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Career Advice

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Career Advice

Postby Karank » Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:54 am

Dear Forum: I am in my 7th year of PhD at a reputed institute in India. I have two papers in review in good international journals (Above 5 Impact factor). I should be able to complete my thesis and paper in a year's time. I am confused what should I do after my PhD. My English and social skills are just average. I enjoy talking to my peers and juniors about research, like what they are doing and how they are doing, and I contribute to the discussion. I like learning science. But I am not sure if I like bench work!

I also do not read many papers across various fields. I have read vigorously about my field but not across different areas. I was once a topper in my college and all my friends are earning very good money, being in sales jobs and In spite of being intelligent, I am at a crossroads with no future in sight. Perhaps a postdoc?

One strong reason I feel I should do a postdoc is that I get to meet new people, new science, new culture, new country. Should I go for a postdoc, or join industry, perhaps the pharma industry. Please help I am unable to decide by my own. A little help will be appreciated.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby PG » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:55 pm

Do you know your long term goal ie what do you want to do in yoru next step? How fast do you want to get away from doing lab work? Most entry level positions in science involves lab work to some extent. There are mutliple alternative careers that are connected to science in various ways but that can at least in theory be initiated directly from yoru PhD studies without doing a postdoc. This for example includes certain forms of sales that do involve a lot of discussions with various scientists
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Re: Career Advice

Postby Ana » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:43 am

In most cases I would have told you that a postdoc is not a destination so you should figure out first what career you want mid-term and then see if a postdoc is needed. However you express a strong interest in traveling to a new country, meet new people, a new culture, and that is the one exception to my usual advice. A postdoc fellowship is a perfect opportunity to get a couple of extra years to figure out what you like while you get to experience living abroad, so in your case it is probably a good idea.

7 years is a bit too long for a PhD. You are estimating one more year of work (that's 8 years for a PhD degree) and with only two publications and both "in review". This will most likely mean you are not competitive enough to get an international fellowship. Because of that my advice would be to focus this year in finding a host lab that will be willing to pay your postdoc salary from a research grant, and that will take some time for both finding a suitable lab and for them to apply and get a grant that can pay for a new postdoc. You should start looking for that lab pretty soon. If your current PI is supportive and has some international collaborators who would be willing to host you that would be the easiest route.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby Karank » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:50 pm

Thank you Ana and PG for the replies. I am quite inclined to a Postdoc. Other option floating in my mind is Patent analyst and patent agent jobs. When I see related job advertisement, the demands of exceptional vocal and writing skills scares me. English is my second language, but all through my PhD i never had problems in explaining my data to people. Also I can give a good engaging talks. But I would not call myself a good writer. Writing seems be very important part of a postdoc, science editing, patent analyst and pharma jobs.I hope to get a better grip on it.
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