Postdoc term

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Postdoc term

Postby Ken » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:17 am

Postdocs are sort of temporary jobs. It's not like a regular job where it is over when either the employer or employee decides to end the relationship. So, when is a postdoc over? I mean, a project is never really "finished", as there is always somewhere else it can go. So, when can I say, all right, it's time to move on. This applies to both academic and industry postdocs, I suppose.
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Postdoc term

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:05 am

Hi Ken,

Great question. I'll answer for the industry element, and ask one of our many frequent posters to contribute a response about your question as it relates to an academic career.

For industry, the postdoc is seen as your final education, that last piece of a long process that you started when you first went to college. Most hiring managers want to see an "evidence of productivity" in the postdoc, meaning "publications." If you get good work to pubish out of your postdoc, it was a success. Just remember, that once you start getting into a fourth year of a postdoc, you'd better be moving very quickly on an industry job search. Sure, they'll hire you with more years of postdoc, but it gets harder as you go along. The longer your postdoc is, the more concern that a hiring manager or HR person will have about your ability to work well in industry. You'll run the risk of looking "too academic" if you allow your postdoc years to go on too long.

So, the answer to your question is, for industry, that a postdoc should end at the earliest opportunity to show good productivity while maintaining excellent references from the PI and those in the lab.

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