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Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:29 pm
by C. Blinx
Dear Moderators,
Thanks for this excellent forum.
Here is my situation: I have been working in the same Lab. where I got my first postdoc position for around 5 years now. The initial appointment was for 2 years only. But from the first postdoc we developed an ambitious project that led me to accept staying for 3 more years (a kind of second postdoc). In terms of results, things are going just fine and more good publications will appear eventually from this research. The job contract will end on december next year...
How does it look in the CV to have stayed for so long in the same Lab.? What are the pros and cons of this situation?
Thanks for your time.

Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:32 pm
by Bill L. & Naledi S.
I think "too long" depends on your career goals.

1. Do you want to shoot for a research position in industry? Then yes it's time to move on as along as you have gotten some pubs from your postdoc period.

2. Do you want to shoot for a tenure track faculty position? Then perhaps you can talk to your PI about being called something besides "postdoc" now, perhaps one of the various titles available to post-postdocs these days that might look like positive career progression on your CV while perhaps even letting you pursue some transitional/portable funding that will make you more attractive on the academic job market a year or two from now.

3. Or, are you just excited about the work you're doing and do you just want to keep doing it at this basic level? Then, seek a title and status and pay grade change to something that makes more sense for someone who is a non-PI level senior, career-track lab member.

But in general I would say that 5 years with the same title (postdoc) in the same lab is on the edge of "too long" and before you sign on for more of the same, SOMETHING should change!

Bill L. and Naledi S.

Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:19 pm
by Dave Jensen
I agree with Bill and Naledi that this will look very strange to an industry hiring manager. "No ambition" could be one comment. It is really up to you to write a good CV and the above suggestion of getting a new title put on that job is a good idea.

Anytime a postdoc extends that long, people ask questions. Of course, productivity rules over all else . . . If you get a ton of great publications, that will certainly answer a lot of your potential problem.

Dave Jensen, Moderator
CareerTrax Inc.

Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:37 pm
by Drew Parrish
In my experience, I think 5 years is close to the norm for a postdoc if you want a tenure track faculty position. If I look at the postdocs around me who have gotten faculty positions in the past three years: one had 3 years, two had 4 years, two had 5 years, and one had six years of postdoctoral training.

So if that's your goal and you're getting out good quality first-author papers, then you seem on track to me. On the other hand, if you want to be in industry, sound like you need to get out now!

Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:04 am
by Dave Jensen
Thanks Drew . . . You are an extremely valuable frequent poster and we are very happy to see you on the new Forum.

You are absolutely right about this difference between academic and industry careers. Just another one of them!


Postdoc-ing > 5 years

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 11:35 am
by C. Blinx
Thanks a lot Bill L., Naledi S., Dave Jensen and Drew Parrish. You're great!