Thursday, April 26, 2012


Comrade Physioprof wrote a while back comparing taking postdoc positions to being in the minor league in baseball.

The more accurate analogy is to minor league baseball: yeah it is necessary training to learn how to play ball in the major leagues, but it is also a selection mechanism to identify those players who have a decent shot at success in the majors. ...
Longer post-docs should be welcomed by those aspiring to PI positions, as it provides a much fairer opportunity to prove one's mettle. Many post-docs start slowly for a variety of reasons, and so just because you don't have much to show after two years, doesn't say much about your potential. But if you haven't achieved much after 5+ years as a post-doc, it is reasonable to conclude that it is not just a matter of bad luck, bad mentors, or anything other than a simple--and unfortunate--lack of the skills and talents required to be a PI.
He was referring to length of post docs. But I think it applies to the number of post docs one has to go through as well. I recently received information about why I am failing to get TT offers (though in retrospect, I think I've known it all along.) The why is, I don't think, because I'm not a good enough scientist, but more due to some unlucky political factors. I guess this is what second post docs are for. If I can't break out of this problem soon, we'll know differently.

I would be much happier about it if it didn't require me to live so far from my family. It's a second chance. One doesn't get those very often. I just wish this second chance wasn't so bloody costly.

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