Post-doc offer, What now?

Kathleen Ann Sindt kas4e at
Tue Jun 25 10:16:44 EST 1996

sfraser at  writes:
> Hello,
> 	I am a Ph.D. student in the final throes of my degree.  I
> have been applying and being interviewed for post-doc positions

Me too!

> in the US (I am Canadian).  I have just received the good news
> that the lab that I have (so far) been most interested in, has now
> got the money they needed, and have offered me a position.  I
> now would like some advice.
> 	The offer is for salary and "benefits".  What is a good
> or bad benefits package in the US?

You would need to say what city the offer is in.  Money varies
by location.  For example, $21,000 is typical in smaller
cities. If you are taking about a larger metro area - $24,000 -
$26,000 may be more realistic.  Benefits - tend to be limited
to health insurance if you are in academia.  Some universities
hire you as an employee and then you qualify to participate in
their retirement programs.  

Indirect "benefits" you might consider are where you have to
park your car if you drive to work and how much it costs.
Whether or not there will be money to send you to appropriate
scientific meetings.  Whether or not the boss is going to let
you take a vacation or go home to Canada for the holidays.

In industry - pay is higher and benefits may include stock
options or things like that.

 > 	I have also just received word from another lab that they
> are interested in me, but I have not yet done even a telephone
> interview with the PI.  How long is considered too long to make
> the first person that made me an offer wait to find out if I will
> accept?  How do I tell the person that made the first offer that
> I (at least) want to pursue the interview process?

I would love to know the answer to this myself.  I had not
visited the lab in which I have an offer - I requested time to
come visit.  So - since the offer - it's been two weeks (had to
give time to find a cheap plane ticket) - and I am headed to
visit this Thursday.  At this point, I think the time I've
requested is reasonable - because I haven't been there yet, but
I dont' know how long I can ask her to wait...

> 	This one is a tough one and I know it has been discussed
> before, but I am married and we want to have kids.  We've put it
> off while I did my Ph.D., but don't really want to wait too much
> longer.  How do I approach the subject with the person that made
> me the offer?  I have not mentioned maternity leave yet to him.

You might start by asking other lab members - esp. if there is
a lab member who has taken time off to have children.

I don't know if you should bring it up with him - hopefully
others will have advice.

> How long should I work for somebody new before my husband and I
> start trying to have kids (assuming my new supervisor will agree
> to this at all)?

If you consider a typical post-doc to be three years, I would
wait at least 8 months to a year before trying to get pregnant.
You might think about how long it's going to take you to really
get your post-doc project tarted and producing data.
If its a new direction for the lab or a new field for you -
you may spend 6 months before you have much of anything - then
you may want to put it off a bit longer.  I think about it this
way - I'm making a short term contract to work with this
person. They expect me to produce publishable data.  If I get
pregnant right away, I may not have made much progress before
I'm really FAT and then gone for 6 weeks.  I wouldn't really be
a productive lab member until after the kid was born and I was

Good luck with your decision!  
Kathie Sindt
kas4e at

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