postdocs -- ask your mentor

aloisia schmid a-schmi at uiuc.edu
Wed Aug 13 21:46:41 EST 1997


In article
<Pine.SUN.3.95L.970813191024.29011A-100000 at ciao.cc.columbia.edu>, Judith
Gibber <jrg43 at columbia.edu> wrote:

>
> And look how it's changed in the last 10 years:  Faculty members want
> you to write your own grant proposal and 2-3 year postdocs are a distant
> memory.
> 
> But what I find particularly sad is that you young 'uns see a postdoc as a
> low-paid, entry-level job, rather than as an opportunity to train in a new
> area.  Egad!  I feel like an ol' geezer here!


Dear Judith,

    I disagree.  i don't think any of us see our post-docs as low-paid entry 
level jobs.  Far from it.  It is all too clear these are jobs with NO
FUTURES.  But to think of a post-doc as an opportunity to 
train in a new area is totally off the mark.  How many people are taken into
really great labs with no experience at all?  How many people switch fields 
completely, know nothing and train all over again?  The days of Linus
Pauling and James Watson ARE long gone, and that kind of training is not
only no longer with us, it isn't even possible anymore.  

     What I think we all find so appalling is that we are expected to
continue to train and train with so little MONEY!  How old were Linus
Pauling and James Watson when they got their to die for jobs at
Harvard...?  and how much were they getting paid and what kinds of lives
were they leading?  I wonder if especially someone like James Watson would
have stuck it out if he were asked to train in the current environment,
with a 5 year post-doc at $25,000/year.  And maybe student loans to pay
off!

     I kind of think not.  

                        Alice



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