Daily Archives: May 14, 2008

New Faculty Development Day… watch what you do people!

Today was new faculty development day at my medical school and I’d like to point out a few things I learned that might be of general interest as well as some observations on human behavior that got to me a bit. Rather than doing them all in one post I’ll break them up. So I don’t forget let’s have a little list.

This post is going to be about an observation on human behavior that all young faculty should be aware of. Next we’ll talk about 3 things that I learned today that I think are important for anyone considering a new workplace:
1) Institutional commitment to a diverse workplace.
2) Institutional commitment to research and clinical track faculty.
3) The tenure process.

So, what did I see today that got under my skin? Continue reading


Postdoc Malaise…

DM Physioprof put up a post on grad school malaise some time a week or two ago and today “B” chimed in on the problem of postdoc malaise. B’s problem is quite different than the grad school question that DM dealt with but it is an issue I have been hearing a lot lately so I thought I would cover my opinion of the issue.

B says:

It’s just coming to the end of a (way too short) 2 year appointment with the dream (tenure track job in my case) not in sight for myself and almost everyone i know who’s in a similar situation, it’s so hard to be motivated about… no, not finally my own research appointment and group, but the next postdoc! What do we do? I am so close to quitting, but anytime I say this to anyone there is a loud ‘NOOOOOOO! you can’t you’re too good at this to leave academia”. Well I’m apparently not good enough to get a job offer (everything I interviewed for went to people who were already assistant professors by the way).

Will I and my peers really feel some great relief and revival in our second postdocs after hauling ass across the country or continents and get started in yet new labs and with new people? Really? Really really? Because I see a bunch of us running on empty with no end in sight… For me, the PhD was never unattainable, doing science was never a chore. But chasing a goal that seems unattainable and spending all my time doing job applications is dreadful and makes me hate every day…

I heard many stories like this at the APS meeting last week. It seems fairly clear to me that the short window of opportunity in which I got my tenure track job is closing somewhat as institutions deal with the realities of the present funding crunch. This has a very adverse effect on postdocs that are ready to hit the job market. While it undoubtedly is not the ideal situation for people like B, it is an opportunity for people in her situation to take action for their career development, just maybe not in the way they would envision it. Continue reading