gov writes:
>If you go to work for a younger
>less established researcher who has a smaller lab., they will be around
more,
>be more in touch with what is going on in the lab, and probably be more 
>accessible. 
>If you go to work for a very famous well established researcher,
>they will probably have a very large lab. and group, will travel alot
and 
>you will probably have scheduled appointments with them once a week. 
They will
>probably be more remote from the lab., and probably expect more
independence
>from their postdocs. 

I agree with this.  As a young assistant professor trying to hire a
postdoc, I feel I have a lot to offer because I am intimitely involved in
the lab every day, and could devote a lot more time to promoting a
postdoc's future career.  However, I have lost out on hiring some good
postdocs because they have gone to big name labs.  For some of them, I
think they will get lost in the huge lab and not catch the attention of
their mentor enough to get properly promoted.  Maybe it's best to do a
second postdoc in a big lab, and do your first postdoc in a small, young,
cutting edge lab.  Big labs can chew up and spit out postdocs- they may
see postdocs as fodder to feed the PI's fame and not as important people
in their own right.  I have had some experience with this myself and I
would strongly recommend finding a lab where the PI has a good track
record of sharing publication credit and helping with finding jobs and
grants.

Someone asked about pay and benefits for postdocs.  In my (neuroscience)
experience, one is typically paid NIH postdoc scale and health insurance,
with perhaps money for a trip to a meeting every year.  And expect to
work 60-80 hours/week.

I agree with others that it's best to get a good pile of work done before
getting pregnant during a postdoc.  Then you might be able to get some
writing done while you're stuck at home with the baby for a few weeks. 
Remember this is your best chance to produce a solid body of work in
order to get a job.  Don't waste the time, a postdoc is not a chance to
coast and relax after that grueling Ph.D.  Also don't discuss preganancy
with your potential boss before you're hired, it's none of their
business.  

Sarah Pallas



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