Post-doc offer, What now?

mynlieffm at mynlieffm at
Tue Jun 25 15:25:32 EST 1996

In article <4qna3q$jm4 at>, sfraser at (Sherri Fraser) writes:
>	The offer is for salary and "benefits".  What is a good
>or bad benefits package in the US?

	Since many postdoc positions in the US have no benefits at all I would
have to say that any benefits are good.  When I was a post doc I initially
received no health insurance at all and had to find an independent policy which
was quite expensive (and by the way, did not cover maternity benefits).

>	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

Ask them how quickly they need an answer.  People are often quite flexible with
post docs because they may not even know exactly when they will be finished
with their grad work.  I wouldn't necessarily advertise that you are looking at
another lab unless you are put on the spot.

>	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.

I would NEVER tell a prospective employee that I was planning to get pregnant. 
When I looked for postdoc position (with the same goal of kids in mind) I never
mentioned it.  It is not your employer's business.  I did, however, try to find
a family friendly lab.  I talked to the other postdocs to see what the
atmosphere was like (is it expected that all post docs work 60 hours a week for
example).  I found out that the PI had a wife with a career and 2 kids.  To me
this meant that he would probably not have a problem with it.

>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)?

It is not up to your advisor to agree to this.  It is between you and your
husband.  I opted to wait at least 10 months before trying so that I could
"prove" myself.  As it turned out it took us 8 months to get pregnant so I was
a post doc for over 2 years before my daughter was actually born.  This worked
out well for me as I already had enough accomplished for some publications etc. 
Depending on prior experience an advisor may be gunshy about having a pregnant
person in the lab.  11 weeks before I got pregnant the tech got pregnant.  This
was my advisor's first experience with a pregnant person in the lab.  She never
really did any more work and quit as soon as the baby was born.  I waited a
long time to tell him I was pregnant and I saw his face fall as I did.  For me
this meant that I needed to work extra hard to prove to him that it can be done
succesfully without sacrificing one's science.  Since then he has had 1 male
postdoc, 1 female postdoc and 2 female students have babies while working in
his lab.  He has always used me a model - in other words - he has not
discriminated against it (believe me, there are plenty who do).  Having had my
second baby while a new faculty member (didn't wait at all before becoming
pregnant) I feel that the postdoc years are the best time to have a baby.

Good luck.

Michelle Mynlieff

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