How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby Samuel S. » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:08 pm

I've been doing my postdoc for 1-year-and-4-months now and wanting to quit because of personality conflicts between me and my PI. My questions:

1. How much notice should I give my PI? Personally, I was thinking 2-3 weeks just before I join in a new lab (I already have an offer but my PI doesn't know yet).

2. This is more a personal/emotional issue because I have been working on projects that can result in a couple of nice papers for me in the next 1-2 years. The lab has produced good papers in the past and I do like the science but not the interpersonal interactions. So, one part of my mind says I should maybe suck it up and go on. And also that others might think I'm a quitter (I know you're not supposed to care what others think, but still it does affect you regardless). The other part of my mind says that I should get out for my own mental well-being and that no paper is worth my own peace of mind. I personally am leaning towards leaving.

Surely there are others in (or have been in) my position. I'd appreciate your input even though I do realize I haven't provided too many specifics.

Oh...I am not counting on becoming a PI myself. More towards industry is what I am considering, but industry jobs take time (especially when you need a visa - can't start until October 1) and I want to get out of my current situation now.

Samuel S.
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby Nathan » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:21 pm

Get the papers in review (2-3 weeks) then give a month notice after you land a job. As Kelly has stated this will fixed authorship order and he can't change it after the fact. If he knows you are serious about leaving, maybe he will change his tune about some of these issues of conflict.
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby MSR » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:18 am

Mental stability won out for me. I left a postdoc by lining up another job, and immediately giving two weeks notice. They weren't happy, but I never looked back. You have to decide what matters most to you in this case.
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby K.B » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:09 am

You're right, peace of mind is very important. Don't worry about 'the quitter' issue, just move on. I quit twice during my PhD, and never faced any problem in interviews, and once given a proper explanation everyone can understand in scientific positions quitting is quite common.

I'd say intimating your PI at least one month before is ideal. Good luck!
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby Andrew1 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:22 am

2-3 weeks is perfectly acceptable.
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby Chris Luke » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:46 am

I would say the world is small. You never know if you will fall into the hand of this person (or his network) in the future. So deal it decently. For a postdoc, one month is probably ok. You need to wrap up your work so that the future person can continue what you have left if your current PI wants to.

My personal experience is while negotiating with the next employer always mention that you need to properly deal with your current and need at least one month to start your new job. Then probably every one will be happy. I even started my new job more than 3 months after taking offer.

Wish you good luck.
Chris Luke
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby S.J.D. » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:17 am

If you ever want a good letter of recommendation from this person you might want to think about more advanced notice than 2 weeks. You want to provide someone with the amount of notice they would need to replace you. If you were a used car salesman 2 weeks would be fine, but replacing a postdoc takes considerably longer. If you know you have the position now you should just be truthful.
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How much notice should I give to my PI before I quit?

Postby Kelly » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:16 pm

You need the papers from this position. can you split the loaf, meaning take the other position and still have enough data to get a paper?

leaving without a paper is dangerous.
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Leaving without a paper is "dangerous"? Really?

Postby Samuel S. » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:07 pm

In precisely what way is it "dangerous"? After all the bs I've had to endure from my PI in the last year I could care less. Seriously, she can shove it and I even have half a mind to say it to her face when I give her the 2-weeks notice. To hell with papers. I have some data but not enough for a paper just yet. I'll tell her that I'm willing to write up whatever I have. That's the best I can do, and if she argues more I'm just not going to bother. No paper is worth this type of emotional stress. I don't understand why PIs can get away with behaving pretty much how they please as if us post-docs are their personal pleasure toys. The more work I do the more she shoves my way. Then the nitpicking. Then just arguing stuff for the sake of arguing so she can have the last say in everything. Then telling me to "just suck it up and work like a robot". Not once, but twice. Telling me that she needs me to "know everything about everything at the tip of my tongue". Not spending money on experiments that would actually produce results faster but instead making me do them the tedious way (even though the money is there). Seeing smirks of pleasure on her face when she knows she has power over me. And you say it is "dangerous" to leave without papers?? Why should I further her career by working hard and producing papers from her lab. I know that's good for my career too, but I've now decided that certain other things take higher priority. I have worked for much much nicer bosses and I know it doesn't have to be this difficult. Papers will come in the future. If not, oh well. It's not the end of the world by any means.
Samuel S.
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Be Forwarned: Consequences of not researching potential PI

Postby P.C. » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:34 am

I strongly suspect the original poster failed to do his due diligence in researching the suitability of his or her potential PI , with the apparent tragic consequences for his career.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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