One response to “Not in it for the money”

  1. Janne

    You sound like you think there’s a neat, clean well-defined career path between your PhD and tenure. Now, you can land a quick three or four year tenure-track post doc right after graduation, then segue smoothly into a well-deserved tenured faculty seat. It does happen.

    But don’t count on it. Don’t count on having to do just one post doc. Don’t count on being able to do them all in the same part of the country (or the world). And most of all, do not count on you actually having a paying job at all for all that time.

    Be prepared to have stretches of time where you are effectively unemployed. Or where you’re effectively a full-time post-doc but being paid as a part-time “assistant” or “technician” or similar, with a lower take-home pay than you’d get from the fryer station at your local hamburger place.

    And don’t count on actually landing a tenured position. Have a back-up plan, an alternative career, and make sure you keep that plan viable over time (extra consulting to keep your hand in, keep industry contacts fresh and so on). The statistics are quite simple, with several post-docs for each open faculty position. Chances are you will need your backup plan, so make sure you have one.