postdocs

Julia Frugoli JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Wed Aug 13 16:30:28 EST 1997


(SNIP)

>O.K., I shouldn't have said "postdocless" appliers - everyone does them
>nowadays.  But, my reasoning still stands (postdoc = resume builder 
>first, and
>not exactly additional training, as some have put it).
>
>How GOOD a postdoc is that you have on your resume determines whether 
>you get
>the job you apply for after it.

I know many people with excellent postdocs who did not get the job.  
There are just way to many applicants.  My own opinion (not documented) 
is that the farther up the ladder you go, the more you realize that 
being in the top 10% of your peers is not enough if there are only jobs 
for the top 1-2%.  And even the 1-2% have to deal with an element of 
luck.


>
>And, as someone once told me, they are a great way to network, whereas 
>if you
>go right into a job, or don't "have at least 4 years of postdoctoral
>experience," the only real contacts you have to fall back on are your
>professors from the school in which you received your Ph.D., or the one 
>postdoc
>you did that only lasted a year or two.
>
>Anything else?
>
>apallas at ARSERRC.Gov


Yes, I don't think the argument is whether or not to do a postdoc-I 
think they are invaluble in that they are a chance to try out your wings 
research wise with input from a mentor, without having to get all the 
grant money up front yourself (though most "good" postdocs involve 
writing your own fellowship grant of some sort showing you are fundable.  
I know the search committees at Dartmouth and A&M and even the local 
state college look for evidence you've been funded before through your 
own efforts).

Rather, the issue is a living wage.  In my 6th year of grad school, I am 
sick of macoroni and cheese, junker cars, and not being able to pay my 
way.  And I'm married to someone with a salary! (of course, it's an 
assistant professor's salary, so it's not much above $30,000)  If I knew 
that 3 or 4 more years of toughing it out would get me a good job, or 
even that I had a 50% chance of a good job, I'd be encouraged.  But I'm 
quite realistic, since most of my friends in science are "academically 
older" and have already done the job thing-I'll be lucky to make $35,000 
in the end if I stay in science.  Which depresses me, since all of my 
sisters with BS degrees in business make more than this, and they 
stopped going to school years ago, so they have been making this for 
some time.  And both my husband's and my family think there must be 
something wrong with us, if as PhD's were not bringing in triple digits 
(especially his brother with the GED and the $25,000 a year job.)

It's not a question only of money-I wouldn't want my brother-in-law's 
job, and I chose science because I love it.  But the bottom line is, I'm 
very good at a lot of things-I've run my own business in the distant 
past and have many other talents besides designing, running and 
reporting experiments, as well as teaching.  I too believe that this is 
why women drop out of the pipeline-not because they aren't smart enough, 
but rather because they're too smart; enough to realize that light at 
the end of the tunnel has an 85% chance of being an oncoming train...


(I think the last few months of a graduate degree bring out this 
incredible cynicism... in rereading this it sounds a lot more 
pessimistic than I feel, but I hope it sparks discussion)

My 45 cents




Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
409-845-0663
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck



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